Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett dies. A little girl does, too.

Lots of sadness from all corners of the world these days. Folks with a simple desire to have their voices heard continue to die in Iran. Everyday folks on their way home from work were suddenly taken from us in a violent commuter train accident. And from the world of entertainment, we lost two giants as well:
  • Ed McMahon. He died earlier this week after suffering from multiple ailments. His passing marks the end of an era where most of us shared similar pop culture experiences. In today's world,
  • Farrah Fawcett. Her iconic poster in the late 70s virtually defined the ideals of American beauty. She passed away at 62 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
And for all the headlines these garner, there's another loss that I just can't seem to shake: that of a 4-year-old girl found floating face down yesterday in a backyard pool just east of here. She was airlifted to a London hospital and clung to life before passing away early this morning.

There is no way to attach tangible value to a life, to score the experience or otherwise rate the journey of one against the journey of another. We all define success in different terms, and a brief life well lived is often seen through a different lens than a miserable one that stretched on for an apparent eternity.

Yet as saddened as I am at the passing of well known entertainers who contributed in a high profile way to the cultural mosaic of their respective eras, it is the loss of a child that gnaws at me. She never had the chance to do so many of the things these legends were privileged to experience. She fell victim to a summertime activity that takes the lives of hundreds of Canadians every year - because after years of warnings we still don't seem to internalize the fundamentals of water safety.

In that respect:
Water safety = drinking and driving = safe sex = ...

Whoever you are, little one, I hope your loss spurs at least one other person, caregiver, parent, to fill in the gaps in supervision and safety that tragically allowed you to slip away. Then, perhaps, your life won't forever be viewed through a veil of tears.

Your turn: Why life is precious. Please discuss.

12 comments:

Rene said...

Living in Southern California where pools are almost de rigueur, we hear about children dying in pools way too often. And its preventable. It breaks my heart to see people so careless with their children. They seem to think it will happen to someone else. And don't get me started on children riding bikes and skateboards without helmets....

{ jamie's cottage } said...

Some friends of ours lost their youngest child the same way almost one year ago. It is a tragedy that happens way too often.

Whenever we do a nilmdts session, I always wonder if it's sadder to lose someone you've known and loved, or to grieve the potential these little ones had & all the things they might have done...

And sometimes when I see a big deal made of a death of a celeb or such in the news, I wonder why so many people care in this society that often views life as disposable (as evidenced by the estimated 1.3 abortions performed annually in the United States, for instance).

Wow, I usually steer clear of comments like this, but this all just spilled out!

Thom said...

Rest in peace my little friend. Know my thoughts are with you. Farrah and Ed as well. Life is so tragic sometimes and good people are taken away at a far to young age. Responsibility is key here. I hope this spurs all of us to take just a few extra seconds to watch our young ones at all times. They are so precious

Breeze said...

I"m not a fearful person however I refuse to have a pool...somehow I don't want that responsibility.

I had a friend who lost her daughter(also four) many many years ago..it changed her forever...the little girl wandered off, climbed a neighbour's fence and drowned.

I'm sad for the little girl, we're in the same area Carmi..heard it on the news here too..sad sad day.

Breeze

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

Although it hurt my heart to read Farrah passed I truly hurt for the loss of this beautiful child. A child's death seems so much harder.

kenju said...

Carmi, you're such a sweet soul. I agree with you. The loss of a young child is worse, since they are just starting out on their lives.

Beverly said...

Sad indeed. I echo the comments of those above, especially "Jamie's cottage."

NJ said...

I just heard on the radio that drowning is the 2nd largest cause of death in children next to automobile crashes. As someone else said it's quite a responsibility to have a pool.

Hilary said...

It's heart-wrenching.

Twenty years ago, I watched what was a repeat (from the previous season) episode of W5 about child drownings. I watched as several incidents unfolded - caught on camera at different times. One in particular was a little boy who police eventually found in his apartment building's murky, brown, uncared for water fountain. The kind that are long and rectangular and about 3 feet deep.

I remember the look on the police officer's face when he blurted out "oh shit" as he realized that his pole had made contact with the child's body underwater. The boy survived but remained all but brain dead.

Their statistics indicated that the number one target of child drownings (at that time) in Canada by far were two year old boys. I remember the sick feeling in my gut, knowing that my own two year old son lay sleeping in his bed while I watched. It haunted me for a very long time.

I swore to him that I would never be one of those parents who carelessly left him in the tub while the phone rang. Or on a change table to grab a diaper from across the room. Nor would I leave doors to dangerous substances unlocked. If I was going to make a mistake, it wasn't going to be one of those I kept hearing about in the news. Ever.

We owe our kids that kind of diligence for their safety. This is just so sad.

Linda said...

swimming pool deaths always scare me. I am ever-vigilant with my kids at the pool...and those of my friends, when my kids are playing with them. I'm "pool nazi mom", haranguing the older kids to behave, to not throw the balls so hard, to go play in the deeper end so the little kids can enjoy the shallow end. I make the big guys apologize to the little guys when they get hurt too.

But for the life of me, I don't have the intestinal fortitude to go up to a full-grown adult, standing in the pool, at the edge, with his cooler and his beer, drinking all day long. And the sad part is that he'll likely be the one face down one night....

Mojo said...

I don't think that the veil of tears and guilt will ever be lifted from that young girl's death. Not for those who looked away for just that too-brief moment when she got away. If another child is saved because of it, or a dozen or a hundred for those close to her, there will always be the second guessing, the grief, the guilt and the tears. But if another child or children are saved, perhaps the sting will be closer to bearable.

And it's not outside the realm of possibility that there will be a child or children spared in the wake of this girl's untimely death. Losing a child seems to inspire people to great things. Entire communities rally around the ones taken far too soon. Perhaps it will be so in this case as well.

For her family, they will never get over this tragedy. But I hope they'll eventually make peace with it.

Godspeed little one.

Michael Manning said...

The loss of any child I covered while in the news business was agonizing. There are no words for it, Carmi. You're so right. How I ache for this child and her family and with sincere sympathy.