Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Counting our blessings

This is a difficult post for me to write. What should be just about Charlie's awesome field trip to The Seattle Center, has a tragic side story to it.

It's not my story, but it's intertwined with his field trip that day. So I wasn't sure how to tell about our day without including what happened. But I hesitated to tell what happened because it's not my story, make sense?

Read on.

First of all Charlie was really excited to have me go on this trip. He even chose, on his own, to sit with me instead of his friends. He obviously wanted to spend some quality time with me.

He even "let" me have the window seat. Nice view, huh?

The whole purpose of Charlie's field trip was for the kids to sing at Winterfest at The Seattle Center. He is in Honor Choir, which is for 4th and 5th grade students. They go to school early every Friday to practice. Their reward at the holiday season is to go to Seattle and perform. I was lucky enough to chaperon for Kate and Julia when they went. Remember all the fainting?

This time the kids got to go up in the Space Needle first.

(Shot from the elevator going up-that's the EMP)

Charlie was very excited.

The group I was in charge of included Charlie and 5 other boys.

They pretty much ran around the outside of the Needle all excited, with me constantly telling them to "Stay together!!".

Charlie hung back with me a lot, sweetie that he is.

What a handsome boy, if I do say so myself.

After what was about 10 minutes, they were bored and wanted to go to the gift shop. No joke.

So we headed down and spent the next HALF AN HOUR perusing the over priced merchandise.

After all the coveted items were purchased, we headed over to the Center House where they would perform, and where there is a food court, to eat our lunch and hang out until it was time for them to sing.

Jeff had met us there to eat and watch the kids perform. As did many other parents. We were finishing up our own lunches so we sent the boys over to their teacher to warm up while they waited to take the stage.

Jeff and I gathered up their coats and belongings and headed over to find a seat. As we approached the stage, we saw a security guard performing CPR on an older gentlemen who was laying on the floor. We quickly averted our eyes because it instantly felt like we were intruding on something very personal, especially since his wife was standing 2 feet away watching.

Some of the children had noticed what was going on, but the Seattle Center folks were quickly erecting a curtain around the whole scene to protect the privacy of the situation.

This gentleman had collapsed right in front of the stage, and the children were just to the left of it waiting to go on.

By now, EMT's were there and had taken over working on the man. Speculation among the chaperone's and parents was growing, wondering who he was, and saying "please don't let him be there to watch a child."

For myself, I began crying. I couldn't help it. Someone's life was slipping away 15 feet from me, and the tragedy of the situation hit me very hard.

Then word came, he was the father of one of the children in Charlie's choir.

We were stunned, and new anguish for the family spread through me.

This man, his wife and their adult son, had come to the Seattle Center that day to watch his 10 year old daughter sing in her Honor Choir. They took a front row seat, and then I can only imagine what happened after that.

They worked on him for a long time. It finally became evident that it would be both impossible, and inappropriate for the children to take the stage.

But as 9 and 10 year olds, they were mostly unaware of what was going on and just confused as to why they couldn't sing. So their choir director, who was AMAZING throughout this, had them sing a few songs where they were standing.

So instead of this:

They performed right here:

No mics, no risers, and only one of the songs they had prepared. Just sweet children's voices singing as the father of one of their classmates returned to his Heavenly Father.

Yes, the man died. Right there where his daughter was to perform.

It was one of the most profoundly tragic things I've ever witnessed. 3 weeks before Christmas.

The kids were mostly oblivious, just sad that they had not been able to perform. I'm glad for their innocence, for the lack of awareness they had at what was going on. I tried to explain it to Charlie in a way that would help him empathize. But none of them really understood.  I barely understood. I had stood there praying my heart out, asking Heavenly Father to PLEASE not take this little girl's daddy. But it wasn't to be. I don't know God's plan for individual people's lives. I can only hope that the family will be ok eventually. I just know that 10 years is not long enough to have your dad. And when I think of the weddings and grand babies he is going to miss, the tears flow all over again.

As we headed back to the buses, the kids were over their disappointment and just excited to get their pictures taken in front of the big, shiny EMP.

It's hard to not ask why sometimes. Why does tragedy strike some and not others? I have faith in a loving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I know they are at the controls and that there is nothing of this magnitude that happens for no reason. I don't think that lessens the sorrow of losing someone, it may only help to understand and to be comforted when all feels lost.

Hug your spouses tighter, give your children and parents kisses. If I am gone tomorrow, I don't want there to be any doubt that I love my family and that they mean the world to me.

And I don't want to waste any of this life choosing unhappiness when there is so much joy to be found in living.


  1. Oh Amy I'm so sorry! That's a horrible story and I'm so sad for that family. I will definitely hold my family close tonight.

  2. That is so tragic and I am so sad for the family, classmates, you, and Jeff for having to witness. I too will hold my family close tonight!!
    Hugs to you all as well,
    PS sorry it is anonymous still can't get my blogger name to pop up...

  3. You know that I know exactly how sad this is. Watching little children without their parents is almost too much to bear.

  4. How horrible for that poor family to lose their father/husband and in such a situation. My heart goes out to them, and to that little girl who had to witness it unfold. Maybe that gentleman had a purpose of teaching everyone there about the fragility and value of life that we often take for granted - I'm sure all who witnessed are also holding their loved ones a little tighter.

  5. Oh Amy, how sad for everyone. My heart breaks for the man's wife; having watched my own husband die after my own CPR attempts, I know the painful road she has to follow now. I truly hope she has the strength of family, friends, and God to help her through what is bound to be a dark and lonely journey.

    I am pleased, however, that the children were able to sing. There is a healing quality to music, almost as if it carries away the pain and worry.


  6. OMGosh, how incredibly tragic!! I'm sitting here crying at 7am for pete's sake.... See I am just like you!

    I will pray for peace for this family, so so so sad!!!!

  7. Oh my gosh Amy, that is so so so so sad. Oh my goodness. My heart is broken. Thanks for the reminder of how truly precious life is.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...