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Hello. I am new to this forum. I haven't allowed myself the luxury of talking with people who have been through similar situations yet. My husband and I lost our daughter, Ava 18 months, almost a year ago. The anniversary is 4/13 so maybe that is why I am now willing to open up to others like me. My duaghters death was completely unexpected, unneccesary, and extremely preventable. My daughter died of strangulation when she fell on top of a homemade fence in the basement at a new daycare (it was her first morning). The provider is awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter because she was extremely negligent in the care she gave my daughter. Because of the pending trial, my husband and I are really limited to the information we are given from the DA's office. There have been some details given to us. She had 14 children in her care the day my

daughter died, she has a history of violating daycare rules and regulations, and she was no where near my daughter that morning. It takes a child 8-10 minutes to die from strangulation.

She was our only child and was the light of our lives. We still have a hard time getting through each day because it seems so empty without her. We have had a horrible year following her death and we just found out that someone else claimed her as a dependent on their taxes for 2009. We now have to prove to the IRS that she was ours. No parent should ever have to do that, much less when their child is deceased.

We have also tried to do things in her memory. I started a website shortly after her death educating parents on daycares, www.daycareaware.com and we have also lent our voice to an important daycare bill trying to pass this year in Kansas. This has involved us speaking in front of many politicians and media. It has been a struggle. We have had many providers speak out against this bill. I know people are afraid of change, but sometimes we have to embrace it when it means better protection for children. Needless to say they have directed their anger towards us and trying to deduce what we did wrong on the day our daughter died. We are not able to stick up for ourselves because we can't comment on the case.

It has been a tough road for my husband and mines marriage, but I think we are getting stronger. We do not want to be parents that let the death of a child get in the way of our love and a potential child in the future. Besides we promised our little girl that we wouldn't let this tear us apart.

I guess what I am having trouble with is family. It seems like I no longer talk about anythign else but the trial, the bill, and now the IRS mess. I would love for one of them to call me and just talk about nothing. Also I am trying to not let my jealousy get in the way. Two of my sisters in the last 2 1/2 months have become first time mommies and it is so hard seeing their joy when they look at their new child. Another thing that bugs me is when they remind me that they are grieving to. I know that, but they also have other things in their lives that help them get away from the pain. My husband and I eat, sleep, and breathe this pain everyday. Any advice on how to handle these things is greatly appreciated.


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I am so sorry for the loss of your lovely little daughter, Ava. And how she died would make me very angry too and not to be able to talk about it due to legal matters would only make it that much harder. If this day care lady already had a history of violating daycare rules and regulations, why was she allowed a license? And then to add insult to injury of someone else claiming your child on their taxes is just outrageous and unbelievable! I am so sorry your family has to endure all of this pain.

I am a grandmother who has had to bury two grandchildren so I can empathize somewhat with your pain and agony. I found that the first year was the toughest because of the “firsts”. By that I mean the first Christmas, the first birthday, etc. But you still always remember your child and always love them and they will be with you forever no matter how years go on. I just know that the horrific, awful sting of pain does lessen with time. But there are times when you still get overwhelmed with grief and it is okay. Just let the tears flow. I too worried about my daughter and her husband’s marriage when they first lost their children two years apart, but they have a very strong marriage and have two other children. They too decided not to let these deaths tear them apart as it often does. On April 11th, would have been my grandson’s 16th birthday. He was stillborn. His death too was unexpected and I believe in my heart, preventable. The doctors could never give us a reason why he died, as the pregnancy was very normal. I still can feel the pain of losing him that horrific day and all the events that followed. But eventually the days do get better with time.

I am very thankful that you are taking a stand in the name of children especially when it comes to day care laws. These laws can never be strict enough. We MUST protect our children at all costs. Just stand your ground with your daughter in your mind as you do so. If I were in your shoes and someone got angry at me about trying to change laws, I would turn it around and gently ask them how they would feel if it was their child or grandchild that was hurt or worse yet, died in a day care setting. I did check out your website and what a beautiful little girl Ava was. Also, I feel your website should be very helpful to everyone when it comes to questions to ask before anyone places their child in a day care.

I feel you must tell your family that you have to talk about Ava and the trial, the bill and now the IRS. You need to vent and I pray they will let you do this. I pray your family is close enough for this to happen. Tell them you are truly happy for the new babies but you are still missing yours and you need to talk about her. It keeps Ava’s memory alive. Ava is always going to be part of your family. We, at times, talk about Conner and Jacy and that way there isn’t a wall between all of us. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Also, is there any way you and your husband can just get away for a short while and take a vacation? Even 3 or 4 days? My daughter and husband did this and it did help. Just get away from everyone and all that reminds you of what is going on. My prayers have been with you since I read your very moving story yesterday. You and your husband really do have a lot to carry. My sincere blessings upon you.

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Oh my dear Alecia ~

I am so very sorry to learn of the horrible accident that took your precious daughter Ava's life, and I can only imagine what this last year has been like for you and your husband. I've also visited your Daycare Aware Web site, and I applaud you for doing all you can to help other parents learn from your tragic experience. I can think of no greater tribute to your beloved Ava than this.

I don't know if you're wanting to explore the vast array of resources that are available to you as bereaved parents, but when you do feel ready to do so, please pay a visit to the Death of an Infant, Child or Grandchild page of my Grief Healing Web site, where I've assembled links to dozens of wonderful articles, books, and Web sites that I think will be helpful to you.

Your story reminds me so much of that of Gretchen and Warren Pine, whose darling 3-year-old daughter Olivia died suddenly in a tragic accident when she fell onto a fence. You'll find their story here: Olivia Pine Foundation of Hope, and you may find this page especially helpful: Our Grief Coping Mechanisms

Somehow I missed seeing your post until now ~ unfortunately that happens sometimes, and I hope you will forgive me for taking so long to respond to you ~ but I can assure you that our membership includes some of the most caring and compassionate people you'll find anywhere, and here I know that you will never feel alone in your grief journey.

(And Sherry, dear, bless you and thank you so very much for not letting Alecia's post go unnoticed and unanswered.) -_-

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