When I called the daycare, the Director informed me that I certainly did know "N" because he and his father walk in the exact same time I did every day. At that moment, my heart stopped.
I am one of three parents who show up at 6:30AM to drop off my kids. In addition to me, there is a woman who drops off her two toddlers and a father who drops off his toddler. For over a year, the father and I have said good morning to each other, commented on how much our kids have each grown. I told him it was a phase a couple of months ago when "N" was getting belligerent when he would drop him off. I saw this little boy go from being a baby brought into the facility in his car carrier, to being a 16 month old who was a wobbly walker.
My heart stopped for another reason. Once I was told it was "N" who had died, I remembered that last Tuesday morning, I had been a couple of minutes late in dropping off the girls. "N's" father was walking out as I was getting Genna out of our car. We exchanged nods and I went inside. The classes in this facility do not have walls. They are divided by bookshelves that come up to one's hip. I was on one side of a bookshelf, getting the girls' breakfasts ready. One of the teachers, "N" and one of the other toddlers was on the other side. The teacher and I were chatting about who knows what, when she suddenly said, "N, you are going to FALL!" She and I both froze as he fell. Hard. He hit the bookshelf with the back of his head. It made a strange thumping noise. Neither of us moved. I didn't move because, well, kids fall. I trained myself to not scream out when the girls fell as toddlers, because I didn't want to scare them or encourage them to cry. We waited a split second, but he didn't cry. He didn't make a sound. He just looked a little stunned. I looked at the teacher and said, "Now THAT is one tough kid." She said, "I know! It's amazing." I then turned around, kissed my kids good-bye and left.
After remembering all of this, I asked if "the fall" had anything to do with "N's" death. I was told, "I can't tell you." To me, that tells me that it did. I couldn't sleep Monday night because I had convinced myself that I had been a foot away from him and didn't do anything when he fell. I spoke to the director again yesterday and told her that I needed to make sure that the fall didn't have anything to do with his death. Guess what she told me?
"There was no fall."
"Oh yes there was," I said. " I was there when it happened."
She then went on to say that she couldn't tell me what happened but, "there were a lot of different factors involved in what happened," and that she was sure that "the girls probably saw the ambulance come on Tuesday morning," and that "it was all really complicated."
I am beside myself. On the one hand, my heart is completely broken for these parents who have lost their only child. I cannot even imagine the utter torture they are going through.I pray I never have to experience that. However, I am very suspicious of the fact that the daycare refuses to disclose the details of his death. I know that if he had died from a contagious disease, the health department would require that parents be notified. I would think that any time a child is taken away by ambulance from a daycare and later dies, it has to be disclosed. What if he had gotten into something poisonous? What if he choked on something?
I keep thinking about the fact that the teacher who witnessed the fall hasn't been in school since that day. Is the school trying to cover up the fall? Is the teacher REALLY in Belize this week and doesn't even know that "N" died the way they are saying? I don't think that any negligence occurred when the fall happened. However, if the fall was the cause of his "illness" I don't know what happened after the fall, or how long before an ambulance was called. What happens if the school gets sued? Only two of us saw the fall.
I know that I wouldn't be reacting this way if I didn't know who he was or saw what I saw last Tuesday. I would be devastated for the family, and I would still want to know the cause of death, but I don't think I would be this obsessed with it. If I could be sure that the fall had nothing to do with his death I would be able to let it rest. Eventually.
What do you think? Do parents really have the right to know? If the daycare is going to deny that his death had anything to do with the fall, do I drop it? Do I contact the parents? Do I wait to see if the school gets sued?