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Thursday, 14 June 2007

It's easy to lose a child...............

As you see my blog is displaying a poster about Madeleine McCann, the little girl who was abducted from her holiday apartment in Portugal on the 3rd May, and has still not been found. If you want to know more, or help by displaying a banner on your blog just click on the banner which will take you to the official website.

When your child goes missing it is the worst possible thing in the world that can happen, apart from losing them altogether.

Little Madeleine has been in my thoughts ever since she was abducted and it has brought back memories of the heartstopping times when my own children went missing. The McCann's have been criticised for leaving their children whilst they were eating nearby, but you don't always think ahead and the consequences can be traumatic at best, tragic at worse.

When our eldest son was five we lived in a multi-story block of flats on the 6th floor and, as usual, one morning I got youngest son settled in his pushchair to take the elder to school. We came out the front door and whilst I was locking the door elder son pushed the button for the lift to take us down to the ground floor. Seconds later I heard the telephone ringing in our flat. I told elder son to wait whilst I ran back to answer the phone and unlocked the door and ran in. I was all of 30 seconds but when I came back out younger son was singing in his pushchair and elder son was nowhere in sight!

Can you imagine the panic I felt? He must have got in the lift, what should I do? There were 20 stories to the block, had he gone up or down? Was he riding up and down in the lift unable to reach the buttons, unable to get out? There were two lifts, should I get in one and check every floor, should I pick up baby and run down the stairs to see if the elder had gotten out anywhere, should I call both lifts jam them open then use the stairs to check other floors - I couldn't think! I couldn't think rationally. I'm panicking now just writing about it!

I have no idea what made me choose to do what I did but I called the lift, took baby in the pushchair and pressed the buttons for the five floors below and checked each one as the lift stopped. When I got to the basement, in tears, there he was with a neighbour who had got in the lift the floor below ours and waited with him in the basement knowing sooner or later I would get there. Thankfully the neighbour who found him was the only person in that block of flats who knew us, because every morning she waited with her little boy outside the flats for a lift as I set off to to take mine to school. I believe that I had help that morning in deciding what to do, a little voice in my head told me the best course of action and that's what I did, I'm thankful I listened.

Our youngest son got lost in Blackpool one summer day when we had taken the boys to the seaside for the day. We took them on the pier where there were all sorts of children's rides and a lovely little cafe where we could have a drink. On the way down to the cafe we passed some little bumper cars and of course after a drink the boys decided they wanted to go have a look. We promised them we would do it 'on the way back' but they couldn't wait. It was only about 100 yds away and eldest son at nine years old promised he would hold little one's (who was four) hand tightly and not let go. We relented and told them we would come to collect them in fifteen minutes and not to move from there.

Fifteen minutes later eldest son came sauntering over to the cafe. "Where's D" I wanted to know. He looked at me blankly, "he said he was coming back to you Mum"! The place was full of people, there's no way he would have found us, they don't have any sense of direction at three years old! Once again I was like a headless chicken but once again a little voice in my head reasoned with me.

I dispatched MWM and eldest son down either side of the pier to walk slowly, scanning the crowds to the end of the pier. I stayed put in case little one had passed us and came back looking. I told MWM when he got to the end of the pier to go to the lost children depot and report him missing if they hadn't found him in the meantime, then come back to check he hadn't returned to me.

It took them a heart-stopping half an hour to get to the lost children depot, but guess who was waiting for them when they got there? Yes, youngest son! He hadn't been found, oh no, he'd remembered I'd said to him if he got lost that was where he had to go, not with a stranger, just go there and we would find him. Thank God he'd remembered because I'd forgotten! This seemed to be a pattern for him over the next couple of years because, we would only have to look away for a second and he would wander off. I could virtually guarantee in the supermarket he would manage to lose us, but he would make his way to the customer services desk where the assistant there would announce "D is at customer services, please can you come and collect him?"

Things could have turned out so differently and I thank God every day that no harm came to our boys, we were very lucky and I pray every day that Gerry and Kate McCann's little girl, Madeliene, will be found safe and sound. They will never forgive themselves for leaving their children that night but There But For The Grace Of God Go I and, I suspect, many other parents.

34 comments:

la bellina mammina said...

I have been thinking & praying for Madeleine ever since too and remember the time I 'lost' my eldest in a shopping centre. I'll never forget the fear, worry, anger with myself and desperation when I looked around for him and after running around in desperation calling his name for half an hour, I found him laughing sitting atop the information counter of the shopping center. Relief and happiness swept over me...I couldn't even begin to imagine if I had lost him.
I saw on the news this morning that an anonymous letter was sent to his parents with a map of where she might be.
Let's pray that she is reunited soon with her family, safe and sound.

Akelamalu said...

Bella
Apparently the letter tell them where to find her body - I truly hope this is not so. Also they have had more information on someone called 'The Frenchman' in Paedophile circles, who takes children to order and keeps them for a couple of months before he hands them over. This would be a better lead in terms of keeping the hope alive that Maddie will be returned home.

Queenie said...

I know just what you mean, you heart stop's until their back in your arms. Apparently I was a devil for doing it when I was a child.
I think what is so heart breaking with Maddie is she didn't wander, someone took her. Everyday I pray that she returns home safe and sound. I hadn't heard the news that la bella had so I'm going to look now.

