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Monday, July 19, 2010

Elephant in the Room

I feel like I need to address some things. Some things are easier for me to address than others. Some things...well, I just wasn't quite ready for, but I feel I should address them anyway.

Buckle up. This could get lengthy.

Anonymous: I've seen you on other blogs. You are not one person, but an accumulation of various posters content to comment in any way you'd like without signing to it. Happy Anonymous posts are always welcome. But it's those annoying, pesty, rub you the wrong way comments that sneak their way into your blog that are not so welcome. It's part of blogging. It's part of opening up our lives to those who care to read. And I knew it was coming. Every time I scrolled to the comments section to read comments (and I read every single one of them) and every time I noticed an Anonymous post, I'd get nervous. Is today the day I'll get that comment? Well, yesterday was the day.

As far as the comment I'm referring to, there was nothing unreasonable or untrue about what was written. And I appreciate the concern. I'd be happy to address any safety measures we've taken. However, I'm not sure the intentions were truly sincere. A private message addressing the concerns about the safety of my children would have sufficed. The suggestions in the comment rather came off as calling me out on my blog - and using a very joyous and celebratory post, at that.

Safety Precautions: I've mentioned in this blog previously, but to those who are unaware, we no longer live at the residence where the accident took place. In fact, Christian has never returned to the house since he was taken from there in an ambulance. Kind of on purpose, kind of just by circumstance. But because I didn't have to take him back there, I didn't. Plain and simple. We now live somewhere that has no pool. Although, there are pools in the neighborhood and at relatives' homes.

We're also up to date with our child and infant CPR skills.

Lola is also enrolled in ISR classes, which I will also be posting about at a later date. But I will say that I really believe that ISR will be hugely beneficial to Lola in preventing another near drowning.

What I will say is that I get it. I used to be that person. I used to be the person who needed to understand, who needed to have a reason laid out for me so I knew what went wrong and I could avoid that scenario where things went wrong (I still that person on most issues). And then I could look at that person and say, "What's wrong with you? I'd never let that happen to my child. NEVER." I used to be that person, I'll admit. And then it happened my child.

It can be anything. Choking, drowning, running into the street, ingesting toxic chemicals, every household accident is just a minute away. As far as drowning goes, I'm sorry, I'm not going to be the poster child for pool fences. And the reason why is that I've met many on this journey and heard many stories. Some of those stories include children who've nearly drowned or drowned in pools that had fences. Some of those stories include children climbing over block walls to get to a pool. Two children last summer died after drowning in a pool that had a fence. So I can't get behind the whole a fence will save everyone argument. I just can't.

What I will get behind is what Lola's ISR instructor said...the more barriers the better. However, when it comes to kids and water of any kind be it a pool, a hot tub, a bath tub, or a bucket of water, nothing rivals constant supervision.

The Elephant In The Room:

Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking. They must be thinking, How could this woman let her child almost drown? Where was she? Why wasn't she watching him? I know some people think this because it's what I would think. It's what I thought prior to Christian's accident. I made a huge mistake that day. A huge mistake. I take full and complete responsibility.

You get comfortable in your surroundings. I thought Christian was safe in our house. I never even second guessed it. He wasn't even walking at the time. I didn't for a second think he could get out of the house.

I can't give you any magic words of encouragement that if you just do x than y won't happen to you. Don't think I don't know how much fault I carry. It's with me every day of my life and I will never forget. You know I don't even wear the outfit I wore on that day. I can't throw it away. It stays folded at the bottom of my drawer so I never forget to be careful. So I never forget what I felt like when I lost my child and to never make that mistake again.

I didn't post all of this in response to Anonymous. I've been wanting to post this for a while but I wasn't ready. I still don't feel like I was completely ready nor do I feel completely like I'm articulating my thoughts and feelings on this issue very effectively. I really wanted everyone to know it all. The guilt has been a huge weight on my heart for a long time that is slowly subsiding, but may never really recede completely.
One thing I have learned in this journey is that there is a kindness and human spirit I've never witnessed in my life. There is redemption and there is forgiveness given by the grace of God. I haven't forgiven myself for what happened. I will someday, but not today. There will come a day when I won't think about everything I should have done differently. And over time, the days have become more joyous and less sorrowful.

