Thursday, July 28, 2011


Up in Ohio, last summer

We made a deliberate decision to tell Lucy's story.  After much MUCH hesitation.  We wanted people to know she was alright.  We wanted people to know that what matters most is faith and family.  We wanted people to know that the beach is a safe place to go, actually, and to not stop going.  For all of these reasons, we told Lucy's story to the networks that were knocking.

I'm glad we did and I'm sad we did.  Because you never have enough time to tell the whole story.  Never, even here, or over dinner or under your breath, or between shifts, or ever.  The whole story is so much more.  And none of us knows exactly how the other sees it unfolding. 

Lucy whips around the house on her wheelchair, without a complaint.  We begin our second night home.  She loves her new room downstairs and wants to keep it "even after I don't need it anymore".  We've figure out how to prop her leg up painlessly onto the bathtub when she needs to go potty.  We give her a bath using the handles in our jet tub, a stool, a plastic storage bin, duct tape, a garbage bag, and a plastic cup.  We are all learning to be more helpful and patient--the rascals and I.

Yesterday, I set her on a bean bag in her "old" room and she begins to play with some random toys w/in arm's length.  Soon, I hear her ask her sister (3), "Avery, go get Seth and Hazel and tell them to come upstairs and bring their toys!"  Avery skipped around the hall with a hilarious "Yessiree!!" and bounded down the steps.  Soon they were all in the room gathered around our gorgeous gimp having a grand ol' time.

Things are good.  Lucy will heal.  People are bringing us so much food and taking her sibs out for diversion.  We've been loaded up with crafts that have kept big minds with little hands occupied.  We've used markers until they're dry.

Still, when in my mind's eye, I  hear her shrieks of pure terror and see her torn leg in the water, my brow furrows and my stomach flips.  These seconds are seared in my brain and will remain long long after Lucy's story leaves the front page and another takes its place.

I'm mad when I try to imagine her panic and pain when she felt the shark's jaws. My face, even now goes tingly and my head spins.  I can't bring myself to put pictures here.   Then...I see her sleeping soundly last night and think of the quiet slow day we had coloring velvet pictures, glueing popsicle sticks, watching Sound of Music, tying bracelets with our names on them, and taking her in the wheelchair outside. I think of Lucy's quick afternoon love affair with the sun and a monarch butterfly that elicited merely an "awe shucks" face.  Not a tear.  Not a "no fair" that she couldn't join in the chase with her sisters this time.

Who am I to indulge in such moody moments imagining that scary scene.  Who am I to long for her perfectly smooth and peachy leg back.  Like it was.  I feel like the child and she the adult.  But I am learning.  From Lucy.  Trying to snap out of it.

 She has taken the reigns of her new future and has led that horse into a steady canter.  


Jessica said...

That's just it--the kids move on and get over these even horrible experiences and just want to get back to the business of play. As parents it's not so easy--we think of not just WHAT happened but what could have happened and how helpless we often are to prevent these crazy things from happening. It's like you need to put your memories into Temple Grandin's hug machine so they can be gentled. You are still in my prayers.

madsta said...

everything is temporary, soon enough, lucy will be running through the house with her brother and sisters i'm sure,- when my sister was in a wheelchair we decided to make the best of it, and had so much fun in the end,

Annie said...

So painfully, beautifully true. And here's where eternities make sense to me today: we parents and children are really just fellow souls, teaching and being taught, filling in gaps and forgetting when we need to.

kera said...

so beautifully written....our children can teach us so much. they are so resilliant!! praying for continued guys seem to be settling in perfectly!

dswillis said...

With attitudes of love and faith how can Lucy do anything but shine.I love that you even allow us all to learn and grow by sharing your experience.
So happy that Lucy's leg is on the mend . Lucky is she who moves forward mentally even before her body is well. God Bless you all.

dswillis said...

P.S. I wish I had your way with words, Jordan. I often fail to describe my feelings properly.

Ann said...

Love you.

Natasha said...

Oh I can so relate. Although my Luci was held under water by another child and not a shark, it has been a year now and I feel that as the mother I have learned from my child. Actually, the therapist we took her to told us to follow her lead.

I cried this morning when an ambulance zoomed past us on the road, the accident from last year is still that fresh in my mind. I say "accident" for lack of something more appropriate to call it.

My Luci says that she needs to find out the purpose of what happened and believes she will make good come of it. Next summer will be her first as a water safety instructor aide, at the same pool where she has had swim lessons for 5 years. So she's well on her way to turning this into something positive...I just need to take notes!

I love your posts and how you express the story of what happened.

Karen said...

SO GLAD you told your story on the Today Show! I was watching that morning and could immediately see your gospel in action glow! I found your blog to confirm my suspicions! You are amazing and Lucy is so beautiful! Hope she has a speedy recovery! We are praying for her in New Jersey!

Melanie Anne said...

I walked into the den and saw the headlines on comcast about a 6 year old girl forgiving the shark that attacked her. I immediatly knew it was your Lucy:) I watched the video clip--great job! You all looked great and especially that cutie pie "forgiving" Lucy! What a doll and what a light you are!! xo

The Original Mangums said...

Love all you North Carolina Mangums.Words are wonderful and so healing. Have fun with the children, soon all will be back to normal

Cherie said...

Love you, Jordan -
You've all been in our thoughts, prayers, hand-held devices, screens, & hearts!
Love your gift with words!

(As I read this post, i felt every emotion right along with you... 'Total Recall' of scary humbling accidents of my little ones... Hard precious memories that keep us grateful and able to find meaning)

Tarawynn said...

I don't know you, can't begin to comprehend your journey,but I want you to know someone out there
(probably a LOT of us) wishes you all well and are praying for you and your lovely family. Each and every one.
Loving thoughts,
Tara from MI

shawna b. said...

So proud of Lucy.

And of you, my beautiful friend.

I think you are handling all of this with your typical grace and style and spunk that I love you for.

Cheering you on from Utah! Giddyup!

Jeanette said...

Hi, I read Katy's blog from time to time and started follwing yours every now and again since learning about Lucy. Your whole family is just amazing.
I don't know if this is something that might help, but my son broke his arm earlier this summer and we were introduced to a product called Xerosox. It is basically a huge latex glove with a vacuum seal.It was $40 and we got it at a prosthetics office. It allowed him to play in the ocean for hours, bathe, and swim nearly every day without the cast ever getting wet at all. I don't know if they make them for legs or how difficult it would be for you to get on over all that Lucy has to deal with. If you do find and can use one, we found that dusting it with baby powder in it made it much easier to get on and off.
Best of luck.

Matt said...

Give your self day at a time. Each day Will get better. Love you guys :)

TX Girl said...

As parents we try to protect our kids as much as we can, but sadly we learn that things aren't always in our control. I'm with you.. it is tough to let it go and I just don't get how kids do it so easily.

As always, loved reading your thoughts.

Jessica said...

Children move on from incidents so quickly. As parents it's harder for us to accept and move on. When Sophie fell and split her head open a week after I had Oliver I wondered if it would ever heal and if I could accept what happened. 7 months later I wonder what I was so worried about. It healed amazing and I'm so glad that she is still here with us. I know Heavenly Father is aware of you and your family. I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers.