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Published: January 25th 2018
Owen in Hawaii
Showing his support for The Angel Forever Foundation
My son was the only one who received the alert. Owen turned around and looked at me completely ashen and afraid. “Mom, I think we’re going to be bombed,” he said. Now, these are words I’ve never heard someone speak, not in real life, and certainly not in MY life. “Owen, this is just some kind of hoax. It’s not real, don’t worry.” But that white look of terror remained on his face. “Mom, this alert is from Apple. Apple doesn’t send jokes.”
The message on Owen’s phone read, “Emergency Alert. BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
My heart sank. This is really happening. We turned the car radio on and the message replayed over and over, “Ballistic missile threat. Seek shelter. Go indoors. Stay away from windows.”
We saw traffic come to a complete stop. People shouting out of their car windows, “There’s a bomb coming! Go back home!”
My daughter started to cry. “I gotta call dad, I gotta call dad.” Dad was back on the Mainland driving through Kentucky and unfortunately we were on a stretch of road where there was limited internet service. India’s sobbing
and shaking. “Dad! There’s a bomb coming!” But he couldn’t hear her. “Dad! There’s a warning!” Only silence on the other end. “Mom! Dad can’t hear me,” India cried.
Five minutes earlier we were all laughing, listening to the radio, putting on sunscreen on our way to go ziplining. Now my two children are staring at me with a look of panic and terror.
I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe this is happening to ME. But mankind has been blowing each other up for generations. Why wouldn’t it happen to me? I always figured I’d die in some dramatic way…but never imagined it would be in Hawaii with my children.
I felt accepting of it, not ok with it, just accepting. I’ve had a full life with more adventure than most. A life with a family that loves me, healthy children and a passport full of stamps. But my heart broke for my children and their father. Jeremy would never recover from losing his two kids. I do believe losing a child is the worst pain the human heart can experience.
I thought back to June 3rd. It was a beautiful sunshiny day.
Well, it was beautiful for me. I spent the day with my sweet little friend named Angel. Angel was 13 and altogether completely lovely; strikingly beautiful with an infectious giggle. We shopped and baked and talked about boys and school. We even talked about going to Hawaii together one day.
On June 4th I awoke to find Angel had taken her life in the night. In a flash, she was gone. We were given no warning on the radio. There was no phone call to tell her dad goodbye. There was no huddled holding of hands. There was no acceptance of a life well lived.
In the United States alone, 121 people die by suicide every day. Many times we are given warnings, we are sent alerts, we just don’t recognize them. The warnings don’t seem as clear as the one we received on January 13th alerting us to take shelter immediately.
Had Angel sent out an alert? I believe she had but we were too uninformed to heed the warnings.
Angel’s father didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. But what he has done is given all of us a valuable resource to help in recognize the warning signs our own children may be giving us.
Visit www.angelforever.org and learn how to recognize the warnings. Unfortunately, this IS happening, but it doesn’t have to happen to you.
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