A massive fire consumed a home in Stamford, Connecticut early Christmas morning, killing five members of one family, including three children. It is a sickening tragedy, the kind no one ever wants to hear about, especially on a day that is supposed to be so special and full of love.
The fire broke out early Christmas morning in the $1.75 million home overlooking Long Island Sound. Only one woman -- Advertising executive Madonna Badger and her contractor -- were able to escape the blaze. Inside, Badger's parents and her three children perished. Badger, 47, managed to get out, and screamed for help. By the time the fire department made it, the fire was too intense for them to even attempt to rescue her parents and children, Lily, 10, and Grace and Sarah, 7.
There is no doubt that many will focus on the fact that Badger did not manage to save her children, but before they do so, they may want to reconsider.
There are so many reasons it could have been impossible for her to rescue the children. If the house was really engulfed the way it was described, she would have had to run into flames to get them and while most of us will say, "we would do so in a heartbeat!" It is so much easier to say such things than to live them. Some say Badger did, in fact, try to climb on the roof and smash the windows to try to get to her children, but was stopped by the flames.
We have no idea why Badger was unable to get to her children and as parents, we should not be judging. There but for fortune, this could be any one of us dealing with an unimaginable tragedy.
In fact as parents, it is impossible to even read the details without being blinded by tears. These children went to bed on Christmas Eve likely expecting to wake up surrounded by love and happiness (and presents). They were probably joyful and excited. The youngest two may even still have believed that Santa would visit them overnight.
Badger's parents Lomer and Pauline Johnson made the story even more tragic given today (December 26) was their 49th wedding anniversary and Lomer had been working as the Saks "Santa" for the past few years. His passion for Christmas and the joy of children just break your heart when one considers how he died.
There is no way to make sense of a tragedy like this and what Badger is going through is beyond anything any parent can comprehend. So before anyone sits in judgement or wonders how she escaped while everyone she loved perished, consider that none of us have any idea what this is like and then take a moment to be grateful for that.
My heart is broken for this family.
Does this break your heart, too?
Image via AndersLindgren/Flickr