It is with God’s guidance, first and foremost, and much intention to begin another tough year without Mazie with us to honor her through every possible opportunity.
A precious, dear friend shared with me years ago that parents who have lost children share one (of many) thing in common, we are desperate to continue finding a place for our love for them to go. As a family, Mazie will ALWAYS be a part of our daily lives. Naturally, we are constantly imagining what our routines or not so busy days would look like with her. We often talk about what her favorite movie, toy or activity would be; what foods she would like/dislike; how big she is; how long her soft, light brown hair is (I’ve memorized the texture and smell); how much she is talking; how fast she is and so much more. And then we wonder about all of the above in Heaven and in the presence of Jesus. Before bedtime, it’s the sweetest moment when we all tell her we love her and goodnight.
After such a heavy year of grieving and beginning to process our pain, we are actively honoring our beautiful Mazie girl in a big way. It wasn’t long after starting PTSD therapy, I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to acknowledge the trauma by openly sharing about the accident. Gosh, I honestly despise that word. It is still hard to talk about without tensing up and guilt surfacing. With that though, I clearly understood why I was feeling that nudge. Mazie deserves it. Other children deserve it.
Right before last summer, I leaned on the strength of God to reach out to news stations and local aquatics professionals to tell our story. We were beyond nervous. I still had a lot more PTSD therapy left to process the trauma but I knew we couldn’t let the summer go by without vocalizing the importance of water safety. I’m so glad Adam agreed, although it was terribly difficult for him to talk about it too.
If by openly discussing what happened (details are on the page – our story) through interviews, podcasts or every day conversations that it may lead to saving one child, then of course every vulnerable effort is more than worth it. Below is a link to a podcast for anyone interested in listening.
The statistics in Louisiana are beyond alarming. We are surrounded by water with countless retention ponds (many without a barrier), rivers, creeks, pools, bayous, you name it. Many, us included, could have never imagined how our lives would change overnight or that “this” would happen to us. We are safe, cautious, extremely protective parents. Just the day before, like every other day, I prayed for God to watch over our family and children. And we had already quoted pool covers and fencing options. We thought we had time since Mazie wasn’t walking yet.
What I learned in my very first grief counseling session is that ANYthing can happen to ANYone, even good and involved parents. NONE of us were ever created to be in control or fully aware to our surroundings 24/7. ONLY God can be. This is why the word “control” has become a trigger word for me. I am sharing all of this now to maybe inspire one parent or family member to understand this while also being proactive. Don’t delay to invest in any protective measure possible, especially if you have a swimming pool.
This is where Mazie’s Mission comes in and how YOU can help! Now that we are officially set up as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, our hope this year (and every year) is to raise even more awareness on water safety, ensure someone in our region is certified to teach ISR Self-Rescue Instruction and offer scholarships for swim lessons. We can’t do this by ourselves so we need friends to advocate this need to anyone you know and assist in fundraising initiatives. Did you know it costs roughly $10,000 for the instructor certification alone? That doesn’t include travel or renewal expenses either. But again, this investment is MORE than worth it to save young children’s lives.
We are seeking community partners to assist us with these goals. If you know of an individual or company who may be interested in getting involved, please let us know! Also, donations can now be made through this website too.
Do you know of a family who has suffered a drowning? We would be eager to connect with them so they can take part in this mission too. Families need a platform to stand on after suffering an unimaginable tragedy. It gives us PURPOSE and a meaningful outlet for our love to go.
Once again, our family is grateful to ALL of you who have been so supportive of us to this day. While it will never get easier, your prayers and thoughtfulness carry us through. THANK YOU! We hope you will consider honoring our Mazie girl and her special mission with us.
Our beautiful Mazie Leah - May 2020