We almost lost our daughter last week.
This is what keeps going through my head as I hold her little, warm body close. Grateful, so grateful for her continuing presence. For the miracle that was. Today and yesterday almost weren’t. I am emotionally and physically shaken to my core. As are the whole family. We are now all too aware of the invisible line between normality and tragedy. I am deeply awake to my mother self once more, to the primal biology of the fact that my children are now and always will be, flesh of my flesh. A fact that can be dulled by the daily drudgery of mothering, the complacency regarding the blessings that my children are to me, to us all.
Last Thursday our youngest, a dainty two and a half year old ringletted rascal of a girl fell out of her upstairs bedroom window onto the concrete path below. I got the call at work from a dear friend who was having coffee at our house with my husband. “She’s bleeding out of her mouth and nose, but she’s crying.I’ll come and get you.”
I put down the phone and started to run home, hands held in prayer, praying, praying.
The path had a pool of blood. And there in the kitchen, my baby, so small and battered and bloody in her daddy’s arms. Crying for me.
I held her. And held her. At home. In the emergency room. all night in the narrow hospital bed. The next day and night. I held her and breathed my prayers. Knowing how close we came to never being able to hold her again. Holding another mothers story in my heart of a daughter who fell from a tree and didn’t make it. Showing her little videos of her and her siblings playing on the I phone knowing that they might have been our last memory. I held her as she slept and slept, knowing that the child who emerged from this tragedy might not be the same one as before. My family have been through the trauma of severe brain injury with my cousin only two years ago. And she was so much smaller. Falling onto concrete. Without a helmet.
They did test after test. Woke her every hour. And beyond possibility there is no sign of internal injury anywhere. No brain damage. No broken bones. No teeth gone. Just a huge black eye and chin. A swollen face. A large infected cut in her mouth and round her teeth. Nowhere that will visibly scar. And no emotional trauma for her.
I feel sick each time we go down our road. Each cookie cutter house with the same two upstairs windows. The same concrete path. And I know, though it sounds too corny to be true, that the only way she survived that fall is that she was cushioned by angels wings. And we have been surrounded by them too in the form of friends and family, in our days of recovery since, as we help heal her body and our parent souls, from the nightmare of almost.