My community is grieving

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My heart goes out to my local community who is grief stricken after a horrendous accident this week.

Every parent’s worst fear became a reality this week when a young 10 year old boy was skateboarding on the road when a car driven by a P plater hit him.

After two days battling his injuries and multiple surgeries, the boy lost his struggle for life yesterday afternoon. His family has made the generous decision to donate his organs to help kids who are critically ill and as such his legacy will live on, although his life has ended too soon.

This boy is the same age as my son and I know at this age boys are fearless and don’t have very good road sense – twice yesterday my son walked behind a reversing car! I’m forever telling my kids to get off screens and be active outside, which is exactly what this boy was doing but in a horrific set of circumstances the inexperienced driver was unable to avoid hitting him – that’s not to say any driver may have been able to avoid the collision.

I can’t imagine the inexplicable grief this little boy’s family must be feeling. His young life cut short from an activity that boys everywhere do!

I also have a daughter a similar age to the driver, so I also have great empathy for this poor teenager who has to live with the guilt of being responsible for the 10 year old’s death. It’s scary when your child starts to drive independently as you no longer have any control over their safety.

We can’t wrap our kids in cotton wool, although after instances like this, we all wish we could. The purpose of this post is not to point the finger at anyone as being guilty, rather it is to reflect on how precious our kids are and how we have to live life to the fullest as none of us knows when our time will be up.

My sympathy goes out to everyone in my community who is grieving the loss of this little boy and I hope that the families of both this little boy and the driver are given support to help them cope with the unbearable stress they must be feeling.

(Image courtesy of stuart miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

ANOTHER DRUG DEATH

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My greatest fear as a parent is that my children will decide to dabble with drugs. Although there is more than ample drug education for kids these days, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Teenagers are more interesting in the calorie content in food than the chemicals used in making synthetic drugs that have the potential to kill them.

This morning I was devastated to hear of the death of a nineteen-year-old girl, Georgina Bartter, from an ecstasy overdose. She was at a music festival (just like the ones my teenage daughters like to attend) and although she is an intelligent university student, she took the gamble to have drugs and now unfortunately she is lying dead in a morgue.

These music festivals are rife with drugs, even though there is screening at the entry. The problem with drugs is that if they are consumed prior to entry there is little evidence. I’ve heard of girls putting pills into balloons and then inserting them inside themselves to smuggle them into the festival so they can consume them in the portable toilets. I even know some teenagers who flaunt their drug use by using pill emoticons when posting photos on social media.

The drug culture has always been taboo and something that teenagers will not openly disclose to their parents. I know some teenagers think that rebellion is a rite of passage, but this behaviour is risky and yet they seem to have little fear of the possible consequences.

I was exposed to drugs as a teenager but I always took the view that I had high enough self-esteem to say no and not bend to peer pressure. The funny thing is that the kids who were the ‘popular’ ones doing drugs and pushing boundaries ended up as the least successful adults and the kids that were more conservative in their behaviour have turned out to have the most balanced lives.

My heart goes out to the Bartter family as they grieve the loss of their beautiful daughter, whose life should have been just starting – not ending! Unfortunately I don’t have much advice on how to stop your kids using drugs except to say have conversations with your kids about the dangers of drug use, try to ensure they have good self esteem and won’t bend to peer pressure, keep an eye on your kid’s friends social media and monitor your kid’s behaviour for any signs of drug use.

Friendships and fun times are what make life exciting – not taking drugs! I just hope this message sinks in for my kids and they have the good sense to say no to drugs.

(Photo courtesy of amenic181, freedigitalphotos.net)

THE NONEXISTENT MOTHER  

Imagine a ten year old boy and his seven year old brother are sent away for a holiday with family when their mother goes in for a gall bladder operation. Then imagine their dismay and grief to return from that holiday to find that their mother is dead and buried, with all traces of her existence removed from the house. 

Imagine these brothers then go for another holiday with family again a year later, returning to find their father had remarried without their knowledge.

Unfortunately, this is not a fictional tale; it is my father’s life.

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One last bewildering thing about this story was fifty years later, when my father was told by a long lost relative that his mother had in fact died after an operation to remove a cancerous tumor, not a gall bladder operation. 

Maybe back in the 1950s cancer was considered something shameful and the lies and omissions were to protect the family’s reputation? My father and uncle were never allowed to discuss their mother and had no keepsakes to cherish in her memory. I assume acting like my Grandmother had never existed, was my Grandfather’s way of coping. 

I recently ordered my late Grandmother’s death certificate for my own selfish reasons of wanting to know her medical history and how that may impact on my health.

When I held her death certificate in my hands I was overwhelmed with sadness that this poor woman had not only died alone in hospital without her beloved sons by her side, but then her sons were denied the right to keep her memory alive after she was gone. 

She was the same age as I am now and her sons were similar ages to my youngest two kids. It breaks my heart when I imagine myself in her situation. Not only did she not live to see her young boys grow into men, she missed meeting their lovely wives and exceptional (cough, cough) grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Luckily my father’s step-mother was a loving mother to the boys and a caring grandmother to us, but she should have been an addition to the family not a replacement. When a mother dies, surely the very least that can be done is to allow her memory to live on through her kids.

So although I never got to meet my biological grandmother, I hope she knows she is not forgotten and that her legacy lives on through our family.

 

(Photo courtesy of topstep7, freedigitalphotos.net)