October 24, 2003 – June 28, 2005
June 28th, 2005, it started out like a normal usual day. My busy life with 5 children under the age of 6 years old. All the chaos, the voices, the memories. I remember the day vividly my two oldest were in summer programs and my husband and myself took our three other children to IKEA to get a few extra dressers. I can see that day just like it was yesterday. It was beautiful. I was watching my 2 ½ year old and his younger sister Tiffany 20 months old chase each other up and down the isles. It was funny because I usually do not allow my children to do that. Today was different, in so many ways. I can still see the smile on their faces. Their whole life ahead of them. Who would have ever thought that within 7 hours all of my dreams would be shattered? I learned early in my life to try to always live each day as if it would be my last. My mother was murdered when I was 10 years old. I learned many things from that experience that helped me to love deeper. I had no regrets with how I loved my children.
The day proceeded as usual, the naps, the trampoline, the water fights, the chasing her brothers down the hallway, all of it. I can see my little Tiffany when I close my eyes, just waking up from her nap. Her hair all a mess, her beautiful blue eyes. The excitement that she had to see me after her nap. Popsicles, she loved otter pops, I remember sitting with her at the kitchen table eating them. It was a beautiful day.
My husband was going to take all of the children to McDonalds so that I could do some studying for my online classes that I had started recently taking. It was 4:30 and a friend of ours called and asked if my husband would be able to help her with her air conditioning that was not working. I was reluctant to have her come over right then because I was trying to get my homework done, however, I was more concerned with her driving around in the Arizona heat in a black car, so I told her to come on over. My husband had to move out our 1999 Chevy Suburban out the garage in order to move her car in. He parked it on the street right outside of the garage. We were able to get her air conditioning working and she left. It was 4:50 p.m. and I said to my husband you better get the Suburban in the garage to cool it off so the kid’s seats are not hot before you get going. He agreed. Some where in the confusion while the kids and I went in the house to get their shoes on, our little 20-month old Tiffany walked outside anxious I am sure to help her daddy move the car in, or perhaps not understanding that he was not leaving, to give him one more kiss. That was it, it was over. Because of the height and size of our SUV and her small size he did not know she was there. I have nightmares of hearing him scream into the house CALL 911- CALL 911. I knew, I knew that she was gone. My husband is a trained EMT and we have always said that the only time we call 911 is if it is life threatening. As I was on the phone with 911 he came in and screamed that she was dead. DEAD? I thought how could this be? I had just been holding this little beautiful girl. WHY? Why is this happening to me again? Why two times in my life has my future been robbed of such beauty?
July 5th I had to bury my first girl. She was only a baby. She never had a chance against such a large vehicle.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not just sit and think of her. I wish that I was magic and that I could stop time, no that I could rollback time and make this all go away. If only there was something, something that I could do.
I have learned that not only was this tragedy preventable, it was completely avoidable. It was not as “”uncommon”” as I had thought. I have learned that there are 3 parents a week that have to experience what my husband and I have. The problem is that no one should have to experience this. Especially when we have the technology to prevent these tragedies. I have since learned that there is power within each and every member of Congress to make sure that no other parent or grandparent would ever have to experience this type of tragedy.
I cannot not help my little Tiffany; but I can help others. So can you. Get involved.
Tell everyone you know about the incidents of precious little children being run over by vehicles because they literally cannot be seen. Contact your legislators to tell them we need to make vehicles safer for children.
It takes a village…