Chance’s 5th Angelversary 

April 3, 2012 started off like a regular day for us. Brandon, Chance and I got up and got ready for school and work. But for some reason on that morning, she was really quiet. Normally she would be running around the apartment and not letting me comb her hair but on this morning, she was chillin. I asked her what was wrong and she said “Nothing…”She wanted to wear her favorite outfit. It was something I bought for her birthday. A purple peplum shirt with black and white stripped pants. And she had on her YELLOW flip flops that she insisted on wearing. I told her they didn’t match but as usual she did what she wanted Well, we dropped Brandon off at school and I was taking her to daycare. Normally, we would be singing and laughing but on this morning she was just looking out of the window. I call my Mom every morning and Chance would talk to her but again on this morning Chance didn’t want to talk. So I dropped her off and I went to work.

While I was at work, I was on edge all day. Literally. Everything anyone said or did ticked me off!! I didn’t know what was going on. Well that day for some reason I felt that I needed to make amends with someone. And I did. I hadn’t talked to this person in about a year and a half. So that made me feel like I was making progress. My friend Erica and I planned to eat dinner at her house after work so I went to pick the kids up. When I got there, as usual, her hair looked like I never did anything to it. Lol. She ran up to me and hugged me like she did everyday and Brandon moseyed on to the car. This time on the way home she was singing and dancing like her normal self.
When we got home it was around 5:15. So I made the last minute decision to stay home and cook dinner. While I was cooking she was playing with Brandon and they were watching Netflix off and on. When I was done we sat down and ate. And she was super greedy but this night she ate everything on her plate. I said, “Were you hungry Chance?” and she just looked up and smiled at me. Brandon was picking at his food and I knew that he would want something else later. So I went to my room and I decided to wash my sheets because she slept with me that night and she had an accident in the bed and I knew that she wouldn’t sleep on them again unless they were clean.
After I put the sheets in the washer I went to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom they went into Brandon’s room to watch TV. Well she was running in and out of my room. And I would say, “Chance get out of here” and she would laugh and run away. When she ran out the last time, I hid by my dresser knowing that she would come back in and I was right. She came back in and I said, “what are you doing Chance?” we were both laughing and she said, “I love you Mama’. I said, ” I love you too Chance”. I went back into the bathroom.
Three minutes later, Brandon runs into my room crying. I said, “What’s wrong Brandon?” He says, “The TV fell!!!” I’m thinking to myself, “Ok, why is he crying because the TV fell?” But I look in his face and I know something isn’t right. I run in there and I see something that will haunt me forever. I see my Chance underneath the dresser and she’s unconscious. I don’t know where my strength came from but I picked that dresser up and threw it and picked up my baby. I scream her name and she doesn’t respond to me. I run out of my apartment holding her screaming for help. The neighborhood kids come and they see me holding her and they start crying. I call 911. I’m still screaming and my neighbor Robin comes downstairs and calls my mom and tells her that she needs to get to Little Rock. The paramedics came and they couldn’t get her to respond. She starts vomiting because she’d just eaten. Still they couldn’t get her to respond. So they call Arkansas Children’s hospital and they airlift her. I couldn’t ride with her so Robin and her Fiance drive me to Little Rock. While on the road, my Aunt Carolyn calls me and tells me that everything will be fine and that nothing can get Chance down. Honestly, I didn’t believe her. Not for one minute. I’m crying and blaming myself the entire time. So when I get to the hospital, she hasn’t made it there. But my cousins have. I’m shaking and wondering what is going on. Then a Dr. comes in and tells me that, Chance has arrived but that it doesn’t look good. I jump up and I say, “What the hell do you mean it doesn’t look good? That’s my baby! What are you saying?” He says that her lung was collapsed and that she has severe head trauma. I told him that the dresser didn’t hit her head, that it was on her chest. He then asks what was on the dresser. I said, the TV was. Then I remember that the TV was on the other side of her when I got in the room. He said, “well the TV must’ve hit her…” My parents and brothers got there in record time and when they got there my Mom asked what was going on. I told her that they said it didn’t look good. She was in a daze and she like me, was saying, “what do mean?”