It's 4:30 in the morning and I can't sleep. I decided to take the advice of a friend and instead of fretting over my lack of sleep, use this time to process things, which is all part of the healing process.
Whenever tragedy strikes, everyone's first thoughts are, "How did this happen?". I think that is only natural because we want to make sense of what happened--how, why--and we also want to avoid making the same mistakes oursleves. We want to make sure that the tragedy will not happen again--to us.
I have struggled this whole week with sharing the details of what happened. Wiser and loving friends, and my husband, have asserted that I don't owe everyone or anyone an explanation, but as a mother I feel I do. I find myself telling and re-telling the story to people in a way to assauge my guilt, to justify my choices, to make sense of this myself, to beat myself up again and again and again. But I am slowly coming to realize something through this: It doesn't matter HOW it happened. The fact is, it happened and I can't go back and change anything despite my pleading with God. AND, the fact remains that God is Sovereign over all circumstances, the narrow misses everyday despite our mistakes as well as the one time tragedy does strike.
For we do not control the events of our life, God does. And, for every one time tragedy does strike there are millions when it should have and it didn't. And for every tragedy that strikes there are a million variables that if any one of them had changed, the tragedy would not have happened. Everyone involved in the tragedy plays a part, accepts blame, struggles wondering if it was THEIR actions that were the final blow that set the tragedy in motion. That is how we like to think: That somehow we are in control and therefore, we can assign blame. And despite knowing all this, I blame myself because it is my precious baby, whom I love more than anything, who is hurt. How could I but NOT blame myself?
So, would it be helpful for me to hash out all the details for the world to examine to make their own judgements about which variable should have been changed leading up to the accident in order to assign blame? Do I open my wounded soul up to public scrutiny or my family and their actions--for they are just children. The fact is NOBODY is to blame. Accidents happen, despite our best efforts to keep our children safe. We would NEVER intentionally harm our children. For someone who is not a Christian, who maybe still believes that they control their destiny, I think that they do think it is helpful to scrutinize the situation. However, as a Christian who believes in the Soverignty of God, at some point you have to lay it down and offer it to God and believe that it was a tragic accident, but that there are NO accidents and every single minute detail was set in place within the hands of God and that God allowed it all for a purpose. Does this knowledge bring peace? Slowly.
Despite all this, I know the question still remains in everyone's minds: How did Truman drown? What happened? The answer is nobody knows for sure. We weren't there to see how it actually all played out or we would have saved him. Obviously, we got there in time and we DID save him, and that is all that matters. Truman drowned in a 5 gallon bucket that was filled with a few inches of pond water being used to catch frogs and turtles. A bucket that was light enough for a child to pick up. A bucket that for some reason did not tip over when Truman reached in for an object, lost his footing and slipped in. A bucket that I never knew was there. Because the thing you have to know, without sounding like I am justifying myself, is that Truman LOVED water and therefore, I watched him like hawk around water. I was paranoid about this very thing because of his fascination with water. This little guy, if he heard the shower, would crawl in fully-clothed, if he could, with whoever was in there at the time. If the door was open while other little ones were taking a bath, he would crawl head first into the tub, heedless of danger. I worried about open toilet bowls, the ponds behind our house, and his water table. In the end, despite my vigilence, it was none of these things; it was a 5 gallon bucket of water that I didn't catch. And I forever will struggle with blaming myself for not knowing it was there. When EMS came, I told them it was this acquarium that was kept on the back patio for the purpose of catching critters that I thought Truman had fallen into because the lid had been left off. However, when I showed the EMS guy the acquarium, the lid was on. It wasn't until we pieced everything together hours later that we discovered it was the bucket. And still my mind screams, "What bucket????" I still don't know because when I got there, one of my other children had discovered him and pulled him out and I found him on the ground. If you don't think to even look for this hidden danger, how would you know? I mean, had Truman fallen and got hurt he would have cried and I would have come running. But drowning is the silent killer and if you don't even know there is water nearby, you won't interpret the silence as deadly but peaceful. You check on your children and you check and you check and you check again. You listen for their cries, for squabbles, for them calling out "Mommy". Your radar is on for noise, for sound. But when the tragedy is silent? When the danger is unknown? When there is a breach in your vigilence? What then?
But here's the thing now, I answer the question of how this happened and a dozen more questions pop up: Who left the bucket? why was it not emptied? Where were we all when Truman fell in? How long was he in there before we found him? Why didn't I see him when I checked to see if he was okay?
It doesn't matter. It doesn't help to assign blame. It happened. And none of my pleading, begging and bargaining with God can change it. Believe me, I have tried.
In an otherwise safe, everyday common occurrence--Truman playing on the back patio, which he did everyday, safely, for hours, protesting when you brought him inside, never leaving the patio unless picked up by someone--tragedy struck. Despite my best, over-protective mommy efforts to keep my baby safe, it still happened.
But still plaguing my mind: What if the bucket hadn't been left there? What if I had found him sooner? Why didn't the bucket tip over when Truman fell in? Why didn't I see him when I scanned the patio searching for him. For you see, Truman never left the patio and that is how I KNEW something was wrong.
The fact remains that God was there--He alerted me so that I did panic and know something was wrong, He had a sibling discover Truman right away instead of us searching in the wrong places, He caused 2 neighbors to be home who were both certified in CPR, Semaiah was napping and missed the entire scene, Truman's body was the right temperature so that they were able to revive him, etc. A thousand "coincidences" leading to the accident and a thousand "coincidences" now working to heal him. But, we know that these are not coincidences, but the very hand of God!
Thank you for praying for Truman, for our family. It is what is holding us up right now--faith in a loving Heavenly Father who knows and who cares, who was there, who is working all things out for His good purposes. As Truman lies healing physically the rest of his family is trying to heal, too. We have all been traumatized, we are all blaming ourselves, and we are all struggling in different ways. All I can do now is trust God, lay down my guilt, my fears, my pain and go to God and rest in Him.
It could have been any of us. It could have been any tragedy. But it was Truman, my son, my handsome baby whom I have to believe that God loves even more than I do. All I can do now is entrust Tru to His hands.
In Christ, Laura