Honestly, I didn't know how to title this post. It has been 5 months minus one day. I named it after the first two words of my facebook post because I don't know how else to tell this story. In fact, I didn't plan on telling it here. It lives in my mind- locked up. Only to be taken out and looked at when necessary. I'm writing about it here because I told Madeleine I would. I'm writing because one day she will see this blog and it will fill in all kinds of holes for her. And it will retell her story from another perspective and that is important.
I want to write the real words here. I want to remember the details so explicitly that I can always conjure that feeling, although horrific, to remember why we fight the good fight. And yet, I want to forget. To bury this memory so deep that it will no longer evoke emotions when I drive by. So that when I consider what my girl has endured I won't shudder. So that when parental guilt rears it's ugly head all I think about is a failed gift or a crappy dinner.
But, this is our story.
My original facebook post:
The unthinkable happened today. My strong, brave, beautiful daughter climbed high in a tree to prove to girl (who was saying mean things about her leg) that she could. The branch broke and she fell. I saw my girl crumpled on the ground. Tried comforting her while organizing how to get Michael Meyersthere and what to do with max. Fortunately an angel was placed at the park. I have always trusted my kids with Jessica Elliott and she was there for me once again taking max to my mom's house. Madeleine was rushed to harborview by ambulance. We are relieved and feel so thankful that she has no fractures and no evidence of a brain injury. She may have other complications in her organs and is being kept over night. Prayers are welcome. My heart is grieving for my boy who was so courageous as he saw Madeleine lying motionless. His mom so preoccupied that I didn't thank him for waving down the ambulance and didn't get a chance to say goodbye. My heart is heavy for my scared precious baby. Thankful for these amazing humans at harborview that are taking such good care of my girl.
Here's the whole story that I might remember for Madeleine. She asked me about it the other day when we drove by Meridian Park. She couldn't remember details. She made up parts and spoke wrongly about other parts. It's ok. She was in shock. I told her that one day I would tell her the whole story. Here it is:
I woke early. It was going to be a hot day and I met Greta to go for a run. I only know about this because facebook spontaneously posts my runs and I have a run on the books for July 15. Max had an appointment in the afternoon and I had asked my wonderful friend Megan to watch Madeleine for a bit. Mad was excited. Megan's girls were excited. It was a done deal.
I dropped Mad off with Megan and took Max to his appointment knowing that Megan was going to take the girls to Meridian Park to play. Max and I were to meet them there after his appointment. We brought the twins' new bikes. We brought the pup.
There was a farmers market at the park that day. Tons of people and no parking. Max and I found a spot and proceeded to lead Winston on his leash toward the play area to see Mad. Because there was a farmers market there were so many people and families! There was also my friend Cassie with her two angel kids. And my friend and beloved babysitter Jessica with a baby she was taking care of the afternoon. Both encounters (Cassie and Jessica) were so welcome! It was summer and I hadn't seen either ladies in a while.
The day was beautiful and hot. It was a perfect day to play at a vast Seattle park full of orchard trees and screaming kids! I wore a linen skirt that came above my knees... with flip flops. On the top I wore my favorite white Anthropolgie tank in white. It is delicate with spaghetti straps. This is important because how many times do you leave the house thinking you may be wearing the wrong thing for the unexpected events that might happen.
When Max and I arrived he instantly played. I checked in with Madeleine. Chatted with Megan. Walked/ran the pup around. Watched kids play and all the other things you do when your kids are nine and you are at a park on a beautiful July day.
I walked to Cassie who was at the swings and chatted. I walked by a tree and Madeleine was a good 10 feet up. I said, "Mad, not too high up- that would seriously hurt if you fell."
Mad: "I'm fine"
Me: "It's time to come down. Remember our rule."
The rule is not to stand or rely on any branches that are smaller than your upper arm. You see, my girl has climbed trees from the beginning.
I walked about ten feet to my friend Megan on the bench. I started to tell her about something- who knows what.... I heard a crash and a scream.
I looked to my right and saw a child crumpled on the ground beneath a tree. It took me a half second to recognize Madeleine's yellow stripe tank and grey shorts. She was wearing her running blade. The hospital would cut that tank from her body but her shorts would remain a relic until I threw them away last month.
In a second I was next to her. Almost light speed I fled. Bionic Woman. The dirt and gravel scrapped my knees (remember the linen skirt?) as I literally slid to her side. I laid my body next to her in order to steady her. To keep her from moving a potentially broken neck or broken spine or concussed head. I was so aware that the park could see my ass. I was sure that my skirt had hiked up and my ass would be completely visible. I didn't care.
The first words Madeleine said was, "mommy, I want to wake up now."
I cried and told her it was okay.
I asked her what hurt... her tongue and her back, she answered.
"Mommy, is this a dream?"
"I want to wake up now"
What I didn't know is that Max was the first responder. He asked her, "Madeleine, are you okay?"
I think I might have pushed him out of the way. I will always wonder this and feel bad.
There were lots of moms there. I don't know them. Even Cassie was there and I barely remember her. One mom said awful things:
-I think she hit her head
-She is in shock
-I tried to catch her
-"Honey, do you see a light?"
One mom said, "I called nine one one can I call someone for you?
"yes, my husband, where's my purse"
Cassie: I'm here, what can I do?
Me: Find my purse, it's green, over there. Megan, she has the dog too.
Me: to the mom: My husband doesn't have his phone... what time is it... 5:08...He's home. Call my home number.... No, I don't know it!.... Find my phone... It's in my phone... Here's the passcode.. find "new home" (I don't know my home number. I named it 'new home' 7 years ago.....
Mom from park: no michael, this is not your wife. your daughter has been in an accident. the ambulance is coming...
The mom who told Madeleine about the light told Max to flag down the ambulance. I choose to think she had the best intentions because who would actually ask a boy, age just 9, whose mom is unavailable and whose sister is broken to get the ambulance. And, he did it. And thank goodness he did because Jessica saw him flag the ambulance and knew something was wrong with our babies.
To be continued....