As moms, as parents, all we can do is our best. The truth is we're all just a moment away from tragedy, from a mistake, from a life changing event. Bad things happen in this world and in no way am I using that logic to exonerate myself.

But it's how we rise from the ashes that defines us so, excuse me, we're busy risin'.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna, I am SO sorry that whoever 'anonymous' is had the arrogance to post their msg. I'm posting anonymous, simply because I don't know how to post my name... sorry... I am so amazed at how far your family has come- and BEATING THE ODDS - all the doctors, nay sayers! You have beat them all!! It's heart warming to see Christian eating alongside Lola !!
Prayers and hugs.........

Anonymous said...

Shauna, beautifully written. You and your family are amazing. You, as a Mom have inspired me to fight with all I have as a Mom, because as you've said that's what Moms do. You are truly an inspiration and I find knowledge, courage and strength in each and every blog you post. Accident are accidents and its what happens in the aftermath that show us who we are as people and you've proven to be a true inspiration to so many people. Continue to be that phoenix and continue to rise from those ashes! Jennifer Ochs

Peg said...

Just a note Shauna, to say that you are again so honest and speak from the heart so eloquently. We ALL carry regret and guilt about stuff in our life and have things we would change if we could - your regret just had a bigger and longer term impact than most. And we all know deep down that something like this could happen to any of us - at any time. I think that is where the compassion comes from - we all know the pain that we could feel in an instant. We aren't perfect, the world isn't perfect, we do the best we can and adjust and readjust constantly to try to live better each day. And - your attitude as you journey through life is what either makes you bitter and mean or a blessing to all those around you and you are truly a blessing. Your warmth and love for both your family and others is so obvious - even your response to "anonymous" was done with grace and humility. I love knowing you! Peg

Amanda Wingate said...

I have never posted on your blog, but have been following your family for a while. I "found" Christian's story after a local child had a near death drowning. I spent hours and hours going back through every single post you ever wrote, all the way to the beginning. Let me say, you are amazing, no that word is too widely used in the world. You are... awe-inspiring! That's much better. Your strength and courage through this ordeal have truly inspired me. So I felt compelled to leave you some "Georgia love" this morning. I do not believe the "anonymous" comment was meant to hurt you or anyone else, I believe she was legitimately concerned. However, if she wants to be so concerned with your life, she needs to do as I did and read the WHOLE story. I know that you moved away from the home where this tragedy occurred, I know you and Gabe are CPR certified, I know you carry a huge amount of guilt, and I also know that you would do ANYTHING to protect your precious Lola and any other child in danger. So its not her place to remark in any way on safety. I pray, sincerely pray that nothing tragic ever happens to her family or children, so that she can continue to live life in such an ignorant bliss. You see, I lost a child several years ago,(to different circumstances) and I wish that I had your strength at that time but I did not. I do not believe that God "causes" bad things to happen to His children. If it breaks our heart to look at Christian like this, it must tear His heart out. I believe God allows things like this to happen to only a select few people, those with enough love and support to not only handle it, but also rise from it, like you said. Why does He do this, you ask? To allow everyone else to have a front row seat to what His grace and mercy can provide at such a desperate time to those that believe in Him, like you Shauna. You are a changed woman, as am I because of you and your story. You see two people, very dear to me are now christians because of what they watched me go through with the loss of my child. And to be completely honest with you, I have no idea how my brokenness and journey through it could impact someone in such a way. But it did and I would do it all again to save someone from going to Hell. There is a divine purpose and reason for EVERYTHING that happens, and HE will work good for those that believe in Him. So keep your chin up sunshine! I will leave you with words from one of my favorite songs, "So while you're praying and believing for what you thought was best, Trust God if He says no, you're still blessed, there must be a greater yes." We love you and support you.

Rochelle said...

