Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Day to Mourn

I can't figure out how to write about what is on my mind without feeling like I am exploiting the tragedy of others. I can't get the horrific events out of my mind and I can't write about running and racing and the fluff of my life while others struggle for their lives and mourn their enormous losses.

I teach parenting classes in a cooperative preschool. The children's teachers, parents and I are involved in the running of the school. I spend at least one day a week in the children's classes getting to know the children and developing a bond with them. Over the course of a year, or several years, we become a close family. Parents tell me things that I don't think they'd share with most people - I have many roles - instructor, confidant, friend, business advisor, facilitator, and sometimes I replace the Mother that lives too far away to help. The children see me as a teacher and a playmate and a Grandma. Friendships are formed in co-op that last for lifetimes.

Yesterday the news of a horrible traffic accident spread through our co-op community. Two of our past co-op families were involved. Three young children from one family died. The two Moms are in intensive care. These two families were involved in our co-op for over six years. They were in leadership positions on the co-op board and between them, five children passed through our school. Two of those children died in the accident, and the third who died was born and grew to a toddler while they were with us. Everything happened and is happening on the other side of the state and the families have gathered there. I want to help, our co-op families want to help, but until they return home there is nothing we can do.

I am devastated, the families in our co-op are devastated, but it is nothing compared to what the two families have suffered. I don't know how they will recover from this.

My brother is a volunteer fireman and an EMT - he and I talked yesterday. He taught a first aid class for our co-op teachers and instructors, and one of the women in the accident was in the class. He lives within miles of the scene, but over the state border, so he wasn't involved. I don't know how he, or anyone, can face an accident like this and walk away with their heart intact. I don't think they do...I think a little piece of it stays behind.

Today is the day to give thanks to all who serve us in our time of need. Firefighters, EMT's, Police Officers, Doctors and Nurses. Those on the front line of emergency events, those who leave a piece of their heart behind each time they step in to help. Today is the day to send prayers and thoughts of healing to the families of my friends. Today is the day to say good-bye to three sweet little girls. Today is the day a piece of my heart gets left behind.

17 comments:

Meghan said...

Michelle,

This is just horrible. So tragic. I'm very, very sorry.

Thank you for the kind words on my blog. And, thank you for the thank you to we that work in emergency services.

Thinking of you,
Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

olga said...

Sad events are just always around the corner. Sending healing thoughts...although these wounds never heal.

scott keeps running said...

You and the families and everyone involved are in our thoughts.

robtherunner said...

Oh Michelle, what horrible news. I will send my prayers out to all those involved and touched by this accident. I could not imagine the pain involved in losing a child.

Wes said...

Michelle, I share in your sadness and pain. Hugs and prayers...

Wes

Thomas said...

I can't think of anything else to say but "that's terrible". We can only hope that we will never be involved in anything even remotely as horrific as that.

JustRun said...

I'm saddened by this news. My heart and prayers go out to all of you touched by this.

psbowe said...

Hard to fathom such tragic events like this, but thank goodness and always so bless that we have so many out there like yourself and people who volunteer because of their kind hearts who come to the scene to do what they have to do without breaking a stride.
I know for myself that I couldn't do the EMT thing, just from the little that my hubby shares with me about the fatel or near scenes that he responds to, it rips out so much out of me. For that same reason, it doesn't bother me one bit when he has to leave in the middle of dinner or family time to go on a call.

Annette said...

I'm so sorry. There's never a right thing to say at a time like this. You and the families are in my prayers.

Juls said...

Hugs & prayers.

runliarun said...

The parents of those three children... I do not think anything worse could ever happen to someone.

wendy said...

So sorry, michelle. That's heartbreaking news...it does take a special person to run to the fire, not away from it, to the crime scene, not hide....please tell your brother we appreciate what he does!

Joe said...

These things are so very hard and hard to even begin to understand. Words seem so inadequate. I'm sure you and the co-op community will take actions that will mean much. But the hole in your heart is real...because you care.

My deepest sympathies for you and the families, Michelle.

craig said...

I think you are right about emergency workers leaving a part of themselves behind. You can't walk with someone through a tragedy like that and share the experience without sharing the grief. Sometimes it's not only the grief of a specific incident that is difficult to carry. There is a collective grief that comes over time when you care for people in situations like this. These folks and you will be in my prayers Michelle.

Randy said...

That is such devastating news Michelle, Bonnie and I shall add you and those families to our prayer list.

I agree those parents are facing such an ordeal in the days, months, and years to come...that is truly so sad.

I am a former volunteer fire fighter, industrial fire fighter, and EMT, and you are so right about being able to walk away. If anyone tells you they tune it out, they are kidding themselves. To see families impacted by tragedy and horror that is left behind in a fire or vehicle accident leaves marks on those that respond, sometimes those marks run deep and can be difficult to cover up. Trying to cover them can be the worst thing a person can do. That is why you see so many post trauma groups forming afte majoy incidents like the 9-11 bombings, the OKC bombing, but it also impacts people involved with lessor events as well and they need to be watched closely to see that their reaction doesn't cause any other harmful issues.

May God lay his mighty hands on these families and help them find the peace that they will unknowingly be seekig. They shall be in our prayers.

Ryan said...

My prayers and thoughts are with the families.

Jack said...

I'm coming in late trying to catch up reading blogs...my prayers and thought go out to the families...and for you too as this has hit close to home.