Friday, November 9, 2012


We received a call yesterday from the CPS guy with results from the investigation on Vienne's death.

Yes, we had to be routinely interviewed and investigated by Child Protective Services as well as the police.  The guy from CPS came with an investigator less than a week after Vienne passed.  Horrible, yes, to be asked questions about your parenting and your lifestyle choices and so forth.  Thankfully, the man on our case was a very gentle and kind-spirited person.  He tread so lightly when he asked the invasive questions and he spoke with such emotion to us.  What impacted us the most was when, after his interview, he stayed behind and spoke to us privately, informing us that he, too, has a four year old whom he leaves in the bathtub all the time...while he even goes downstairs, as well.  My stepfather, who is a judge, told us that that was extremely rare for him to share a personal story with us, especially before the investigation was even over.  Not that there is anything anything good through any of this, but it did help me to know that it is ok to let your 4 yr. old bathe by themselves for a short bit (not that I will ever let Ivy bathe alone when she is 4, now that I've been through this).

So, as for the results from toxicology...NOTHING.  They found absolutely nothing.  No viruses or bacteria in her blood, either.  Nothing wrong.  They cannot find a cause of death.  But, they have to write "something" down, so they are writing "accidental death by drowning" even though they have no idea what caused her to go under the water...6" of water.  They cannot prove a seizure, so they cannot officially write that...but they tell us that is their "best guess".  So, we are choosing to conclude that she supposedly had a mild febrile seizure/convulsion (a fever related seizure mild enough that I couldn't hear a thing...yes, she had a low-grade fever that morning) which caused her to fall under the water and not regain consciousness - if people ask you, this is how you can answer.  Geez.  Do you even know how horrible this is?  I mean, seriously, why me?  This is so wildly unheard of and bizarre, I just have to think "why have I been chosen to be punished like this?"  "Why did this happen to us?"

Let me tell you why calling it a drowning really angers and disturbs me.  It is because when I hear that a child has died from drowning, especially in the tub, my initial judgmental mind immediately thinks "well, where was their mother?!"  I think judgmental things like "they must not have known their child well enough.  A good mother knows what their child is capable and incapable of".  I know this is horrible...but we all have irrational judgmental thoughts that pass through our minds.  I'm just being honest about mine.  (oh and I sure hope that no one takes offense to this, if they have known a child who has drowned...I'm just being transparent...and now I am a mother who's had a child die, so...anyway.)  But this is why calling it a drowning hurts me....because I did know my daughter's capabilities and incapabilities.  I knew her like I know myself.  I was soooo overly aware of what she was capable of and I always safeguarded her...almost too much.  She couldn't walk up or down the stairs steadily enough without holding onto the was something I watched constantly.  She did not run very stably, so I was always closely watching her when she ran...yes, even at 4.  She wasn't clumsy, she was just very very petite and not very agile.  Balance had not been established well enough yet.  And, she even knew her own inabilities and she was sooo so cautious.  But, she was a great swimmer.  You've seen in previous videos how she could put her head under water and swim.  She was not rambunctious in the tub...she knew how she could get hurt (from the faucet or from slipping when standing) so she refrained from those things.  So, for this to be labeled as a "drowning", even though we all know that it's not the true cause, it makes me defensive as her mother.  I take enough blame for her death, as it is...but the thought of someone else, on the outside, even questioning my mothering in this...well, it just ruins me.

That's all.

Let's end this on a sweeter note, by watching a video of her, almost exactly 2 years ago, on November 3, 2010...I had just purchased Vienne her first snow globe.


  1. I'm so sorry they weren't able to give you any answers...and that their default label of what happened is such a painful one to be associated with. I wanted to tell you (but didn't want to seem like a know-it-all) that I was watching a show the other day in which a grieving father described an almost identical scenario - 5year old son "drowned" in the master bathtub. Father was there in the master bedroom and didn't hear anything and could not stop it. He said it was a febrile convulsion which I think is like a seizure. Couldn't believe it had happened to someone else. Not sure if that's what happened but WE all know she didn't just drown in 6in of water. Love you.

  2. I do not personally know you but heard your story shortly after Vienne passed. I have followed your blog and honestly think you are the most courageous and loving mother......and I don't even know you. What has happened to your family has touched me deeply and I pray for you every single day.
    How unfair it must feel to not be given answers and then to have her death labeled in such a way. I am so sorry.

    Not one thing about her death gets to define her life or you as a mother. It is the life that she lived that gets to do that. Her beautiful, innocent, honest, sweet, Jesus filled life is her "label" and you and Mark helped create that. Do not let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.

    I did not know your precious Vienne but I have gotten to know her through this beautiful and loving tribute. I will continue to pray for peace, strengh and understanding for your family.

  3. Lisa is right...we ALL know she didn't drown in 6 in. of water. I'm so sorry that this label has made things even worse. Could they be worse? I ache for your loss. You are a wonderful mom. Nothing will ever change that. Vienne knew you loved her fiercely. That is for sure. WE ALL knew you loved her fiercely. Holding your heart close to mine today and always. Love you.