This spring a 9-year-old girl in our school district was hit and killed in the parking lot of her school at drop off. The driver was her mom. Her mom. It is believed that she was trying, for whatever reason, to get back into the car, as the mom pulled away.
I. Can’t. Imagine.
What made it ironic in my life, it that the day before was my youngest’s 9th birthday.
I’m a mom. I drop off my kids and my ‘little kids’ that I nanny at school often. I have a 9-year-old. It hit close to home.
I wonder what their morning was like that Monday. 4 more days of school, then off for more than a week for Spring Break.
Was Emily excited? Did her or her mom make mention of the last Monday of school before break? Was their morning calm or rushed? Did they eat breakfast together? Was Mom distracted that morning? Already thinking about what waited for her at work? Had she worked the night before and she was rushing home to get some sleep? Did they say goodbye to each other as she hopped out of the car? Did they say “I love you”….one more time? Was she simply distracted as she pulled away, not realizing her sweet girl was trying to get back in the car?
When I heard the horrible news, I almost vomited. It hit me in the gut. And then I thought…how could a parent go on after this? How does a school heal? How do friends, classmates, witnesses, move on?
Prayer. Grace. Jesus. That’s it. That’s all. And that’s more than enough. Nothing else can heal your heart after tragedy like this.
Each morning after Emily’s death, I make extra sure that no matter the craziness of the morning, no matter if my boy (or me) is grumpy, and especially if less than kind words have been spoken (guilty!!!) there is one more “I love you”, one more hug, one more kiss.
And each time I drop a child off at school, I wait, just a few more seconds, until I see them safely walking away from the car on the sidewalk. Shamefully, I didn’t always take that extra second before. And a lot of other parents didn’t either. But the difference in all parents dropping off kids is noticeable, thankfully.
And as my tiny passenger jumps out, they hear “I love you! Make it a great day!”
They don’t hear my whispered prayer for Emily’s family. They don’t hear my prayer that parents will take the extra second to ensure their child is a safe distance from the car before they pull away. They don’t hear my prayer that every parent will say “I love you!” as they send their child out into the world for the day. They don’t hear my prayer that God will put a hedge of protection around them and keep them safe.
But Jesus does, and He’s the only one that needs to.
May He keep our kids safe, may He show them His love, and may He heal everyone affected by Emily’s death.