It amazes me, how insensitive society can be. Rumors are flying about this news report. I read several of them before coming here to share my thoughts. First, my heartfelt prayers go out to this poor mother and her family, and to her 11-year old son, who thought the gate was closed securely, and who was first to find the toddler floating in the pool. She was cleaning out the chicken coop, a dirty, messy, daily job. Her 11-year old son was there to help her with the watching. No, you can't expect a child to do a mom's job, but what is this mother supposed to do? Cleaning out the chicken coop probably didn't take all that long. Every mother has this kind of experience, and you just pray that nothing happens during these times when you can't be vigilant. You can't hire a sitter every time you take a bath, fall asleep on the couch for a few, have to do a job like the coop. You just hope that nothing happens while your attention is divided.
She probably dropped everything to search for her son, and sent her older son after the phone to call 911 while she got him out. He was floating, which says to me he hadn't been there long. Thirty mins is plenty of time to get to the ER, and then, you wait.
A mother cannot be everyplace at one time. It is a horrible feeling, to miss a child and go looking, and I have felt that many, many times. I am fortunate that every time, I found my girls, safe and sound. But, I experienced four miscarriages. I have known grief, and known it well. I have been the anxious mother, worried about her baby, only to find that your worst fear is confirmed. You don't grieve a baby in the womb any less than an older child. Having other children doesn't replace the child you'll never see grow up.
Every mother fears that something of this scale might happen. When it does, it makes the news, whether or not that poor mother tweets, or blogs, about it.
I imagine that she tweeted on her cellphone from the hospital while she waited for doctors to try to revive her son. Is this any reason to criticize the poor soul, when waits in the ER drag on and on and seem like a LOT longer than they really are? I was no stranger to the ER when about her older son's age, going there with my mother, who had chronic illness all my young life. Maybe I paid my dues then, because I only had to go to the ER with my older daughter twice, and not a single time with my younger. But, I have listened to the stories of many moms who had to go with babies and children of whatever age. They are all colored with that sense of panic, of frantic prayers, of lost sleep. But, for me, I am more acquainted with grief, as a mother.
There are stages to grief, something that paramedic should have known about. My mother was an ER nurse for many years, and an ideal person to be there for frantic mothers. She told me many stories of how people react when terrible things happen. I can add my crisis and grief experiences to that. In the crisis, no two people react the same way. So, to say that someone screams and cries and carries on is totally not a valid assessment. Some people express their worry that way, it's true. But, not everyone reacts that way. I didn't. People who scream or cry aren't weak. It's just that they have a different way of reacting to something traumatic. People who don't scream aren't cold. It's just different.
I can see that a frantic mom, waiting in the ER, with that dread all mothers know, might Tweet about it. This picture might have been in her phone from another day. How critical, those who jump to conclusions! I saw one news report that said this poor mother tweeted for nine hours straight instead of watching her son. Is that fair? How long does it take, to type out 140 characters, while doing other things? How unusual is it, to want people to pray for you, when you're in a crisis? I wish there had been Twitter when I went to the ER early one morning to be admitted, not knowing if my baby I carried for 16 weeks would survive. I would have used it, to reach out to my Christian friends, to ask them to pray with me. I wish I had been able to use Twitter, the afternoon, when I came home from the hospital, too drained of tears to cry for my son. I would have to wait many more hours to call other relatives, who were at work. My father had died two weeks earlier. My mother, six years earlier. My husband was too much in shock to talk about it. Men and women grieve differently, I would find out later. My mother in law was the one most able to help me, and my sister, but they were at work when this happened. I lost my other babies earlier. I miss them just as much.
And, the stages of grief begin with two days of numbness. You cry, oh, yes, but it's all kind of far away. This is the body's way of protecting you from shock [as in drop in core body temp, which is life-threatening]. Sometimes, this happens to people, but most time, the cocoon of denial protects you from the horrible news. There isn't a lot of emotion. It isn't that you're a cold fish. You can't believe that it happened, that your wanted, loved child...is gone. Nothing in life prepares you for such a loss, of the child that EVERYTHING in life told you would outlive you.
Later, the grief, the pain, and the anger, they get miserable. You move through the stages in uneven jerks, and it's a process that takes 6 months to 2 years. Society gives you 2 weeks to get over it. You don't. You just learn to live around a big, gaping hole in your life. Many marriages don't survive the loss of a child.
I will pray for this poor family, but I will also pray for those who didn't think before tweeting judgmentally. Every tweet, every status message, every blog has a flesh-and-blood person there, who hurts, who laughs, and who has opinions. Let us realize the limitations of the posts, the news stories, and even how well we know each other. Who really knows another person, really? We make guesses. Sometimes, those guesses can be so clear cut that they seem real. But, when it comes down to it, we need to love each other, to give a little slack, to care about each other. Heavenly Father knows us well enough to know what is in our most secret thoughts, and He loves all 6 billion of us, even despite our shortcomings.
May we only have thoughts of love towards families in the news who are experiencing these living nightmares. I, for one, would never wish such a thing on another person.