It is almost 1:00am. I am tired but my mind is unsettled. I have been reading about the Suwyn family from Hurricane, Utah who just lost their eleven-month old daughter Skyah two days ago. Skyah's mother forgot she left her daughter in the car, causing her to die from heat exhaustion. Cruel, judging comments have been made regarding this mother. I know it sounds inconceivable that a mother could do such a thing as forget her baby, but it happens. It happened to me.
Every time I read one of these horrifically tragic stories, I am taken back to August,1991. I had asked Jared if he could come home for lunch to watch Daniel, Travis and Noelle while I hurried to go visit teach my friend Nori. When Jared arrived, I quickly jumped into the car and took off.
It was an unusual overcast summer day. I parked in my friend's driveway that was shaded by a big tree. I got out of the car and went inside. Nori and I sat down and began to visit for a while. Her newborn baby began to cry so she went to get him up from his crib. As Nori walked down the hall she asked me about my nine-month old baby daughter.
Immediately my thoughts turned to Noelle, and I was horror stricken to recall that I had actually brought Noelle with me and had left her in the car. I ran outside to discover a very red, screaming baby. I am convinced that the clouds and the shade tree were what kept Noelle alive. Even though it was only twenty minutes, on a normal August day in LasVegas, I am sure the results would have been tragically different.
Nori called her husband who was a resident doctor at UMC. He gave me instructions of what to look for and what to do. Noelle was fine. I was not. I reenacted that experience over and over in my mind for months. I didn't have any recollection of carrying Noelle to the car or buckling her up in her car seat. In my mind, I had left her with Jared and the boys.
It is actually more horrifying for me to think about it now and all the what-might-have-beens. Not only was Noelle's life spared, but so was mine. I cannot fathom living with the degree of guilt and pain that would accompany such a horrible accident.
Which leads me to where I began... with a grief-stricken mother who did the same thing as I but had a different ending. My heart hurts for her, her loss, her pain, her husband, her other children. I pray that angels will minister to this mother and that her aching will lessen as the days pass. I pray that she will forgive herself. I pray that others will too.