On Guilt
by Karla ° Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I subscribe to a local news feed and over the past couple of weeks I have been receiving far too many emails about children plunging to their death off of a high rise balcony or an open window. This is so sad, and yet it happens every year when the weather gets warm and people yearn to flush away the staleness of winter and feel the freshness of a summer breeze twist through their hair.

And yet that simple act of opening a window has had the most dire of consequences. A child is gone forever, and the guilt the parents are feeling right now must be so entirely overwhelming. It is something that will loom over them, forever trembling in the branches of the trees above their heads and following them wherever they go.

I understand this guilt. My daughter died in a different way, but not a day goes by that I don’t play the What If game. I will never know if we could have done something differently to change the outcome of her birth and now I have to live with that each and every day. It takes the might of an elephant to to keep my thoughts from swirling like a tornado in my head.

It’s like being at war with your own mind on an island of flat concrete and not being able to see the flag of truce waving over the hills across the horizon.

I shudder to think how shattered those poor families are at the moment and I wish them much strength for the long battle ahead of them.

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I feel this same way. Where I live it has happened twice in one week and was entirely preventable, making it all the worse for the parents.
I have miscarried a great many times and though I don't compare that grief to holding your child as they pass away it brings with it a similar guilt, the what if's somedays are overwhelming. Now I have a daughter, 17 months who is nothing short of a miracle and so I will do all I can to see she lives a long and prosperous life, but there is only so much we can protect them from. I live on the 3rd floor with a balcony so keeping the windows closed is one little step. But I do pray that if she is taken from this world as so many children are too soon that I will face into it with strength and grow from the suffering as I have (and clearly you have) so far, making the loss meaningful as obviously their and our children's lives were.
Thank you for sharing your story, you are courageous to do so and to continue to live with purpose and love.

Last Saturday my 4y9m old son opened his second story window (which was closed, but contained window guard and the screen had fallen/blown out long ago) climbed out, and dropped 20 feet to the lawn below (because he "didn't want to take a nap and didn't think it would hurt"). We are among the lucky and blessed because he miraculously does not have a bruise or scratch on his body. Just some grass-stained shorts and a lot of stiffness/weakness in his pelvic area. We are so well aware of how differently things could have ended up had he gone head first instead of feet first, or not fallen just the right way. I can't stop thinking/visualizing that and it is so heartbreaking to know that some parents are not as lucky as we were. We will be installing window guards, but there's really only so much we can do to protect our children from unforeseen accidents. Just pray, pray, pray for their safety I guess. My heart goes out to all parents who've lost a child - unexpectedly or not.
Posted by Blogger Pam :  July 18, 2007


So I wrote the word yeah and my 7 year old daughter came yelling and running down the stairs about some emergency...my car door was open from unloading groceries earlier and when she was in the bathroom she heard a noise so she opened and stuck her head out the window and saw that the door was open in the pouring rain. What the heck she is 7 she know NOT to open the window upstairs. (especially since she has a 3 year old brother who mimics everything she does, good thing he is sleeping)

There really is only so much we can do..how ironic huh?
Posted by Blogger Donna :  July 18, 2007

It would be haunting. I don't think I could have managed.
Posted by Blogger Anvilcloud :  July 18, 2007

I am lucky to live in a single story, but there are always things out there that can hurt our children.

I feel so badly for any parents that have to deal with such tragedy.
Posted by Blogger Gina :  July 19, 2007

When my daughter was about a year and a half, we heard very faint crying and raced through the house to find her. We searched through every room and when I got to our bedroom I took a first look at her crib - it was empty. My brain told my eyes not to look to the window... and I was caught in a slow motion nightmare. The screen was gone and I don't know how I found the strength to run to the window with my knees crumbling under me. She had apparently climbed up and fell out, taking the screen with her. VERY thankfully, the screen was like her magic carpet ride, because even though she fell about 8 feet onto our stone walkway, she didn't have a scratch on her. Now me, on the other hand.. when I got back into the house I handed her to my husband and I buckled to the kitchen floor in heaves. We now live in a house where our bedroom windows are on the 3rd level. NEVER will we leave a window accessably open again. N-E-V-E-R.


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