This week our daughter joined a paddle boarding camp. It's been hard to find organized activities for her during this pandemic summer so when a friend told us her daughter was joining this camp it seemed perfect. Unfortunately, long story short, after a few days of vigorous physical activity, our daughter became stranded on her board yesterday due to severe upper back and arm pain. She couldn't even lift her paddle. She tried to swim back to shore but just didn't have the strength. Throughout all of this, there wasn't a single teacher nearby or even aware of her distress. Fortunately, her classmates, a group of girls mostly younger than her, came to her rescue. My heart swells when I think of it. They noticed she had fallen behind and was in trouble and paddled back and devised their own rescue.
We happened to come by the camp early to pick her up and when she saw us she came over and explained what happened. And then she burst into tears. She was in pain, and she felt so abandoned by the teachers. But just before we left after gathering up her things, she pulled herself together and went over to her group and thanked them for helping her. I've lost count of the times I've seen children behave more compassionately and respectfully than adults.
All day yesterday and this morning I'm grappling with so many emotions about what could have happened. And my mind can't help thinking - we have already lost one child due to the negligence of others. Although I definitely struggle with guilt about how I couldn't save him, I also understand that the healthcare system is not equipped to prevent stillbirth, nor to support bereaved parents after their child dies. I will always believe his death was preventable. So to have our daughter be put in this dangerous situation - I will need time to process it. I feel so grateful to that group of resourceful girls who came to her rescue, and grateful to have my child here at home with me, safe.