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Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday April 13th 1984

Today is Friday April 13th, on Friday April 13th 1984 it was the week before Easter and we were living in a small farmhouse in Fulda, Germany.  Tom had been in the Army for just about two years and I had just found out I was pregnant with our third child.
We had been in Germany for a few months and had made fast friends of other Army families. Even though we were young ourselves, just each  24 with a 5 year old and 3 year old, we felt older so when one of the younger families (he was 21 and she was 19) with two daughters 2 years and 2 months old had to put their older daughter in the hospital overnight we gladly volunteered to keep their baby overnight.
We hopped in our VW bug and drove into Post to pick her up, stopping on the way out for a rare meal out, forgetting it was a Friday in lent and eating the forbidden meat. We joked on the way home that something bad was going to happen  to us being Friday the 13th AND eating meat. I wish we were wrong.

We enjoyed having baby Cindi with us. She was a bit fussy so I rocked her to sleep but when she didn't stay asleep I thought maybe she was cold in our bedroom since the farmhouse had no heat upstairs. Next, in hindsight I made so many mistakes.  I put an extra blanket sleeper on her (overheating her) then I put her in on her STOMACH in her Moses Basket (poor air circulation, please don't use bumper pads) then put her basket on the kitchen table where it was warm.
She seemed comfortable. Although it seemed a short while latter when she started to cry. I waited a couple of minutes and she stopped so I went back to sleep. I woke up at 7am and realized she hadn't gotten up for her bottle. I woke Tom up in a panic and he ran down the steps to check on her. It had to have just taken seconds but it seemed like hours waiting for him to yell up she was ok. He didn't. Instead I heard him screaming in panic Oh My God, she's dead!!!
He drove to the Post hospital in a fraction of the time it should take, tearing through the front gate without stopping causing the MP's to follow in pursuit to the ER where she was pronounced dead.
Cindi   Feb.4-April 14
Tom and I have never shared our grief with each other. We carry blame. Her parents, Harry & Pam, were supportive of us, feeling bad that we had to live through this. Pam was raised by her grandparents and her grandfather had recently died. She felt God took Cindi to keep her grandfather company but He knew Pam couldn't handle it happening in their home. The Army sent them home on compassionate reassignment. They went on to have two sons and for years we kept in touch with them. We haven't heard from them in a long time but have heard that she left Harry and the kids. No happy ending.


  1. God works in mysterious ways. The grief you have felt from this has protected all of us from it. I love you.

  2. I know that grief can be overwhelming and I am so sorry that you have carried it for so long. Hindsight is 20/20...you did what you believed were all the right things...God had a reason for needing that little angel back. You do so many good things for those around you...focus on that which you can control and let God take care of the rest. Never forget but forgive your younger self....it wasn't an intentional event and could have happened even if she had been with her parents.