Friday, August 24, 2012

“God told me you were coming…”

Social media is going crazy for the last couple of days. The death of a six month old child naturally stirs emotions. Some of those emotions go over the top.
Everyone is asking ‘how could that happen’? I’m sure that no one feels that more acutely than the parents who are involved in incidents like this.
A commenter on the blog left this link to a Washington Post story dealing with parents who have left their children, resulting in their death. It takes a few minutes to read but is worth it to gain some insight. The common thread that I picked up is that each parent firmly believed they had left their child at the proper place, daycare or whatever.
It is food for thought.
My Facebook friend Jo posted last night that she had an experience that was very similar in some ways, but that had a good outcome in the end. She published it last year on her blog.
She has graciously allowed me to reprint it in full.
I’m a Mom, a mother, a snuggler, kid-is-center-of-my-world, protector…being a mommy... it is my purpose.   It’s why I was put on this earth… to bring two incredible young men into the world. About 10 years ago I was a single Mom living in Marshall, Texas in a lil trailor on the side of HWY 80. (Sounds like a country song, right? My every moment with Jake was about Jake.    I kept my "single woman" and "single mom" roles SEPARATE.   Jake only ever met two men that I dated… and I married one of them. My friends always asked the same question before asking me to go somewhere with them, “Hey, Do you have Jake this weekend?” Because if the answer was “yes” they knew I had plans.   I had a Friday night date with a blonde haired, blued young fellow who was a messy eater and always stuck me with the bill. But… he was a good snuggler… so I didn’t mind.
The whole point of this is, I never understood how someone could “forget” their kid at a store, at home, in a car... Until… I did that very thing. 
I did the unthinkable. I “forgot” him at home.  I worked 12 hour shifts, so sometimes if I’d worked a bunch on “my” nights, his Dad and I would swap up a night.There was a schedule switch, I didn’t normally have him that night of the week. I got up for work and didn’t see him in bed next to me (and like all Mommy’s boys he slept with his Mommy) , this did not strike me as odd. (Later he told me he woke up on the couch, and I saw a little blanket there… the set up of the trailer… I never had to “pass” by the couch to get showered, dressed or leave out the front door for work)  So... I went to work… in Shreveport… Shreveport, LOUISIANA!!!!… ANOTHER STATE!!! 
His father calls me at work… asking why I didn’t bring Jake (he watched him while I worked). I assured him HE had Jake, it was HIS night… then it hit me. HARD. I had Jake… and OMG where was he this morning??? I didn’t see him in bed with me. My knees buckled. . My friend Paula was standing there, she said I turned a whitish gray. His father and I both said we’d rush over there.
As I’m leaving, I began calling the Sheriff’s department to send someone there. I recall another employee telling me, don’t do that... you’ll be in trouble for leaving him. I looked at her like she was from Mars. I just wanted my son safe. I lived on a highway. I’d left my 3yr old home alone!!! ME!!! I DID THAT!!! THE MOMMY!!! 
My heart was exploding as I ran to my truck and began to drive that way. I called the Harrison county sheriff’s department. They kept me on the phone for my entire drive. I was so upset, they kept telling me to calm down so I don’t wreck. I barely recall the drive… I was pretty much in hysterics. God must have been steering…. Because I could barely see the road for all the emotions. And all I wanted to know was that my son was ok… “Is he there yet?” I must have said, ”Oh My God” a hundred times. They assured me that the sheriff got there and my Jake was ok… I think I cried harder. 
I arrive and the sheriff and Jake’s father were already there… Jake had let the sheriff in. 
Jake’s eyes were red. I could tell he’d been crying. 
After the sheriff left..  I hugged him and kissed him and apologized a billion times (Jake, not the officer... sheesh!!!)  I asked Jacob, “What did you do?” 
Jake told us that he woke up and didn’t see me and looked out the window for my truck. And he kept looking,” because Mommy’s always come back” (Yeah… that made my eyes water again) He told us that he was thirsty and tried to open a bottle of water and couldn’t. “So, I threw a fit right there” (as he pointed to the middle of the living room floor… had to smile at his wording and the way he pointed when he told us this) I told him how sorry I was and I know he was scared. 
Jacob then said,” It’s OK… God told me you were coming”
Ummmmm… I had not introduced any type of religion into this 3yr olds life. He’d never been inside a church. I have faith… and prayed a lot. But, had not exposed my son to religion. 
 I asked Jake, ”God?”   He said, “Well, maybe God… he told me that you and daddy were coming”. I said, “Jake, someone talked to you?” He said, ”Yes, he told me you were coming and I would be OK and not to cry” I was at a loss as to what to say. Jake bubbled on… and told us he stopped crying and...he just sat there...and waited.... the policeman knocked on the door and he was OK. 
I didn’t question him more. It was kind of like the cemetery thing. I didn’t really need or want to know more. 
All I know is an angel helped my son in his time of need. That my Jake was so pure of heart and open minded… he could “see” what many of us are “blind” to everyday.
“God told me you were coming…”


