Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tragedy mars our GREAT vacation

First let me say that everyone arrived home safe and sound. Secondly let me warn...the next story is disturbing. I have to start at the end of our vacation for a few reasons. I need to get it off my chest and stop thinking about it. I also want to get it over and done with since it really does distract me from the rest of what was a wonderful vacation for everyone.

We checked out of our hotel at 11 and headed to see the falls. We had visited it the night before and saw it lit up but the kids wanted to see it upclose during the day. Here's a pic I took with Olivia's camera to show just how close we got to it. The blob on the left is the ice covered railing.

When we first got there we debated on whether to get some hot cocoa at Tim Horton's or to wait until we were ready to leave. The line was pretty long so we decided to go outside first. Michelle, Val, Carl (Val's boyfriend) and Carrie were already in line so opted for the hot cocoa first.

We went out and enjoyed the beautiful view. It was a pretty nice day but still cold. As Michelle, Val, Carl and Carrie came out Danielle started complaining her finger was ouchie. Checking it out I realized that it was FREEZING! So I asked Tom if we could go in and get the hot cocoa now...he agreed so in we went. Tom, Drew, Luke and Jake went into Tim Horton's while the rest of us waited in the center of the "mall".

Tom was about to order when the other kids came into the mall. Val walks up to me and says...MOM! We just saw a man go over the falls!!! WHAT!?!?!? You're kidding right? No mom really! Looking at her face I realized she wasn't kidding me. She was shaking like a leaf. I ran into TH and told Tom then I went outside to see if they were mistaken. The police were pulling up and walked with me to where the crowd was gathered. The officer asked if anyone had any pictures. I went inside to ask the girls and check the cameras. We didn't have anything that would interest the police.

Val said she was standing near the brink of the falls (about where I took the picture) and saw a man in a leather coat swimming underwater with the current. Everyone was shouting NO! NO! He came up and then went back down again to swim some more. When he came up again he shouted something. Val thinks it was something along the lines of....Don't worry and I'm ok (I think). He then went over the edge of the falls. Val said at that moment EVERYONE went silent. Older ladies next to her started crying.

I found a newspaper report about it on Sun the 24th.

At first I was upset that someone would do that. Then I was angry! How dare he ruin this experience for all those people!!! How dare he be so selfish as to mess up a huge group of people. I'm just so thankful we decided to go inside when we did. The little kids are having a hard enough time understanding this (not that anyone really can understand it). I couldn't imagine if they'd actually seen it. Val said she looked around after it happened and noticed that there were no little kids around. Thank God for that. On the way home everyone was pretty somber. I found myself starting to cry on and off. I cried for my kids. To have to live with that scene in their head for the rest of their life. To not be able to look at or talk about Niagara Falls without thinking of that horrible instant.

I keep looking at the 4 kids, wondering if they are ok. Wondering if/how this will effect them. Carrie has me worried. She hasn't really said anything about this. I did tell her I'd call school on Mon and tell Ms S what happened. She seemed to like that idea. I reminded her that if she wanted to talk about it she could talk to me or to Ms S.

We really did have a good vacation otherwise. I took quite a few pics of the waterpark including an adorable video of Sean the waterbaby. :o) Everyone wants to get on the computer to update their various pages. I hope to have a more upbeat and picture heavy post up by tomorrow night.


cowmomba said...

Kim, I am so sorry for such a horrible thing to mar your vacation.
I enjoy reading your blog and I am glad to see you finding time to post now and again. ~Tammy~ (cowmomba)

noelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear about that. Tragedies like that seem to linger with us for a long time. I'm glad you could vent here about it.