So, if this is a dream can someone pinch me? So many things have happened since October 18th, the day that a very special story ran on The Creative Mama Website about our daughter Brooke. This article was written by Michele Anderson, owner of Pinkle Toes Photography of Austin, TX. “Mended Wings” chronicles the feelings that a mother goes through during the most horrific day of her life along with the powerful recollection of the healing process. Michele published my daughter Brooke’s story because she felt the words were poweful and impactful and may convince people of the need to secure their furniture to the wall.
At age 3, Brooke nearly lost her life when she tried to climb a dresser and it fell on top of her. This post could have a very different tone, but it would still have the same message: WAKE UP! Go through your house and secure any furniture to the wall that could tip over. Every 2 weeks a child dies!! That’s right, every 2 weeks a child dies due to household accidents involving un-secured furniture. Now, our story has a happy ending…we have our beautiful daughter Brooke to hold and love. Our little Princess is here – alive and safe. There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank God for letting my angel stay here with us.
I can show you Brooke’s photos, and I can tell you the risks of not securing your furniture to the wall….but, I can’t make you do it. I can tell you about all the sweet angels that have lost their lives and I know it will bring tears to your eyes, but I still can’t make you take the precaution. That’s very frustrating to me. Seriously, if I had all the money in the world I would buy all the straps I could and pass them out to anyone with a child or anyone that might have a child in their home. The straps are inexpensive, but they are rather hard to find. You can find them online and place an order which you will receive within the week, but right now they just are not available at the stores. I’ve checked…I wanted to be able to show all of you what you needed to buy and how much they costs. Guess what? Furniture straps are not at any of our local stores like Target, Walmart, Home Depot or EVEN Babies R’Us. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Plenty of cabinet locks, drawer locks, oven locks and refrigerator locks. Where are the freakin’ furniture straps?
I’ve gotten a little off topic, but my reason for telling Brooke’s story is because I have an important mission. I DON’T WANT ANY OTHER FAMILY TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT WE DID. I don’t want them to ride in the ambulance, see the doctors cut their child’s clothes off, be told they have a window of 72 hours to find out if their child will make it – to listen for each beep and frantically strain to hear their child take a breath. Does that sound like something you want to go through?? Keep in mind many families don’t get that window because their child dies instantly. That is why I urge you to order online – do what you have to do – but, secure your furniture to the wall so that your children are safe.
We would find out that Brooke had fractured her skull in 3 spots, had air in her brain, broken orbital bones and a broken bone in her ear. She would need to have a craniotomy which is an ear to ear incision with removal of the top of the skull. Once the neurosurgeon repaired the dura (the membrane around her brain that was torn) and and a plastic surgeon repaired the orbital bones, then the skull would be put back into place and attached with dissovable plates. Sounds scary, right? Without this surgery she could die from infection of the cerebral fluid, have very serious complications with her vision or have facial deformity. We had no choice. I think what truthfully causes me many sleepless night is the fact that her accident could have been avoided had we taken the very simple precaution of securing our furniture to the wall. That simple action would have prevented this entire situation – it’s that simple.
I really feel that Brooke’s accident happened for a reason. At first, I kept asking God WHY? What did we do. But, I don’t think it’s what we did. I really think it happened because of what we are supposed to do. There are others that are pursuing approval of a Government Law to actually require companies that produce any piece of furniture that poses the risk of tipping to have a WARNING label on it. Maybe that would make us think we need to follow through and take the step of attaching it to the wall. We all know we should do this, but do we? At least if the Government did pass this law then maybe as consumers we would be more apt to take precaution. I am just starting, but I am on a mission. I can’t let Brooke’s accident just be forgotten. I know that her hair has grown back, and she is a healthy and happy five year old. I could just go on like normal, but I just can’t. I need the people like us who think it won’t happen to them to know that it could. I need the people that just don’t know that they should take action, to take action. I need to raise awareness about this important precaution that we can take to save our children’s lives.
The other amazing thing that happened after Michele’s article went live article was that a business was started. Brooke and I just recently started making jewelry together when my mother (aka Grammy) gave me a tub of beads she had bought with the dream of making jewelry to sell herself. Well, that never happened and she just kept buying beads so she passed them on to me. She said, “Take this tub of beads and make something with it. Maybe you can sell necklaces and make some grocery money.” This would be the start to something exciting and new. Something that Brooke and I both enjoyed doing together. And now, looking back, I realize an important part of mending my own wings!
Let’s just say that Brooke’s accident stalled me professionally. I did graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Journalism degree, but then life just happened. I worked at Dun & Bradstreet as a Customer Service Manager for eight years until I was laid off from my job when I was six months pregnant with Brooke. Like all mommies out there, I wanted to be with my baby. I wanted to be at home with her. At the time, my husband’s salary could support us – just barely- but with a little help from family every so often we were rockin’ along just fine. After Brooke’s accident and probably because our family’s medical history (that’s another post in itself), my husband lost his job. He is now working 60+ hours a week, but he took a cut in pay (our economy today is really hurting us all). I had been working at my daughter’s preschool to help contribute because that was really the only thing that would work for me. You see, after her accident I had trouble letting Brooke out of my sight. She became my little shadow…I’m serious, I was her protector. I kept her safe. The doctors said in the beginning that it was imperative for her to NOT hit her head….well, I became her helmet. So, once she was recovered enough to return to preschool, I had trouble because she had become such an extension of me. It’s very hard to explain, but when you almost lose something so important and you get that second chance….you dive blindly into making it even better than before. You give it your all and you treasure each and every moment. So, being able to teach at her preschool was not only a perfect fit, but it allowed me to be able to know that she was safe. I could let her out of my site and know I was right there if she ever needed me. I am working on that. Working on realizing that I have to move forward and accomplish my own dreams. I am a writer by nature, but yet I have not followed that dream. Everything is falling amazingly into place. The opportunity to take something so horrific and turn it into something so positive is here. I am going to take this opportunity and run with it. I am not a jeweler by any means and in fact, right now all I have made are necklaces. But, I am exploring and excited about my creations to come. I hope and pray that through our jewelry we can touch lives – we can send an important message AND create a memory.
To all of those that have been supporting our mission, thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Right now, financially my family is struggling and we are facing possible foreclosure…the sale of these necklaces could not be any more of a blessing. I hope that through the sale of these precious necklaces that I can catch our mortgage up. So, I have hope. I am gonna pray, and I am going to work really hard. I am going on a wing and a prayer, letting God lead the way. I hope that through Brooke’s Angels Wings we will SAVE LIVES!! I hope that each of you reading this post will take the precaution to secure your furniture to the wall and spread this message for me. This message is spreading worldwide (I know for a fact it’s reached Australia, Germany, Brazil and Italy). How amazing is that??? Brooke’s story even made it on KVUE news. Check out the clip here.
Finally, I want to say a special thank you to Michele. You have given me a platform to spread my message from and for that I am eternally grateful. You have allowed Brooke’s story to be told, and you have helped give my family an amazing opportunity. Oh yeah, please check out Michele’s blog! It’s full of creativity, wit, confidence and superb photos by an amazing photographer and writer. Somehow despite her busy schedule she delivers constant entertainment to her blog stalkers. Michele, it has been an honor to work with you, and I appreciate everything you have done for me. Your support has been huge in helping Brooke’s Angel Wings take flight!