Shauna, please don't let the few that are critical worry you. There isn't a parent out there that hasn't done something that they've regretted. It was an accident. You do not need to blame yourself over and over or knock yourself up over it. You have come so far, Christian has come so far, and you are all doing amazing! Celebrate the miracles and the accomplishments that he's made. He is here, he's your baby and you are his best advocate. I am sending you lots of prayers and hugs today. Hang in there, you're doing an awesome job and you're a wonderful mother. Love ya!

giddyup said...

Shauna, you are a witness for the Lord! This is your call in life.

pinksarahh said...

You are wonderful! I am not even sure how or when I found your blog but I have followed you intently since. You are so very right, we do the best that we can as moms. hang in there and I wish there was a way to not let people without the best of intentions post at all. (I can't wait to hear about the ISR, it isn't available where we live...)

Jendioguardi said...

I love Amanda Wingate's words and want to thank her, personally, for stepping in and sharing her own story and experience with us so that we can all remember that no one is immune to tragedy or disaster. I, too, am a changed woman, mother, wife, friend, name it! because of Shauna. My life also changed the day of Christian's accident and I thank God everyday for the courage my friend had that day to share his story with me. I don't think I can say it any better then Amanda did, so I won't try. She hit the nail right on the head. Shauna, I love your family and I thank God for you every day. Keep risin'! You're doing an "awe-inspiring" job!!!

Reba0729 said...

I just wanted to say, Keep Risin'. You don't have to answer to anyone who reads this blog. You know who you have to answer to, and he knows what's in your heart Shauna.
Rebecca G

AZUCAR Co. said...

Wow Shauna, to say you speak eloquently is an understatement. Reading this blog reminded me of a show I saw years ago that stuck with me til today. It was about a grandmother who had something tragic happen to her grandson while he was in her care. One of the guests on the show made a comment to the effect that in life we can all come close to tragedy everyday in someway and perhaps escape it if even by the skin of our teeth, but not everyone is so fortunate? (For lack of a better word)...Looking back at times I had my sisters kids I can think of situations that could have turned to catastrophe, did it mean I was irresponsible? I like to think im very responsible!:) But as the saying goes, "you don't know what you dont know." And hindsight is 20/20 afterall. So to the "anonymous" person, you can either put yourself and your kids in a bubble or hope you have even an ounce of the love, strength and perseverence Shauna has shown when life happens. (And if you choose the bubble, ya better check for leaks) ;) -Feliz

Anonymous said...

Shauna you are a great mom! Your blog inspires me and it gives me the strenght that I need to be a mom. Keep fighting!


Anonymous said...

Very well written Shauna. Thank you for addressing my initial question and I truly apologize if I came off as anything but sincere in my concerns. My intent was not to be hurtful. You have a beautiful family and I am very happy that Christian is doing so well...he has a bright future ahead of him. He is lucky to have such a loving and strong family.

The anonymous poster in your life,

Kelly R said...

Your family has touched my heart. My husband and I are praying for your family and little Christian. It is hard being a mom under normal circumstances, you are extraordinary. You have a strength and grace that can only come from God! Keep fighting.

Kelly R
Rochester, MN

Miller Mom said...

Wow, you handled that well! I only *know* you from CS but what I do know is that you love your children and that continues to be evident with your dedication to Christian. God bless you and your precious family! -Tabake

Michael Morris said...


Beautifully written way of addressing some of the issues that are confronted by the parents of children who survive a near drowning, and the suspicious way in which people address the parents.

You are doing your son proud. As a fellow traveler on this path following the near drowning of our son back in April 2006, we support you in sharing your journey.

If we can be of assistance please let us know...visit us at

Luke's Mom said...

Sadly I could of wrote the same words as you did for I too have a son who had a nd accident back in 2004. It took years to forgive myself and still today about 6 years later I still find it a challenge to completely forgive myself for buying the pool that Luke had his accident in. I hope and pray that you can find the comfort that only God can give in circumstances that you are constantly living through. Just know this, that what happened was a terrible accident, it can happen to anyone on any day of the year, you didn't make it happen and you can also not change that it did happen, someway, somehow you just have to continue on this journey that you never wanted to go on and know that God will stay right by your side each and everyday you're on it. I'm praying that you will find the comfort that can only come through our Loving Father God.


