Last week, I received a note from Leila’s principle about a nine year old girl who attended the school who had been in a devastating accident and was at the local children’s hospital in critical care. Sadly, two days later another note was sent home saying that the little girl had died.
We talked about it, and Leila told me that her teacher was very sad and even though she didn’t know the little girl, seeing everyone sad had made Leila sad. Later, I sat on my bed and cried.
At church on Sunday (which is where her funeral is being held today), the kids sat in a circle at Sunday school and told stories about her and then they read a story about Jesus. And as the minister spoke about cleansing yourself from within, I just couldn’t seem to stop the tears from slowly filling up my eyes.
How do you explain to a child that there was a car crash without her starting to be afraid of driving? How do you explain to a child who is so sensitive to the emotions of other people that sometimes children die and their parents are left without them for the rest of their lives.
If you died Mommy, I would be so sad I wouldn’t ever be able to go to school and have fun again.
Everyone has been talking about it, because this is the sort of thing that scares you to your very core. I overheard two women at the gym making note that it had been one week and asking how that child’s poor baby-lost mommy could wake up and know that she had to start a whole new week without her daughter. And as I looked for my socks, my eyes filled with tears all over again because I don’t know and it’s not fair and why would this happen?
How could this ever be explained to someone so that they could understand? How could this ever be perceived as right or fair or God’s way.
It’s so easy to quip that God would never put us through a situation for which we didn’t have the strength, but I think people are thinking more along the lines of dealing with your kid not sleeping when they say that stuff. This isn’t fair and it’s a shitty horrible thing for God to do.
You get through a pregnancy without losing the baby. And then you get through the first year and the fear of SIDS slowly lifts. Then they learn to walk and bonk their heads a get a few nasty bruises and go to school and skin their knees and you start to believe that maybe just maybe you can stop and take a breath because they just might be safe.
And then, just like that, you’re afraid again. Because she was nine. Nine year olds aren’t supposed to die. Not from car crashes, not from cancer, not from anything else.
I don’t know the family, but this has scared me and shaken me to my core. And I want to pray for them but I don’t even know where to begin, because asking for peace seems a little trite and unrealistic. And asking to send strength just seems mean because this is all so mean.
And so, I’ve been on the verge of tears for a week, hugging my kids, my heart breaking for that poor little light that went out. And for her shattered family.
Please keep them in their thoughts today as they go through the unimaginable pain of buying their child. And then wake up tomorrow and have to face the rest of their lives without her.