Thursday, August 21, 2014

Help - I need somebody

A horrifying situation that I feel like I can't even begin to talk about happened. 

As a child there is a tendency to think of ourselves as invincible. When you are a parent, or a nurturer, and you have to deal with life and death types of risks in regards to children, you find that your whole mind set changes.

deary me, that probably only makes sense to me

Squink had a situation that absolutely terrified me. Made my heart stop. Made me roil and boil with an unfathomable anger that is still present and is mixed with dread, fear, anxiety...

My take away, one of them anyway, from what happened is that we have failed most of our kids in that we have not taught them what "get help" means.

When I was 7, I found my 9 or 10 year old cousin and my grandfather together. My cousin was laughing hysterically and my grandfather was blue and sweaty and unable to speak. My cousin said that he was laughing because my grandfather was pretending he couldn't move. 

I knew immediately that this was serious. I told my cousin to find my dad and get help while I went to find our grandmother. We were on a boat, they were easy to locate.

I was seven. He, my cousin, was at least two years older.

I don't know if I was able to assess the situation because I had grown up with a great caution instilled in me (from the very real possibility of my being kidnapped and being told what to do should that ever happen - my brother and I shared a room for quite some time so that in the case someone came in to our room at night, at least one of us could scream for help).

I don't know if I went to get help because I was taught by my mother what to do in cases of emergency.

I don't know if I went to get help because I am a girl, and that is what girls do.

But, the fact is that I got help. 

Not that it helped, he died that night.  But how much more awful would it had been to not have gone for help when it was obvious there was a need for some further intervention that was out of our child hands.

So, yes...

Squink was in a life or death situation. He was with "friends", all over the age of 7.

All were boys.

None got help. Actually, one did. He told his older brother who ran to help Squink immediately.

We found out by accident that he was in trouble, Overhearing the first two back washing their hands.

A couple that lived closer to the incident site decided to listen to their barking dog, look out the window to see what he was barking at, and they saw Squinks finger tips waving from a mud pile.

When they got there he was unable to scream. One of his rescuers told me that he was unable to scream for help any more and that as soon as they had removed him from the situation, that he seemed to be in shock.

My heart breaks at this situation.

So, if you are involved with children in any way... please talk to your children about what getting help means. That it means you get someone there right away. That it is serious and they should never worry about being in trouble. To scream when others can't.

Still, I just can't help but be bewildered that none of them got help.

I can't even describe the lump in my throat.

He was stuck in a very muddy excavation trench for a high voltage underground wiring system for some homes nearby. It was at least 4 feet deep. There was at least one line that was live. The hole was not barricaded, filled in, or had any forms of warning that it was not to be messed with (such as caution tape or barricades). In such shoddy work, it would be entirely possible that the contractor used broken pipe.

You can see the holes where his legs were stuck.

I can't even begin to describe the anger I feel at the contractor responsible for not doing any of those things and how he chose to follow up on the situation.

The fact is, Squink is my child and it is my god given, ancestral duty to protect him and so many people failed me on helping me do this. 

I assume a social contact with friends and family, with too few exceptions in this case, they and their children failed me.

I assume a social contract with professionals in whatever job that rules will be followed (in this case construction), they failed me.

I am angry.

I am heartbroken.

But for the sake of my child, you will hear me roar.


Anne said...

It was interesting to me that people that barely knew you rallied around you and got his shoes out and put up barriers. Then, of course there is the contractor who was a jerk. He came back in town and filled the hole and expanded the barrier, finally. You have every right to be shocked and angry

Anonymous said...

What a horrifying situation, Blair. It makes me feel sick just to read it. I think back to when I was a kid, and I'm saddened to think that I probably would have been one of the kids paralyzed by fear. I was raised to believe that if I had gone for help, I would likely have been met with trouble. "Why were you kids playing in that mud hole? Look, you're all dirty, and now your friend is stuck, what were you thinking?" instead of the appropriate, helpful response. In fact, I never told my parents about an assault that happened to me because I didn't want to get in trouble for hitchhiking.
It's because of this that I'm raising my kids to know that they'll NEVER be in trouble for calling for help, whether it's for themselves or someone else, getting out of a bad situation, even if it's a false alarm, even if it's due to their own bad judgment. If someone's in trouble, I never want them to be thinking "Mom's gonna be mad" It's a horrific waste of precious time when seconds count.

Blair said...

Thank you for teaching your kids that. I can't tell you how much that helps. I am trying to think what I can do to help children learn this.

African Kelli said...

Oh Blair! This is awful! I am so glad he is okay. And the story of your grandfather and the way you told it made me think of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Your storytelling is enchanting. (even when sad!)