IT'S BACK TO SCHOOL!
I woke up early today with kind of a start. Images that I never want to revisit flooded my mind. Images of my daughter Mickey slumped over in the bathtub. Blurred images of racing after the ambulance that carried her to the hospital emergency room. Then simply numbness as doctors told us our daughter had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in critical condition.
I'm guessing I woke up to these thoughts because it's the first day of school for many kids. And it was on the first day of what would have been the start of Mickey's 7th Grade year that we found her face down in our bathtub. So the first day of school is often a sobering day for Judy and me.
Some people would find it amazing that 27 years later the memories of those horrible moments could still be so visceral and vivid. But for those of us who have lost a child that moment never leaves us - no matter how much time passes.
It's probable that Judy and my work with families who have had a child die stimulates our memories more often then most. As I listen to the stories of families who come to Whitetail Lodge I often find myself reliving moments in the hospital with our Mickey. Judy and I call these moments ambushes. Moments we can't prepare for ahead of time.
If you know of someone who's lost a school age child please consider dropping them a note of encouragement today. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who pauses on the first day of school to think about the empty seat on the bus that would have carried their child to school. Or the backpack hiding in the closet that should be resting in a school locker somewhere.
Judy and I send out our love and hugs to all the families that have come to Whitetail Lodge who are missing their child on this opening day of school. We love you guys. Pat & Judy