I’m a mess. I keep crying randomly. And different things pop in to my head, like, “his little body was dragged on the pavement…” or, “I shouldn’t have been so far in front of him…” and I just lose it. I just can’t express enough how grateful I am that he’s not more seriously hurt. I really believe an angel must have been wrapped around him.

When I think about how close I came to losing Eric, I can’t even breathe.

I honestly don’t know how a parent recovers from losing a child. I know they do, I know it’s possible, but it’s inconceivable at this point.

When we were staying at The Grand Floridian for the Disney Social Media Moms conference, there were about 3 seconds when Brian and I thought Eric had fallen off the 5th floor balcony. We kept trying to keep the kids off the balcony, but we were distracted with packing, and they kept sneaking back out there. The walls were pretty high, but they easily stood on chairs to look over the top of the wall. We heard a **THUNK** and Brian said, “WHERE’S ERIC?”

I looked out on the balcony, and I only saw Anna. These are the thoughts that raced through my head during the three seconds it took me to get from the bed to out on the balcony:

No no no no no. Maybe he wasn’t out there.No, he just passed me, he was out there. Maybe there’s another landing below our balcony, and he landed on that. No, I don’t think there was. Is there any way a human being could survive a fall from a 5th floor balcony? Maybe a miracle kept him alive? If I look over the edge, will he be laying on the ground way down there? Maybe he wasn’t out there.

I made it to the balcony, and he was in the corner, obscured by the curtain from inside. The THUNK was him falling off his chair into the wall of our room. We got both kids back inside, and Brian and I looked at each other, shaking our heads. I’m shaking my head now. That terror of what might have been has haunted me since March. I had a hard time even writing about the conference, because I kept thinking about what almost happened to Eric.

I know it doesn’t make sense to dwell on what could have – but didn’t – happen, but we already live in terror as parents, right? Our most important job IN THE WORLD is keeping these kids safe. There are all kinds of other jobs that fall in line after that, like “help them be good humans” and “educate them.” But the most important one is certainly, “keep them alive.”

Whenever I think about that balcony incident, I have a visceral reaction. I shake my head and put my hands in front of my face, and take a step backward.  Brian is similarly haunted by a time he took the kids hiking, and Eric fell off a cliff. He doesn’t know what happened exactly, just that one second he noticed Eric was losing his balance, and the next second he was on the ground, holding on to Eric’s jacket in one hand, and his t-shirt in the other, and sliding down the hill himself, grabbing for an arm. Fortunately neither of them were hurt, and they got back on the trail.

I’ve had this secret dark fear since March. That my son is on borrowed time. When I saw that car turning in to him and dragging him under, that’s what I thought. That my fears were coming true. I hesitate to even write that down, and I’ve never spoken it to anyone. Because I don’t want to manifest it. But here’s what I say. Clearly, an angel was wrapped around my son yesterday. So OK, Angel – You keep at it! Keep him alive! I will continue to do my best, but I really need you! Thankyouthankyouthankyou




Filed under Family

4 responses to “Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

  1. Oh my!!! I only imagine the horror that you’ve been through. We had a close call this summer with my younger son at a lake. Only by chance had I gone down by the water to say a last good bye as Dad and I were heading to the house with the baby for nap time. His grandmother was supposed to be watching and I caught a glimpse of him going under in the dark water. He had gotten too deep and was trying to call for help but he was in too much trouble to even yell. It happened so fast and I dashed in fully clothed with baby on my hip and scooped him up. It haunted me for weeks, the “what ifs”, and still does.

    Later this summer I was putting my kids in the car and watched, screaming and waving my arms (again with baby on my hip or I would have run to the street to try to intervene) as the neighbor’s dog was run over by a car speeding down our usually quiet street. What if it had been one of the kids I kept thinking. Shudder.

    As parents we always try to be vigilant in keeping them safe, but dangers lurk everywhere and we are only human. Thank God your son is ok. Thank God you were there to help him. You are a good mother and he knows you love him and want to keep him safe. It could happen to any of us and I am so sorry you had to experience that. I will be praying for you all!

    Thank you for sharing your story. (((((hugs)))))

    • The close calls are so haunting, aren’t they? We shouldn’t feel silly for reacting the way we do – maybe nothing physically happened to the child, but we as parents are still a bit scarred by the experience.

  2. Oh, Krista.

    What a horrific thing to watch!

    I’ve had those throat-catching moments with each kid – and the replays are almost as bad as the reality. You are going to be in my thoughts (as will this story) for a very long time.

    ((hugs)) to you and the kids.

  3. Pingback: It could have been so much worse | Mostly Mommyhood

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