WhenJulian was born we could not have been happier. Our family was nowcomplete. We now had two perfectly exquisite children. A daughter andnow this wonderful bundle of joy called Julian. My husband was theyoungest of three, with two older sisters. He also had anotherdaughter, from a previous marriage. The day I gave him a son I willnever forget the joy in his eyes and the feeling of love that ranthrough both of us for the gift we had received.
We moved to LosAngeles in late October, 1994. We hated leaving our families, but wewent home to visit on every holiday. The children loved our long ridesup I-5 and all the stops we would make and all the games we would play.
Bothchildren adjusted well to Los Angeles, but particularly Julian, who wasonly two years old and was beginning what would form who he was tobecome.
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.
Iwas always extremely active in Julian’s education, he required a lot ofattention and his needs were increasing the older he got. After muchinvestigation into just the right environment for him I finally struckgold. I found the place for him, somewhere he would shine and be allthat he could be.
Julian began attending his new school inJanuary, 1998. He had an absolutely wonderful new teacher, whom headored and who truly adored him. For the first time Julian also had abest friend. A little boy his age who returned his friendship. The boystalked for months about going to one another’s house and having a dayof fun. The boy’s mother and I had discussed getting the kids togethera few times, but never really acted on it.
On May 29th my son’steacher asked for permission to give out our telephone number toJulian’s friend’s mother. I excitedly said yes and she and I made plansfor the next day. Our family had just begun house hunting because thechildren wanted so much to have a backyard. We looked at one house andJulian 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 hadto remind Julian of the play day he had coming and that he shouldbehave himself if he wanted to be able to go.
On the morning ofMay 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 muchexcitement as he had I said “Yes”.
My husband set off on hismorning errands and told Julian he would be back soon and take him forhis play day. About 10:30 a.m., my husband called to say he was on hisway and while we were talking, somehow the car went dead. I realized atthat point there probably would be no play day for Julian. I called hisfriend’s parents to say he would not be able to come. The fatherinformed me that his wife was out running errands and he would call meback. Five minutes later the mother called from her cell phone. She wasjust around the corner from our house. She arrived and picked Julian upand told me not to worry about anything, he would be fine and she wouldbe happy to bring him home. I was overjoyed for him as he ran to hercar, as I had never seen him so happy. This was at 10:45 a.m.
Ithen relaxed a bit and started spending time with my daughter. Weplayed games and watched movies. Around 11:45 a.m. I decided I shouldprobably check in and see how Julian was getting along. I called andwas greeted by the housekeeper who informed me that the mother couldnot come to the phone but the boys were having a great time and all waswell. I continued play with my daughter.
At about 2:05 p.m. thephone rang, my daughter answered and had the strangest look on herface. I immediately took the phone from her and found myself talking tothe 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 imaginewhat was going on, then it occurred to me that she was not home. Iimmediately hung up and called her home and the phone was answered bypolice officers, who told that my son had had and accident in the pooland paramedics were working on him. We were further informed that hewould be airlifted to the local hospital and we could go there. Policeofficers came and picked us up and took us to the hospital.
Uponour arrival the first people we saw were a chaplain and a socialworker. It was at that moment that I knew my precious baby boy wasgone. We were led into a room to see him. His body was frozen, his lipswere purple, his hair wet and his breath smelled of vomit. Never have Ifelt so much pain in all my life. I remember praying to God on the wayto the hospital “Please God, let him be in a coma, anything, just lethim be alive.”
We waited at the hospital for hours until policeoffices arrived to explain the exact circumstances of Julian’sdrowning. We were informed that the parents had left Julian, as well astheir two other children, ages 3 and 5, to attend a movie and hadentrusted the childrens’ care to a maid. They had a pool right outsidethe back door of their residence, which was neither fenced properly,nor covered. In addition, their maid could not swim.
I willnever understand what I have just written, it still makes no sense tome. How could they have such little regard for my son? Why would theyinvite 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 protectthem? Why? Why? Why?
All we have now are the wonderful memories of a beautiful angel that came to visit us for six years.
Youare responsible, whenever you take someone else’s child into your care.Children should be looked after and watched carefully, becausesometimes they don’t always listen, that’s what makes them children.That seems like a common sense statement, something that goes withoutsaying, I thought.
Julian had a loose tooth and was very excitedabout the tooth fairy coming soon. But he never got a chance to loosethat tooth, as well as a million other “never got to’s”.
Loveand cherish your children everyday. Hug them, kiss them, keep them nearto you, but most of all watch them carefully. You never know when theday will come that you will blow them kisses and tell them to have agreat time, whether or not it will be the last time.
Photo by: Amanda Donnelly