Brooklyn Renee Cline, January 21, 2020 – October 2, 2021.
Brooklyn is our middle child, our sweet little blue-eyed girl. She has a big sister named Shiloh, and a little brother named Henry.
Brookie and her big sister Shiloh are both dearly loved little girls, and they have been best friends since the day Brookie was born. Brookie leaned on her sister when she learned to walk, then quickly learned to run, then to dance. She danced every time a song came on. She would jump up off the couch and dance at the end of every movie when the credits rolled. Clapping, singing, twirling, she loved every genre of music from country and classic oldies to the new stuff. Her daddy taught her to head-bang to rock music, which she started to do to every song.
Brookie loved the beach, the pool, and quickly learned to love boats. She went on 3 beach vacations in her short life, obsessing over the waves and the sand. She found handfuls of seashells, which she sometimes helped mommy collect, or sometimes threw back into the ocean. In September of 2021, we went on our last family vacation. It was the first time that Brookie could walk well enough to run in the sand and splash in the waves. We went to the beach every single day and spent a couple of days on boats watching dolphins, and searching for good spots to find shells. Brookie and Shiloh took turns sitting on daddy’s lap to drive the boat. They both liked it, but Brookie LOVED it. She steered, she honked the horn, she pushed buttons and pulled levers. She got angry when daddy had to correct her steering, but quickly smiled again once she got the wheel back.
After that vacation, we talked about getting a boat, mostly because of how much the girls loved being out on the water. I told my husband that I wanted to get the girls into swimming lessons so that they would be safe. He agreed, and I enrolled the girls in the 10:30 am class the very next day at our local swimming school.
The morning of Saturday, October 2, 2021, Brooklyn woke up early, happy, and full of smiles. I got her out of bed and took her to Shiloh’s room where we woke up big sister and played with toys and read books. After breakfast, we changed into our swimming suits. Before we left, both girls gave their dad big hugs and walked towards the door. When Brookie got to the door, she stopped, turned around, and ran back to daddy giving him another big hug. That would be the last hug she ever gave her daddy.
Swimming lessons went great, the girls both enjoyed their classes. Shiloh was in an older kids class, but Brooklyn and I were in a mommy-and-me class. Brooklyn eagerly completed all the beginner tasks that were asked of her, paddling, blowing bubbles, kicking her feet, climbing in and out of the pool with assistance. She had a huge smile on her face the entire time, I remember telling myself that I would look forward to these swimming lessons, because it was so much fun to interact with her. The lesson was over at 11:00, the girls and I dried off and took a candid photo at 11:06 before grabbing our “first day” balloons and walking out the door. It was windy outside, so we quickly walked to our SUV, where I decided for a couple of reasons to put Shiloh in the car first. I let go of Brooklyn’s hand, opened the door, picked Shiloh up, lifted her up into the car seat and immediately heard the loud POP noise of a popped balloon. My chest instantly tightened, as I frantically searched for Brookie. I closed the door and turned around in a circle searching for my child. I called out her name as I began to run behind my SUV, I immediately saw her, laying under the SUV that had previously been parked next to me. Her popped balloon was right next to her. The driver had pulled forward out of her parking stall at the same moment that my daughter stepped into the blindzone in front of her vehicle. Brooklyn was only 20 months old. Too short to be seen by the driver. While cradled in my arms, she exhaled for the last time, as a crowd of people came to offer help. We tried to revive her, multiple strangers giving CPR or calling for help. I called 911 at 11:08am. Shiloh, age 3 at the time, was alone crying in our SUV. She had climbed into the back of my vehicle and watched as we tried to save her sister. I had to call my husband from a stranger’s phone to tell him what had happened. I knew in my head that Brooklyn was dead, but my heart still hoped that she would somehow survive. The ambulance arrived quickly and rushed her away, thankfully, before my husband could see her. By the time we arrived at the Emergency Room, life saving efforts had already been exhausted, she was quickly declared dead on arrival. When I was finally allowed to see her, a police officer and a nurse helped me walk down the hall, my legs were completely weak, my eyes were blurry, I felt like my head was spinning. I stood at the doorway of the room and broke down when I saw my little girl alone in a hospital bed, covered in a white sheet with only her pale little hands exposed. I held her hands and wept, begging God to take her soul to heaven.
I read the extensive police report, it stated that it was purely an accident. No one was at fault, the driver was neither distracted, nor under the influence. There is no one to blame, no one to punish, but still my daughter’s life was lost that day. It happened so quickly, I have replayed the scenario in my head every day. The only thing I can think that could have caused her to run away was her balloon. It was windy, maybe it slipped away from her, and she chased after it? I will never know.
Brooklyn Renee Cline, my little Brookie Cookie, I love you. I miss you. I’ve cried every single day for you. I’m so proud and honored that you’re my daughter. You are always a part of our family and I cannot wait to be reunited with you again in Heaven someday.