Sunday, May 26, 2013


When Matthew was two, and Jack was a baby, I lost him at the mall for about 20 minutes.  At Ridgedale, there is now a Chipotle where an Arby's used to be.  I had gone in to review some photos at a studio in the mall and on the way out, I was grabbing lunch for Cory and Cole.  There is a stroller-rental right outside the restaurant, and Matthew was playing on those strollers.  I was looking at the menu, and when I turned around, Matthew was gone.  

It'd be hard to me to put into words what happened then.  I had Jack in a stroller.  I quickly scoured the area and went into an instant panic.  I've not felt something like that since, or before.  My whole body shut down. I ran into a tailor shop, pushed my stroller all the way to the back and asked the seamstress if she had seen a little boy.  I called Cory, freaking out.  Someone must have called a security guard because one showed up.  The area is right by the exit and all I could think is that someone had taken him and walked right out of the mall.  My whole body shut down.  I kept thinking, "My life will end today.  If someone took my baby, my life is over."  I couldn't think.  I didn't know what to do.  The security guard assured me that this happens daily and assured me someone would find him.  I was in shock, and could hardly move, and at the same time I couldn't move fast enough.  I needed someone to take my stroller so I could move faster.  

Only a short time passed before they told me that someone found him in JCPenney, in the homegoods section.  He came walking out with a security guard.  I dropped to my knees and started crying.  I hugged him and hugged him and when I leaned back, he was looking at me, puzzled.  He still remembers it.  That unbelievable relief after sheer panic.

This week, there was a news story about a family that went camping and lost their two-year-old.  For 48 presumably AGONIZING hours, they couldn't find their baby girl.  Since I heard about it, I have had a tightness in my chest. A feeling of guilt because my life just continued while theirs absolutely stood still. Because that happens.  People, awful people, steal other peoples children.  Who would do that?!  Unfortunately, they have found their daughter, in the lake.  She isn't here on earth anymore. And I'm sure their pain is awful, and my heart is broken for that mother.  It happens so fast.  It's no one's fault.  But they will grieve the loss of their precious daughter their entire lives.  God.  So sad.  And yet, I'm glad Jesus got her, and not some awful human on earth and they won't have to spend the rest of their lives wondering where their child is, like so many unfortunate parents the world over.  I cannot imagine a greater horror.  

I'll keep that family in my prayers as our lives continue.  And all families who lose their children too soon, in any manner of death or loss.  It must be unbearable.  Today, I am thankful that my babies are all under my roof safe and sound.  Pray God keep them safe and secure every day of their lives.

And if you ever see a panic-stricken parent in a public place whose little one has wandered off, stop what you are doing and help them.  They will appreciate it.  Our sole purpose as parents is to keep our children safe, and when we are unable or have failed, life stops for a moment.

To Daisy's family:  I'm so sorry for your loss.  Parents everywhere are grieving with you.  God wrap his healing arms around you and give you peace.  Amen.

1 comment:

Julie said...

What a devastating loss for her family.

And it's terrifying to think your child is gone! We also had a mall experience where our little guy refused to follow me down an escalator at a mall (I thought he was next to me) and I panicked. And fell and punctured my knee on the stairs. I hardly felt it at first because it was oh-so-much-scarier to think he could disappear. Parenting moments that knock the wind out of you, right?