Thomas Matts and Terri-Ann Barnett were walking home from preschool after dropping off their 18-month-old son there for the day. I imagine them giggling over something he said when they left him and imagining what he'd be doing that day while they were at work. All of a sudden, probably before they had any idea what was happening, some lumber from a passing truck flew off and struck the couple. They both died.
Now their son Morgan is left an orphan, and he'll never know the parents who loved him beyond the memories shared by friends and family. “Terri and Tom were both besotted with Morgan and were both devoted to him. They were lovely parents,” Barnett's parents told The Daily Mirror.
It's every parent's nightmare -- to leave our children before we've seen them grow, before we've taught them what needs teaching, before anyone should have to. I share this story not just to elicit tears of sympathy -- though it does that too -- but because I believe if there's any good to come out of such a terrible tragedy, it's to make people stop and think about the lives they're living.
Life is such a blur sometimes of carpools, cooking, deadlines, playdates, potty accidents, anger, frustration, and complaining. Sure, there are great moments along the way, but it's easy to rush through them on the way to the next thing.
It's stories like this that pop into my mind right as I'm ready to snap at my son for spilling his milk, or bark at my daughter who has taken off her shoes and socks that I JUST put on for the 10 millionth time. When I think of these parents who would give anything to clean up their son's spilled milk or put on his shoes, I take a breath and try to do better.
Best wishes to Morgan and to the couple's friends and family as they try to build a new life for him.
Do tragedies like this inspire you to be a better parent?
Image via chinogypsie/Flickr