I’m sitting here looking at my blog statistics and shaking my head in disbelief every time I click “refresh.” So many people have shared Andrew’s Story. People all over the world are reading it.
I am honored that so many people are taking time out of their busy lives to read it.
I am humbled that so many people thought my words were worth sharing.
While we were in the hospital with Andrew, my husband wanted to thank the people who had performed CPR. We had gotten their names from the hotel but didn’t know how to contact them. After a general internet search brought up nothing, Michael wrote a Facebook status saying that Andrew had been pulled from a pool that morning and that the anonymous strangers that helped would forever have our gratitude. He just wanted to send it out into the universe and hopefully those wonderful people would know the depths of our thanks.
The outpouring of love from our friends and family after his post was amazing. Comments, calls, messages, and texts came rolling in. It was so comforting. We felt less alone in our grief by being able to share it. I didn’t sleep very well that night and I re-read the comments whenever I felt overwhelmed.
After we got home on Sunday, we e-mailed the kids’ principle and teachers about what happened. We wanted them to be aware of the situation in case the kids needed to talk about it. We didn’t know how the incident would affect them and we wanted as many eyes on them as possible in case a counselor or therapist was needed. Thankfully, they are resilient kids and no intervention has been necessary.
We shared the full story with our friends we see on a regular basis. One friend brought us dinner on Monday night so that we wouldn’t have to cook. Another friend cried with me during our daughters’ tap practice. Another friend offered to watch Josephine, Eleanor and Dutch for an afternoon so we could have some alone time with Andrew. We set up a time the following Saturday and took Andrew swimming at the YMCA. Friends are such treasures.
As the days and weeks went on and we returned to a new version of normal, I felt an urge to write his story to share with our friends and family on Facebook who knew about the situation but not the details. I knew they were probably curious but too polite to ask what had happened that day.
I wrote Andrew’s Story over the course of a couple days, with my husband’s help on the specifics of what happened at the pool. It was difficult to write; it brought up the raw emotions of that weekend all over again. I felt compelled to write, though, so I muscled through. I tried to keep it to what happened to Andrew. If I had gotten into all the facets of the day and my emotions through it all, it would have been 5,000 words longer.
I finally clicked “Publish” on Friday afternoon and then linked to it on Facebook with this message: “I’ve been feeling the need to share the story of Andrew’s drowning incident. I hope that by sharing this, other tragedies will be prevented. Best wishes for a fun and SAFE summer to you all!”
My greatest hope when I published it was that maybe, just maybe, it would find it’s way to the people who performed CPR on Andrew.
Right away, a friend said she wanted to re-post. I was pleased because I want people to know how fast drowning can happen and how knowing CPR saves lives.
A few more people shared. Friends are so wonderful. I felt supported and comforted all over again. I went on with my evening and made dinner, then came back and checked the blog statistics.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when it said that over 600 people had read it. I was in tears and a little shaky. I thought perhaps half of my Facebook friends and maybe a few of their friends would read it. I was floored. By the end of the night, the number had tripled.
I was having trouble processing the number of people who must have shared the story on FB. It was no longer people I knew. I knew this was a significant event in our family’s history but I never imagined it would strike a chord in so many people who didn’t even know us.
Throughout the weekend, I kept going back to my blog post and re-reading it. I read it over and over again. I was trying to read it from other people’s perspective. What are they finding in reading this? What is so fascinating about it? What is compelling so many people to share Andrew’s story?
I still wasn’t sure. I did find one thing, though. Healing. Reading the bald facts of what went on that day over and over, pounding it into my head, is helping to heal my heart. Since I wasn’t there, it had felt a bit surreal. Reading it many times, distancing myself from it, is helping the event to become solid.
Becoming solid is helping with my acceptance phase of grieving.
Using the picture frame metaphor again, my heart now feels like glass in a picture frame that has been struck but the shatter points do not reach the edges. It’s as if the wound is healing, fusing the glass back together from the outside in.
The world did that. The world is healing my heart.
More and more people started commenting on the post. Tears rolled down my face and I’m pretty sure I went into an ugly cry when I read one from a woman named Sasha. Sasha is one of the people who performed CPR on Andrew!
So, even though I have a little bit of stage fright, as Glennon of Momastery says, I’m going to show up here and be brave. And hope my words prevent someone else’s tragedy. You never know what you’re preventing. Being aware of potential dangers is key. Being prepared to handle an emergency can be life saving.
I wish Andrew’s drowning incident hadn’t happened at all. But since it did (see? there’s that acceptance thing), others will be more aware. Others will be more prepared.
Thank you, world, for sharing Andrew’s story so that others will be safer.
Thank you, world, for healing my heart.
All my love and thanks,