Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Split Seconds

I peruse a few other blogs on a regular basis.  Mostly, they are decorating blogs that I check out for ideas for the sales that Nancy and I have.  There's one I read every day.  How this woman manages to refurbish furniture, stock a space to sell her stuff, photograph it, and then write about it every day escapes me.  But she does, and I read it religiously.

A couple of weeks ago, she asked her readers to keep in their thoughts and prayers the son of another blogger who died in a flash flood in Virginia.  That I found this blog at the worst moment of this mother's life has changed how I look at everything since.

She has written about the events of that night and the aftermath in one heartbreaking sentence after another.  Her latest post describes in detail the accident that took her son.  When our daughter was thirteen, we had an incident with our creek, a head injury, police, multiple fire trucks with ladders going down to get her, a seizure that thank God I didn't have to witness, neighbors coming from everywhere to see what was going on, a ride in an ambulance - her on a stretcher in the back and me in the front, where she was asked if she knew where she was when she started coming to.  An ambulance, say an ambulance.  As if she had any point of reference for that.

I made the decision to let the kids play in the creek just to get them out of the house on Day #2 of canceled school, and like a thousand thoughts you have as a parent, it occurred to me at one point that maybe it was time to bring them inside.  Not even five minutes later, one of the kids in the neighborhood was knocking on the door telling me that Maggie fell and wouldn't open her eyes.

I ran.  Ran to her.  Ran back to the house to call 9-1-1, ran back to her with a blanket, climbed up the sides of the creek so the fire department knew where we were, climbed back down to her when they came, climbed back up to talk to the paramedics.  Sat in the ambulance going so goddamn slow because of the icy roads that I wanted to scream.  She was more coherent by the time we got to the hospital and escaped with a concussion and frostbite on a couple of her toes.  I don't think I ever escaped what happened that day, but we were lucky.  So, so lucky that the next day she was fine, we were fine, we were still five.

If you've forgotten for a day how fragile life can be, read this.  If you are a parent, you will see yourself in virtually every moment she recounts, and how a series of seemingly harmless events and decisions can change everything in your life.


  1. OMG, Kathy...we are on a parallel journey in more ways than one (Pinterest)!! I discovered the same blog, An Inch of Gray, earlier this week! It gave me chills to see you were writing about it. A friend on FB had a link to it. I read Anna's account through tears, and I have just ached for her and Jack and family since. As she said, we've all allowed the kids to do things against our better judgment to grab a few quiet moments for ourselves or avoid an argument, and thankfully most don't have the tragic results they, or you, experienced. Glad yours had a great outcome. I'll continue to follow Anna.

  2. Yes, Kathy, I googled around earlier this week to find the blog you spoke about, and found myself hooked. Not only on the drama and profound irony of the tragedy their family was experiencing, but on the older posts - particularly those that were chillingly foreshadowing. After wading in, I lost a couple of hours - seriously - reading older posts and falling in love with Anna and her family. My heart is broken for them in a way that is frighteningly personal, and though one of my pet peeves is the often thrown away 'in my thoughts and prayers', it is sometimes the only way to express authentic feelings.