Anonymous said...

I'm an anonymous Melissa too, but not the Melissa that posed the question. I, too, have gone back and read your every word since finding your blog about six months ago. You are an amazingly dedicated mom and your spirit is undeniable.

I wanted to make a comment about the "if I don't do X, then Y won't happen to me." This has been a theme for me during hard times and there is a name for it. It's called the "Just World Hypothesis," just as in "just desserts," not as in "just left for school." It's where people use this belief to tame their own anxiety about bad events happening to them. So-and-so got cancer because she doesn't eat right but I eat right so I won't get cancer." Or "Shauna's child was harmed because she did this but it won't happen to me because I don't do that." People want to believe that random things just don't happen when in fact, they do. One time, I was held up at gunpoint at 6:00 p.m. when walking home from the corner store a block away from my house when I went to get a newspaper. I was amazed at how many people found a way to blame ME for what happened. "You should have driven your car," a co-worker said. "You should have the paper delivered" another said. "Do you live in a bad neighborhood?" people asked. They want to believe that it won't happen to them so they can live their lives without being paralyzed by fear of the unknown. It's very real, and it exists. And it's sad to not support those who need our support and not misplaced blame.

I live my life differently because of you and your blog. I am much, much more vigilant with my 3-year-old son because of it. I don't say this to be casting blame: the other day, I was sick with a virus and so exhausted. At nap time, my son didn't want to sleep so I opted for Quiet Time instead. We laid down together in my bed and I put the "Caillou" on for him to watch and despite my best efforts, started to doze off when he was still wide awake. My thoughts turned to you and I got up and splashed my face with cold water and made some coffee to keep me awake. Your experience has transcended beyond the walls of your former home.

But I do disagree with you about the fences. I don't think the argument is that a fence will save EVERYONE, as you write. Yes, children get over them, under them, through them. But I think more -- LOTS MORE -- would be victims of drowning and near-drownings without them. If a fence stops one kid from being a victim, then fences are a good thing. And I think it stops lots of kids.

Alicia said...

I am glad you were able to address this in such a grace-filled way. I'm just upset that you felt like you had to talk about this before you were ready. It is not anyone else's place to force you to address things. Just not cool. You don't have anything to prove to anyone. I could have gone forever without hearing an explanation because I know you were doing and always will do the best you can for your kids. No doubt.

I hope and pray that, in the future, people who feel the need to question you in this way will send you a private message. That's the way this should have been done.

Hugs, Shauna. Sending you big love from CO.

Anonymous said...

I was a late July mommy and read the August mommy boards frequently. I have followed your story from the beginning. I just wanted to let you know you have yet another supporter. Yet another mom/person learning from you and from Christian. I have loads of admiration for you and your entire family.

Calicomama said...

Second Anon Melissa has great comments about the "just desserts" way of thinking. Because of your blog and others, I've made it a point to try not to think things like "Well, if So-and-So didn't do x behvaior, then y horrible thing wouldn't have happened." This is important b/c people have to try to "make sense" of the world and one easy way is to assign blame. But as you know and as I have learned from you and others online, it's not that simple. I am not a religious person at all but the phrase "there but for the grace of God go I" speaks to me. When each day ends and I and the kids are healthy and OK, I am very grateful, but I know things could change in a heartbeat.

Jamie H said...

Wow. The only word I can say is wow. I came across this blog from the post on the SITS forum about your new blog. Your words are so powerful. As a pediatric intensive care nurse I see near drownings all too often in the summer months. Most parents are in complete shock during the time I see them so I never get to hear or see this side. Most people don't really even express this side anyway. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for helping me understand.

ShaunaQ said...

Thank you! And you're welcome! I wrote this two years ago and it's just as true now. Thanks for reading!

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