Two pieces of news hit me hard this week because both involved children.
Locally, 12-year-old Christian Robles is presumed to have drowned Monday after the canoe he and two of his cousins were in tipped over in a Harvard retention pond. The two other boys – ages 12 and 10 – were not hurt. One was saved because of neighbor Tyler Kurth, who swam into the pond and rescued him.
In Chicago, 28-year-old Collin Wynton was charged with murder. He is accused of shooting to death 30-year-old Georgina Randall at her home Monday. She was shot five times.
The worst part? Wynton is said to have shot Randall in front of her 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Prosecutors said Randall’s son threw a toy at Wynton and told him to stop hurting his mom. Wynton pushed away the boy, reloaded his gun and continued to shoot Randall, prosecutors said.
One story represents the pain of losing a child and hammers home how unexpectedly a young person’s life can be taken from them. The other makes you shake your head and fear for what kind of life those two kids will have, not only dealing with not having a mother but also how to cope and live with witnessing such a violent act.
Stories involving kids, whether it be the death of them or violence against them, have always been hard to accept and process. But it became even harder when I had kids of my own.
I have a 10-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. They mean the world to me, and I do my best to be a good father to them.
Whenever I read or hear about a child drowning, missing or dying at the hands of a parent or as the result of an accident, I can’t help but wonder about my kids. How would I handle that? What if that was my child?
It is always difficult to think about. It’s even harder because I’m wired as a pessimist. Those who know me will definitely attest to that. Try following me on Twitter during a Blackhawks game.
Unfortunately, that pessimism often leads me to assume the worst. So, when my son doesn’t check in from somewhere in the neighborhood by the time I tell him, I start worrying. When my wife and kids are out and she doesn’t answer the phone, I start worrying.
My mind can never get past thinking about the worst-case scenario. Did somebody grab my son off the street? Was my family in a serious accident?
I think I’ve gotten better about the jumping-to-conclusions part. I try not to worry as much.
But it never gets easier dealing with pain and fear when stories like the two that presented themselves this week enter my world.
If there is anything good that comes from these kinds of stories, it’s that they serve as a reminder about how much I love my children.
• Jason Schaumburg is editor of the Northwest Herald. The hockey dad in him is pleased because summer-session games started this week. It had been a long month away from the rink. Reach him at 815-459-4122 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Schaumy.