…. By this time more of my family makes it and they give us a big conference room to accommodate everyone. About an hour later the Dr’s come in and tell us that it doesn’t look good and that the damage was too severe. I know that they were supposed to say that. They don’t give us any hope at all. We’re finally able to see her and when we do, oh my God, she looks nothing like herself. She’s swollen and still unconscious. I break down and cry. My mom is crying because this is not our baby. This is not the same baby that was singing and playing with me. I don’t stay in the room long because I couldn’t take seeing her like that. My Uncle Milton goes in the room and see’s her and he says, “She’ll be fine. She’ll be just fine…” I go into a room and I start saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” That’s all I can say. The doctors tell us that we need to make some decisions. My Daddy says that we’re going to let God heal her. So the Dr’s say that at Midnight they will run more tests and they’ll check and see if she has any activity in her brain. Well Midnight comes around and they say they did a test and they detected some activity. So at 6 am they would do a scan on her to see if she’s getting better. Well that time comes and passes and they can’t do it. She has a stroke overnight. They say she’s stabilized and that at 10 am they will test again. This is by far the longest day of my life. Well she doesn’t get better and so they come in and tell us that we need to start making decisions. They say that she will never be the same. So I made the hardest decision that I’m sure I’ll ever have to make. I made the decision to remove her from the life support. I went in her room and I held her for the last time. I sang “Love on Top” to her. I remember singing, ” Chance it’s you. You’re the one I love, you’re the one I need, you’re the only one I see. You’re the one that gives your all. You’re the one I’ll always call. When I need you, you make everything stop…You put my love on top…” While I’m holding her, she feels so heavy. And it seems like she grew overnight.
Everyone takes their turns holding her and at 4:44 pm on April 4, 2012, Sydney Chance Bowles, my baby girl, went to heaven. I’ve never experienced pain and heartache like that. I could not believe that I would be leaving the hospital without her. But I know that she’s better off but I’ll always wish that she was with me.
This year has been extremely hard. But I made it through. I never thought that I would. I didn’t think I would be able to live without her. And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I remember the good times because those are the only times we had. There were never bad days with Chance. She was a character. She’s the funniest child I’ve ever met. The prettiest little girl I’ll ever see.
I told this story to let you all know that life is not promised. I never realized how true that was until this happened. You won’t understand until something happens to you. It ticks me off when people know my story and they still act like what happened to us won’t happen to them. You’re not exempt. We weren’t.
God makes no mistakes and everything that we go through is for a purpose. Even when we don’t know the reasons. I think about the story of Joseph. He was sold by his brothers into slavery. He was accused of rape. He was put in prison. But through it all, it was for a reason. His brothers thought that they were hurting him but God. God allowed it all to happen and in the end Joseph was the one that helped his brothers. When they finally saw Joseph years after selling him, they were afraid. But Joseph told them, don’t be afraid. God allowed this to happen so I could help you all! He kept them from starving during the famine. His brothers meant it for bad but God knew that it was for their good.
Now I’m not comparing Chance to Joseph but since this has happened, she has saved lives. A lot of people never really thought about the dangers of falling furniture. But because God allowed it to happen to us, we’ve been able to open up the eyes of others. Now do I think it could’ve been done with her still being here, yes. But does God know best, yes! My baby doesn’t have to suffer. She doesn’t have to live in this crazy world. She’s able to sing and dance in Heaven. What more could I ask for? Do I miss her? Yes. But I know that she wouldn’t come back. I wouldn’t want her to. I always wanted her to be happy and now I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is….

Keisha

Open letter to perfect parents

I try sooooo hard to keep my mouth shut when people get on social media and become cyber bullies. I can almost promise you that those same “internet thugs” would never say those cruel things to my face. They feel protected behind their computers, smart phones and tablets. It’s such a sad thing…

So here’s a quick overview: kid goes on vacation with his parents and sister. Family goes outside of the resort to watch a movie. Kid goes to shallow edge of water. Alligator pops out and snatches the kid. Kids father unsuccessfully tries to get his kid from the animal. Animal drags kid into water. Kid is regretfully found the next day. 