Akelamalu said...

queenie
Yes, the fact that she was taken is so much worse.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

my daughter got away from me once and i know the panicky feeling well. it was thrity something years ago and i still sweat remembering it! it all turned out fine but i know how lucky i was that day...

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

bee
I know the feeling only too well!

RUTH said...

I remember only too well the sick feeling of panic when one of my grand daughters went missing in Woolworths. She was hiding behind a rail of clothes...but the memory of those few minutes sends a shiver down my spine.
Each day that passes with no news of Madeline is more and more worrying.

Mike M said...

Her picture is on my blog now.

Akelamalu said...

ruth
That feeling is just indescribable, I just don't know how the McCann's are coping at all.

Akelamalu said...

mike
That's great, because Maddie could be anywhere in the world and the more people that see her picture the more chance of finding her.
I did have one of the banners up from the website, but it kept disappearing,so I've had to change it, must be something wrong with the link.

buffalodickdy said...

In America kids go missing everyday. Some run away, some are abducted by spouse or birth parent with no legal claim on the child. God help anyone who hurts or kidnaps a kid and gets caught before the police show up!

Nea said...

I have read about her abduction in our own papers here in the states. Her story was also in People Magazine, it is a heartbreaking story. I suppose all of us with kids have a story to tell about having one go missing for a short period of time. I know with each of mine, I have at least one story. But the difference, they just got away from me. I don't mean to be critical, because I know there is nothing anyone can say that they haven't said to themselves, but would anyone in their right mind these days, leave three small children asleep in a strange country, and then go out and eat. People magazine said they were only several hundred yards away, and they checked on the every 30 minutes.....oh man a lot can happen in thirty minutes. If you can't get to them, before someone else can, it is too far away I suppose. Thirty years ago, things were so much easier.......or at least we thought it was......

I can't imagine the heartache those poor parents must be suffering, but I have a feeling the end of this story will not be good. So sad, so sad. Here in the States there are many child abductions, I can think of several, so my very worst fear was just that, losing a child. I didn't let Nick out of my sight, after raising Ana. She was a "runner". She got away from Tom in a department store when she was two, at Christmas time, after that, we didn't take her out again until she was about seven......

Paul Champagne said...

So glad everything turned out o-kay, I will be putting the poster on my blog today.

Akelamalu said...

buffalodickdy
It happens here too all the time. My view is simple - anyone who hurts a child doesn't deserve to live and I advocate capital punishment in these instances.

Akelamalu said...

nea
I agree with you, I would never leave children alone as they did, that is something they will have to live with. The whole thing just made me think how easy it is for something to happen to children just by taking your eyes off them for a second, as with my own.

Akelamalu said...

paul
Yes I was lucky, it could have turned out so differently.
Thanks for putting the poster up.

"Early Bird" said...

I was so hoping they would have found her by now...
Thankfully a good neighbor helped you out...today's society you just never know...I'm going to try to stay positive but use wisdom too in all things!
:)

CG said...

I really hope that poor little girl will be found safe!

Cream said...

As you say at the end, I have a feeling they will never rid themselves of that guilt.
It is a horrible feeling losing sight of one's kids for a couple of seconds let alone losing them for longer or for ever without knowing what has happened to them...

lettuce said...

i'm sure every parent knows that awful awful feeling. And even so its impossible to imagine even slightly what they must be going through. Its hard to be hopeful.

Linda said...

My heart so goes out to the McCanns and I can only imagine the agony, grief, and guilt that they are feeling.

Thankfully your boys were safe and sound in both instances and you are very right - there but for the grace of God.

GEWELS said...

This is heartbreaking.
We live near a lake and I remember running down there looking for my toddler- imagining the absolute worst.
Fortunately, a kind gentleman found him and was walking with him back towards our house.
I will never forget that feeling.
He's still on restriction- and he's 26!

Akelamalu said...

early bird
I think the McCanns are finding it very difficult now to stay positive but you have to have hope.

Akelamalu said...

cg
Me too, please God.

Akelamalu said...

cream
It's a place no parent wants to go!

Akelamalu said...

lettuce
Yes it is hard to be hopeful but it's the only thing left at the moment. Miracles do happen - I'm praying for one for little Maddie.

Akelamalu said...

Linda
You are right, only someone who has been in the same situation can imagine what the McCanns are going through.

Akelamalu said...

gewels
LOL 'still on restriction at 26'!

Joking apart it doesn't matter how old your kids are you still worry about them. My Dad still worries about me and I'm........not telling you!

HAR said...

Everytime I go on your site I feel so upset when I see her picture. I worry that she is not o.k. and think of how scared she must be.
Sometimes I really hate the world.
AKA: rice
NY

Akelamalu said...

har
I know honey, I'm praying for her. Thanks for trusting me. ;)

Pearls of Wisdom said...

I am praying for her . This is so sad. It is a sad panicky feeling as a parent when your child gets out of your sight for a moment.Wonderful post my friend. I will head over there again. I so hope they find her ok soon.

Hugs,

Angel ():)

Akelamalu said...

angel
I think we must all keep praying for little Maddie.

elena jane said...

missing children always make my heart sad.....i keep praying they will find that darling little girl. her parents must be sick....
so glad you found your missing boy....i am always holding many hands while out and worried one of mine will wander off.

(found my way here via sally)

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