2004 – August 22, 2010
Sunday August 22, 2010 became the worst day of our lives. We experienced the greatest nightmare that a parent has. Our precious earth angel went to be a heavenly angel.
That day started out as a regular Sunday. We had our usual battles. Find your shoes, comb your hair, tuck in your shirts, yes, you have to wear something nice…
After church service we were gathering our three children to head home. Sydney, our 6 year old daughter, had not finished her craft in Sunday School. She asked if she could bring it home to complete. Of course, I said yes.
Once home we had lunch and went about our day. Sydney asked if she could go next door and play with her best friend. This was a very common occurrence. Either her friend was at our house or Sydney was at their house. Sydney’s friend’s mother and I had an understanding that we would “share” responsibilities watching the girls and neither would take advantage of the situation.
Logan, our oldest who was 12 at the time, went to run errands with me. After we left the first store, I called home. I asked Mike to have Mason, our middle child who was 10 at the time, go next door and tell Sydney to come home. I felt it was “our turn.” Mike called back, “Sydney is not next door.” I gave him a list of approved homes that she was allowed to play and asked him to call those friends.
You see, we lived in a neighborhood like the ones we grew up in. Kids rode bikes… you could stand on your front porch and yell for the kids to come home for dinner because they played the sport of the season outside…. girls loved to write on the sidewalk with chalk… And you never knew how many kids would end up coming home for dinner. It was a great neighborhood!!!!
Mike called back again and said she was not at any of those homes. I asked him to get in the car and ride around the neighborhood to look for her. Logan and I were at Wal-mart by this time. I left Wal-mart and headed home. As Mike was getting into the car, he found her in a fetal position in the back passenger floor board.
We were about half way home and I received a call from an unrecognized number and could not understand a word that came from the other end. I called the number back. I identified myself and asked if someone needed me. It was the cell phone of a family friend and they said, “yes, Mason called.” Mason got on the phone and I could only make out a hand full of his hysterically said words, “we found Sydney and she is very blue.” I told him to call 911. He said they already had and they were on the way.
When I arrived, a sheriff’s car and an ambulance were in front of our house.
As I ran inside, our neighbor from across the street stopped and said, “you need to know that she is very, very blue.” I continued my race into our home. I found Mike sitting on the stairs. Then I turned the corner and saw the police and paramedics working on her. Mike was hold his knees and saying “it’s too late.. it’s just too late.” I screamed at the paramedics, “please don’t stop, PLEASE don’t stop.”
After what seemed to be forever in some way but seconds in others, the lead EMT told us they were taking her to the hospital. We told them we were right behind them. The head EMT came back into the house before we could leave and said she was so very sorry but they had done all they could do.
We asked to see her before they left. We sat in the ambulance and Mike and I each held a hand of Sydney’s and one of each others.
It was a time that I cannot describe. Such, such sorrow!!!!! I had always heard the term, “died of a broken heart,” but I thought it was just a saying. I now know that is it an actual physical pain and I left like dying.
After a time period, I told Mike that we had two other children that needed us now more than ever and we needed to get out of the ambulance and take care of them.
We will never know the reason this happened. But as a mother knows her child, I feel I know what happened. When we returned home from church, I gathered all of the items from Mike’s car and took them into the house. When her friend was not home to play, Sydney stopped at the car on the way into our home to get her unfinished Sunday School craft. Sydney wanted to finish her craft. Who would ever have imagined that Sydney would take the craft to heaven herself.
Written by Jenny Stanley (Sydney’s Mother)