The next day. “they should have been watching their kid!!” “The parents are the worst because they shouldn’t have been in the water” or my favorite “my child would have never gotten in that water” *sigh*

Now I’m pissed. People are so cruel. People are so heartless. People have no compassion. People are so mean and nasty. People are so judgmental. People are so “perfect”. Right!!
For the past four years I’ve blamed myself for Chance’s accident. Knowing that I couldn’t watch her 24 hours a day. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to keep life from happening. Knowing that I would never intentionally let my child get hurt. But I was shamed by the media. I was called negligent. Lazy. I was told that it was my fault that I didn’t watch her better. So, I wasn’t allowed to use the restroom, cook dinner, do laundry, etc.  wow…

Let me tell you what’s happens when your child is just that-a child. They behave as children. Let me tell you what happens when your child suddenly has an accident.

First, you see your child in a position you never thought you would. In my case, she was pinned under a dresser. You know what you think? Please be ok!! Please wake up!! I’m so sorry!! Please baby!! I’m so sorry. Then you call 911 and you have to explain what happened while cradling your child and trying to get a response from them. Next, the ambulance comes and they try just as hard to get a response out of your child. When they realize that they can’t, the call Life Medics and they put your child into a helicopter while you’re watching from the window. Then you arrive at the hospital and police are there waiting for you to make a statement. At this point, they’re trying to make sure that you didn’t do this on purpose. Your situation makes the local news and now people are questioning your parenting. I mean, you can’t do anything if your child is not within reach. Lastly, doctors tell you that there’s nothing they can do so you have to make the decision to remove your child from life support. You go home without your child. It’s the hardest thing to ever go through. 

This family from Nebraska will leave Florida a family of three instead of the family of four they came as. This mother has to pack her sons clothes knowing that he’ll never put them on again. She will sniff and smell his clothes praying that his scent is still in them. Now the parents have to go a funeral home, pick a casket. Find an outfit for their son. Make funeral arrangements all while being judged by people that don’t know the story. People that could have been in their shoes. 

How many times has your child fallen out of bed when you were both asleep? She could have broken her neck. Hasn’t your child fallen off of a bike? He could have hit his head and suffered severe brain trauma. Haven’t you told your teenager to not text and drive? But even though you’ve told them not to do something, they hit a parked car instead of driving into traffic killing themselves and other people. You’re such a bad parent though. 

You see, things happen that we can’t control. But let’s try to be understanding and compassionate instead of cruel and judgmental. Because let’s face it, one day it could be you. And you’d want the public to get your side of the story before chasing you into seclusion. 

As grieving parents, we have more than enough guilt to live with. We ask millions of “what ifs”. Don’t add to our already difficult struggle. Let’s not compare tragedies. Let’s love and pray for one another. Give a grieving parent a hug and a kind word. Or spew those words of hate into our faces instead of behind your computer screen. 

After the hype about our stories go down, once you’ve moved on to the next tragedy; we’re still grieving. Now we have to factor in your judgments. Your harsh words. Your condemnation. While you’re sleeping peacefully and saying how terrible of a parent we are, we’re still dealing with the loss of our children. 

Again, you could be in our shoes one day…how would you want to be treated? 

I’m praying for the Graves family. I hope you are too…

About last night…

So last night during the Super Bowl, the company Nationwide Insurance, aired a commercial about a little boy. He may have been 5 or 6, I’m not sure. Anyway, during the commercial the kid says, this is the link
Make Safe Happen – Nationwide 2015 Super Bowl Commercial: http://youtu.be/dKUy-tfrIHY

“I’ll never learn to ride a bike…”
“Or get cooties…”
“I’ll never learn to fly…”
“Or travel the world with my best friend…”
“And I won’t ever get married…”
“I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident…”

What’s happening is, Nationwide insurance has added Home Safety to their services offered. How they’re going to keep your homes safe? I have no idea. However, they want you to “Make Safe Happen”. So many children die from preventable accidents in their homes everyday. But if you’re wrapped up in the love of God, you’ll know that He allows things to happen no matter how many precautions you try to take.