  1. I can't imagine having to live with something like this for the rest of my life. My heart goes out to this family and they will stay in my prayers. We all make mistakes, we all forget, we live in a way too faced paced world, yes even here in the good ol' laid back South. There have been so many baby and child deaths recently that I'm one of the ones who is a bit ultra sensitive.

    It's horrible when any baby dies, especially tragic but when it's an accident rather than one of these incidents of parents abusing their children and using them as a shield from a knife while the other parent continues to slash away regardless of their baby being in the way, my heart then goes out to the parents.

  2. Well, maybe I felt that way when the first few thousand children died from being neglected by their "busy fast-paced" parents, but at some point it is time to quit feeling sorry for parents who lose children to their own negligence, and do something about protecting the children.

  3. This one appears different than say a child left in a car at a casino.

    Condolences to the family.

  4. This is a beautiful story and very real. We all say "how could anyone forget?" But apparently it's widespread enough that there are products to prevent it and campaigns to raise awareness. I pray for the family that lost that 6 month old this week.

    I wish I could upload photos here so I could show you the photo of a mom who left a kid in a car seat in a car that was not running to spend 15 minutes in Thrifty Liquor.

  5. Thrifty Liquor huh? That's classy. I know there have been some that left kids in the car when they went in the casino.

  6. In the universe where I live, it is totally unacceptable to leave a child in a hot car whether you are gone to work as much as if you have gone to Thrifty Liquor. I don't know what the rest of the world is trippin' on, but it seems like everybody is gone surfing. (just watched a movie from 1960's) I am not impressed with Jo's story in the least. She got in her truck in a condition which she describes as "hysterical" and talks on her cell phone for the entire trip as she races this vehicle to where she had left her son, even after she knows that the boy's father and the local sheriff's deputy are both on their way????? Like the slaughter of innocent people on the highway is going to make the situation better????? It is just irresponsible behavior on top of irresponsible behavior. If someone is too busy to keep their children safe, they are just too busy, and there is just no excuse that makes it right. If you had paid someone to care for your child, and the child had been left in a car to bake to death, would you file a lawsuit for negligence????? Would you push for the DA to prosecute for negligent homicide????? Or would you just say, "Well these things happen, it is no big deal, let's just let it go."

    1. I won't go into "defending" myself. However I will say the reason I was so distraught... Is I had not seen my son that morning at all.

      And you'll be relieved to know that no one was slaughtered as a result of my driving that day.

      I wrote about this not to impress. I did so because as you say there is no excuse. I've never forgave myself for this day.

    2. I don't know either of you but Anon at 943, I prayed for unforgiving, mean spirited people like you today. Hope you continue your perfect life!!

  7. Please forgive yourself.

  8. I think it took a lot of courage to write that account, she didn't have to do it. That's why I asked if I could republish it - so it could show that this can happen to anyone and that we should all be extra cautious.

  9. So insisting that children should be kept safe makes me an "unforgiving, mean spirited people"????? s/Anon at 943

  10. Jo Jo, I'm glad Jacob was safe. What happened to you has happened to more people than we can count. Many of us signle parents, and married parents also, have turned around in a grocery store and discovered that a child crawled out of the buggy and has wandered away or they crawled out of a swing or sand box and walked away. Turn your head for a second or be distracted for a moment and they're gone. We didn't have the problem with leaving kids in the car when I was young. We didn't have AC in the car and left the windows down all the time. It was just as hot outside as it was in the car and somehow we didn't have all the child kidnappings like we do now so we stayed in the car a lot while mom or dad went inside someplace. We also didn't have car seats or even seat belts and rode sitting in mom's lap more than the back seat. Bottom line, we all learn or try to learn how to protect our children more and more. Forgive yourself Jo Jo and be thankful that God talked to Jacob. He usually just slaps the rest of us in the back of the head to get our attention.

  11. Anon 943 probably doesn't have a child , and if he/she does, obviously doesn't spend much time alone with his/her child. Otherwise, would understand how this could happen to even the most loving and responsible of parents

  12. Anon 943 probably doesn't have any parents or siblings either. I bet he or she was just dropped on Earth from outer space, and that is why he or she does not dance to your tune.


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