January 28, 2006 – October 18, 2008
My husband and I have been foster parents, all the way up to therapeutic level, adoptive parents, we are advocates for the under privileged, and have raised numerous children who weren’t our own. In our home you will find above and beyond what is needed to keep a child safe. Locks on doors, alarms to unsafe areas, fire evacuation plan on the wall, knives, chemicals and medications are safely locked away. At the time this happened, I taught parenting for a group home for pregnant and parenting teens, and Wes was working tech support for a local cable company. We are loving and devoted parents.
On October 18th my in-laws were visiting from out of state and we were going to have breakfast with them. I had told the kids to get ready to go and Maya took off as we were walking to the car. She ran next door to say Hi to our neighbor. I clearly remember telling her. “Maya muscles have memory. Do we need to practice walking to the car?” She told me “No mama, me saying Hi to Mr. Andy. Me muscles know how to walk to the car.” Muscles have memory is something I use to say when we needed to practice a behavior. Such as, “we go potty, and then wash our hands” or “First the socks go on, and then the shoes”. Walking to the car is straight to the car, not the neighbor’s house. A behavior, if done often enough, will be remembered by our muscles even if our brain is working on another task. Muscles have memory! This thought, among others, would haunt me later that day.
Our family, in 3 vehicles, went out for breakfast. We had a lovely time and talked about the fun the kids and grandparents would have that day. After breakfast I went to work in my own vehicle, this is the vehicle the children normally ride in but I needed to haul some stuff so I took our family suburban. I normally took my daughter with me but because my in-laws were visiting she was going to stay with the rest of the children. My husband took our daughter in his little car, the one we usually only used for him to travel to and from work or if he dropped kids off at school. Another of our children rode home with grandma and grandpa. Wes stopped by a gas station on the way home and he remembered seeing Maya who was over 2 1/2 sleeping peacefully in the back seat. He then drove home to play with the rest of the children. Thinking back later, he said when exiting the vehicle he thought our daughter was at work with me. Later, as he and grandpa played with the other children in the back yard, he thought she was sleeping with grandma in one of the rooms in the house. A little over an hour later, he went to see how Maya was sleeping only to discover she wasn’t with grandma or in her bed. He ran to the car only to discover that the Arizona heat and the lapse in his memory had taken our daughter's life.
Many people, including some of my own family, have suggested that this accident would have been prevented if Wes had just been more observant, caring or paying more attention. My answer to that; how many times have you driven home and not remembered every inch of the trip? Your muscles have memory! Just like our body knows know the route home, Wes’s body told him to jump out of the car to go inside to play with the kiddos like he normally would after work. Why would he look for a child he didn’t even remember having with him?