When Julian was born we could not have been happier. Our family was now complete. We now had two perfectly exquisite children. A daughter and now this wonderful bundle of joy called Julian. My husband was the youngest of three, with two older sisters. He also had another daughter, from a previous marriage. The day I gave him a son I will never forget the joy in his eyes and the feeling of love that ran through both of us for the gift we had received.
We moved to Los Angeles in late October, 1994. We hated leaving our families, but we went home to visit on every holiday. The children loved our long rides up I-5 and all the stops we would make and all the games we would play.
Both children adjusted well to Los Angeles, but particularly Julian, who was only two years old and was beginning what would form who he was to become.
He loved school and was always eager to wake up every day. Almost as if he thought he had missed something while he was asleep.
I was always extremely active in Julian's education, he required a lot of attention and his needs were increasing the older he got. After much investigation into just the right environment for him I finally struck gold. I found the place for him, somewhere he would shine and be all that he could be.
Julian began attending his new school in January, 1998. He had an absolutely wonderful new teacher, whom he adored and who truly adored him. For the first time Julian also had a best friend. A little boy his age who returned his friendship. The boys talked for months about going to one another's house and having a day of fun. The boy's mother and I had discussed getting the kids together a few times, but never really acted on it.
On May 29th my son's teacher asked for permission to give out our telephone number to Julian's friend's mother. I excitedly said yes and she and I made plans for the next day. Our family had just begun house hunting because the children wanted so much to have a backyard. We looked at one house and Julian was in heaven, he explored the house with wonder in his eyes, but only once; the rest of the time was spent in the back yard. I had to remind Julian of the play day he had coming and that he should behave himself if he wanted to be able to go.
On the morning of May 30th, my son woke up about 7:00 a.m. and his first words were "Mommy, I was a very good boy, can I go on my play day." With as much excitement as he had I said "Yes".
My husband set off on his morning errands and told Julian he would be back soon and take him for his play day. About 10:30 a.m., my husband called to say he was on his way and while we were talking, somehow the car went dead. I realized at that point there probably would be no play day for Julian. I called his friend's parents to say he would not be able to come. The father informed me that his wife was out running errands and he would call me back. Five minutes later the mother called from her cell phone. She was just around the corner from our house. She arrived and picked Julian up and told me not to worry about anything, he would be fine and she would be happy to bring him home. I was overjoyed for him as he ran to her car, as I had never seen him so happy. This was at 10:45 a.m.
I then relaxed a bit and started spending time with my daughter. We played games and watched movies. Around 11:45 a.m. I decided I should probably check in and see how Julian was getting along. I called and was greeted by the housekeeper who informed me that the mother could not come to the phone but the boys were having a great time and all was well. I continued play with my daughter.
At about 2:05 p.m. the phone rang, my daughter answered and had the strangest look on her face. I immediately took the phone from her and found myself talking to the mother of the child Julian was with and she was screaming at me, "Call my house, Call my house, he wouldn't listen." I could not imagine what was going on, then it occurred to me that she was not home. I immediately hung up and called her home and the phone was answered by police officers, who told that my son had had and accident in the pool and paramedics were working on him. We were further informed that he would be airlifted to the local hospital and we could go there. Police officers came and picked us up and took us to the hospital.
Upon our arrival the first people we saw were a chaplain and a social worker. It was at that moment that I knew my precious baby boy was gone. We were led into a room to see him. His body was frozen, his lips were purple, his hair wet and his breath smelled of vomit. Never have I felt so much pain in all my life. I remember praying to God on the way to the hospital "Please God, let him be in a coma, anything, just let him be alive."
We waited at the hospital for hours until police offices arrived to explain the exact circumstances of Julian's drowning. We were informed that the parents had left Julian, as well as their two other children, ages 3 and 5, to attend a movie and had entrusted the childrens' care to a maid. They had a pool right outside the back door of their residence, which was neither fenced properly, nor covered. In addition, their maid could not swim.
I will never understand what I have just written, it still makes no sense to me. How could they have such little regard for my son? Why would they invite him over to play and not be home? Why wasn't their pool safe? Why did they leave those children with someone who could not protect them? Why? Why? Why?
All we have now are the wonderful memories of a beautiful angel that came to visit us for six years.
You are responsible, whenever you take someone else's child into your care. Children should be looked after and watched carefully, because sometimes they don't always listen, that's what makes them children. That seems like a common sense statement, something that goes without saying, I thought.
Julian had a loose tooth and was very excited about the tooth fairy coming soon. But he never got a chance to loose that tooth, as well as a million other "never got to's".
Love and cherish your children everyday. Hug them, kiss them, keep them near to you, but most of all watch them carefully. You never know when the day will come that you will blow them kisses and tell them to have a great time, whether or not it will be the last time.
Written by: Amanda Donnelly, Julian's mom
Photo by: Amanda Donnelly
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