Most people didn’t know that I was a part of this. In September in Washington, DC, me and a group of other parents that have lost our children or have children that have been injured due to accidents in the home, individually met with a marketing representative and they showed us a few possible commercials that they would like to air. When it came to this story, I cried so hard that I had to catch my breath. We had to take a break so I could compose myself. Imagine being in a room of strangers and you break down. It’s very uncomfortable. They asked, “Keisha, why did these words cause this reaction?” I told them, “This is reality for me. Chance will never get to do any of those things and that hurts me.” They asked if I thought this would get the attention of parents? I said, “Definitely”…

I had no idea that so many people would be so upset about this. But it served it’s purpose. You’re talking about it. And if you never thought about the possibility of your child being injured by drowning in a bathtub, or your child getting into the cabinets and drinking bleach or ingesting washing powder or do you think that a TV can’t fall on your child when you turn your head? Well if you didn’t think about it before, I’m sure you’re thinking now.

I don’t like the thought of children dying but they do. We can’t control it but we can definitely take the necessary measures to make sure that we’re doing OUR part.

Obviously, it’s not in good taste to show the MILLIONS of people that watched the Super Bowl that hey, while you’re watching this game, your child that you’re supposed to have your eyes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week could be exploring your house and since you told them to never touch the Clorox, while you’re cheering for the Patriots, they’re being curious kids and they’re wondering what’s so wrong with the bleach. I mean, you did tell them to never touch it right? Or your child that’s in their room watching a movie on TV and they can’t change the channel. Well you’re so engrossed in the game and you shoo them away so they have to change the channel themselves. So they pull out dresser drawers to make stares to climb to reach the TV and their weight pulls the dresser and TV on them.

Hmmmmm….Nationwide is wrong though?

I was on Social Media last night and I can’t describe the feelings that I felt. People felt that it was distasteful. That it was shown at the wrong time. It was depressing. You didn’t want to see a dead kid. But guess what? Children die. I’m a grieving mother that lost my 2 year old daughter to a TV and dresser falling on her. I still feel that guilt. The shame. I think of dead children daily. These are children of parents that wish the world would talk about their kids. But now, the world is talking and now you’re upset.

There is never a right time to talk about children dying. Never. I don’t care how you try to paint the picture, it’s not going to come out the way you want. Because, hey, it’s a dead child.

But I’m not taking away from the families that feel hurt and anger behind this. I’m just asking for you to understand. Not all children die from accidents in the home. And if yours didn’t, the commercial wasn’t for you. If your child was murdered, kidnapped, had SIDs, Cancer or any other kind of freak accident—from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. But because MY daughter Chance left this earth in a way I NEVER would have dreamed of, I want the world to know. If that commercial only made ONE family buy an anchor or strap for the TV’s, I’m completely happy.

That’s what the commercial was trying to do. Make you aware! They weren’t trying to open wounds. They weren’t trying to make you feel guilty. They wanted to give a voice to those of us who lost our children in our homes. The place we thought our children were safe in. That’s all.

Honestly, anything can trigger a grieving mother. I was looking a picture of Chance’s hands a couple of weeks ago and said, ” I will never be able to hold her hand again…” this is my reality. But because I have God as my anchor, I’m able to see the good in it. I’m able to see that HE wasn’t trying to hurt me. He’s my foundation. And if only ONE child was saved, that’s enough.

So Nationwide Insurance, thank you for making people aware. I hate the backlash that you’re receiving. Thank you for unknowingly giving the world another day, another CHANCE to get their homes safe. Together we can all “Make Safe Happen…”

Go to http://www.makesafehappen.com to check out safety tips based on your childs age and locations. It’s a really great thing….

Be blessed.

Keisha