January 26, 2011

Tragedy strikes too close to home

There was an awful accident at Elm Tree Elementary school today.  I walked up to the tree where I normally meet the kids at the end of the day and I saw an ambulance parked on the side of the school along with a police car.  The back car rider line was closed off as well.  From where I stood, I saw the principal, the school nurse, another female I didn't recognize (later I learned she was the middle school's nurse from next door), and paramedics.  Although I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach (it's not my kid, is it?), I felt pretty confident that everything was alright.  More parents gathered at the tree and everyone was asking questions.  The walkers usually come across the street in one big group, but today, only the kindergarteners and 1st graders made it out on time.  I quickly scanned the group, looking for Aydin first.  Whew...found him.  Then I looked for my friends' kids...there was Cody & Cory, Hannah, Gillian...what's the hold up with the older kids?  I became anxious while waiting on Kieran and her friends.  The 2nd-4th graders finally made it out and there was Kieran, Hailee, Anna Claire, and a bunch of others. 

Another mom decided to call a teacher's personal cell phone to find out what was going on.  The news we got was a 4th grade boy was hit in the head hard enough to lose consciousness.  So scary, but I still felt like everything would be okay.  When you live in Small Town, USA, you never think bad things can happen.

A few hours later, my cell phone began blowing up with phone calls and text messages.  That poor boy died.   He never regained consciousness.  His name was Jonathan Nelson and he was in Mrs. Crouch's 4th grade class.  We didn't personally know his family, although his older brother, Tyler, is Alisa's age and they went to Elm Tree, Spring Hill, and Lincoln Junior High together.

Kieran is so sensitive; I knew she would take it hard.  I was really scared to tell her but it was a talk we had to have.  I had been crying all afternoon so she knew something was wrong.  Ashar and I pulled her into our bedroom and told her what happened.  She was devastated.

We also had a talk with Aydin.  He's young enough that while he understood that death meant Jonathan wasn't coming back, he quickly moved on to the next subject.

June 2011 update: Jonathan's mom wrote an article about the tragedy in Peekaboo magazine.

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