Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not just a memory

Over the last five years we have lived in four different states and seven different homes (moving twice to the same state). I was thinking of all the interesting and wonderful people I've been lucky enough to spend some time with and get to know if even for a short time. There have also been a few mishaps and strange occurrences. We lived very briefly in Tulsa Oklahoma, for many reasons I won't go into, it made sense for us as a family to spend some time there. We bought a home in a pretty neighborhood with great schools. After a month I noticed that there was often a news van parked down the street. I thought the van was driven by someone who lived in the neighborhood, but soon realized that a person was always sitting in the front seat. We moved in to our home at the beginning of October and on Halloween night we were invited by some neighbors to go trick-or-treating. The kids were having a blast, and as we went through the neighborhood, I started walking up to the house down the street near where the van was parked. My neighbor grabbed my arm and said "I don't think you should take the children there." I asked why and she said I don't think now is the best time to tell you this...she leaned in and whispered, "That's the home of the girl whose baby was eaten by her dog." I could not believe what I heard and I think my face must have reflected it, she pulled me on. "I will tell you about it later." I was holding my own baby and my two older sons were running ahead. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. After we came home for the night, I sat down in front of the computer and googled the exact words my neighbor said... then read about an awful tragedy that should never have happened to anyone. A young unwed mother, I think she was sixteen, had fallen asleep in her room, the grandmother was asleep in another room..and the two month old baby was left in a bouncer in the kitchen, a puppy they had neglected feeding, so awful.. ate the baby. When they woke it was already too late. After I read about what happened, I also learned that the girl was awaiting a verdict on either neglect or manslaughter, thus the news truck waiting all the time. I mean it's such a horror story, one for the mother, who may have been just a tired, new mother who hadn't slept much, or maybe she was on drugs (the newspapers reported this) and for the family and friends of this girl.  In the end, she was still a mother who lost a child, and she was being shunned by everyone in the neighborhood. The house looked vacant, the shutters closed, one hanging off the window..in need of repair, the grass always high, no one coming or going. Just such a sad sad place. Sometimes driving by her house I felt like stopping and asking if she needed anyone to talk with, I never did. Instead I just said a prayer for her some nights as I held my little ones close.