It is a parent's worst nightmare.
Learning that their child is gone.
Yesterday we learned that a friend of my son drowned while sailing during a local instructional summer camp.
Her second to last tweet read, "I don't wanna go sailing."
It is horrific to imagine.
It knocks the wind out of you to think of it.
Growing up my grandfather had a sailboat. Actually he had several over the course of time.
I went out sailing countless times.
I have fabulous memories of it.
I also have the memories of how much my grandmother hated it.
She was terrified of the water.
She could not swim.
She could not sail.
She was always afraid.
But I never was afraid.
I loved sailing.
My husband and I had a powerboat at the beginning of our marriage. I was never a fan of powerboats. After the birth of Son #2, we sold it.
About nine years ago, after Daughter turned two years old we decided we would purchase another boat.
We looked at many boats.
My husband also grew up sailing. His father had one when he was a teenager and he also had many fond memories of sailing with his family.
After talking about it - we realized that we were sailors at heart and decided upon a sailboat.
We have had her for nine years. Taken many trips.
Week long journeys.
Son #1 and Son #2 attended sailing camp years ago.
We prepared them to crew our vessel.
We also purchased a small Snark for the boys.
They sailed that little boat around the shallow waters of our marina for years.
My husband is a wonderful sailor. He has even captained two of the America's Cup sailboats during business travel.
But I have a confession...
I have a fear of sailing with my family.
I always have.
It is nothing that I can explain.
It isn't anything that seems logical.
Pure raw emotion.
Hearing the news last night truly shook me up.
I have always feared something happening while sailing with my children.
What if something happened to one of my children?
All of my children?
Too many possibilities.
I have never been able to relax and enjoy it.
It has never felt like it did as a kid.
Most times we go sailing - I will invite my parents.
I don't know why or how that makes it better.
But it does.
More help perhaps.
An adult to save each child?
I know that this is not something that seems practical, I can't understand it entirely myself.
I only know that when I am on the sailboat with my children I feel extremely uneasy and terribly nervous.
So when I learned of yesterday's drowning - it was overwhelming.
Her boat capsized. Her harness tangled with the boat rigging. She was under the water for minutes - perhaps three.
As parents we are programmed to keep our children safe.
We always consider the possibilities.
We hope and pray for the best.
But parental fears are real.
It starts at birth.
Place them on their stomach.
Place them on their side.
Place them on their back.
We constantly worry about all of the things that may contribute to a mishap with our child.
Recently my eldest began driving alone.
I can't tell you how many times I've worried for his safety.
But I can't forbid him from driving.
He has to go out and live his life.
My fear is real.
According to statistics, it is also justified.
But parental fears can also hinder how our children grow.
It is a very fine line we walk as parents.
I cannot fathom how that family must be feeling.
I immediately place myself in their situation.
I think most parents do when they hear stories like that.
It is unthinkable.
My children sat in those little sailboats and tooled around the Severn River.
They attended sailing camp.
Just as easily it could have happened to my own children.
Things go wrong all of the time.
What do we do with our parental fears?
I have no answers for you.
I was truly hoping to approach this summer with a better attitude.
With the kids growing up - perhaps I wouldn't feel as uptight on the boat.
I was determined to sail and relax this year.
Not worry and wring my hands over the "what-ifs".
All I know is that I have no desire to go out on my sailboat with my children right now.
It is something that I will have to work through.
I feel that my fear has intensified two fold.
My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to their family.
It honestly could be any one of us at any time.
But I know that life can't be lived in constant fear of that.
"The joys of parents are secret, and so are their grieves and fears."