On August 2, 2012 our family experienced a tragic accident & our three year old son, Truman, went to heaven. I have been rather private over the matter & have hesitated to share, even with some of my friends & family, the details of the day our lives were forever changed . . .
Just a few days before “the accident” my (step)daughter had moved back home. For those of you that are familiar with this part of our story, know the joy in my heart to finally have all the beds in our house filled again. I was so excited to have her home I quickly became busy integrating her back into our family. At the time there seemed to be two important tasks:
- Get her on the homeschool volleyball team
- Get her a cell phone (To a teenage girl a cell phone is like a necessity.)
August 2nd I woke up with the above “To Do List” & a sweet blue-eyed boy asking me,
“Mommy, what’s for breakfast?”
I smiled into those eyes & for a moment got lost in the depths of them. He could have asked me for anything in those moments & I would have caved. Knowing the answer (pancakes) I asked,
“What would you like?”
Sure enough he requested his favorite,
Remembering we used the last of the milk the night before I asked him if he wanted to go to his favorite place in the world,
“Oh, baby we don’t have milk to make them. Do you want to go to the dairy with mommy?”
He excitedly agreed, but after looking at the time I realized it would be almost noon before we were able to actually eat pancakes if we had to make a trip to the dairy first, so I suggested the next best thing – waffles! He excitedly agreed & we set off about our day. It was a beautiful day, but we were in the middle of a Texas summer which meant scorching temps were a given no matter how deceiving the beautiful blue sky was. Later in the morning I went out to hang some sheets on the line & he tagged along asking his most popular question,
“Why you do that?”
He giggled as he ran through my sheets blowing in the breeze then off he went to explore the farm & follow his daddy around. I set about my daily tasks, then decided to edit some pictures & work on a project for our homeschool group. My big kids joined me on my bed & began to search Craig’s List for iPhones (*Tyler wanted to upgrade his iPhone & was looking for a good deal with Taylor.) We ended up finding someone with 2 iPhone 4’s for $500. I thought it was the perfect deal & was grateful to only have to make one deal – ending the iPhone hunt for both kids. Tim was not so enthusiastic about the deal – especially because I would have to meet the guy about an hour away by myself. At this point it was lunch time, I was nursing Tara & wrapping up my project on the computer. The little boys were in & out, the big kids were getting ready, & Tim & I were discussing the meeting. Being a police officer, he cautioned me on traveling with that much cash alone to meet a stranger who for reasons unknown to us, unusually had 2 cell phones for sale. I reassured him & casually suggested taking his small handgun “just incase”. He agreed, started to get the gun out & load it. It was our normal chaotic “getting ready mode” – kids in & out, everyone doing their own thing. I was half paying attention to Tim & what everyone else was doing. I told my big kids to get their shoes on & grab a bite to eat while I made a quick phone call. Tim & Truman went to lie in the other bedroom to get a break from the heat & watch TV. My room emptied, I had nursed Tara to sleep by now & was taking advantage of 5 minutes of quietness before I left. I was on the phone for maybe 3 minutes & heard a loud noise coming from my porch just outside my bedroom. I looked up & saw Trevor standing in my doorway. I asked him what the noise was but he didn’t know. Assuming it was my dogs knocking a mason jar off the table outside, I told Trevor to go check to see what the noise was. (As I type this my stomach is in knots thinking of what I almost sent my 6 year old to do…) Something inside of me (the Holy Spirit – without a doubt) kicked me into mommy mode & I went with my instincts. I flew out of bed, dropping the phone & waking Tara up, telling Trevor to keep her from falling off the bed as I rushed out the door. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to find, how my entire family’s life was about to change… I found Truman lying on the ground bleeding from his eye. Initially, I had no idea what was happening. My “mommy to many boys” instincts took over. As I picked him up I told myself he was going to be okay & I started screaming for Tim, but when I held him I didn’t feel his arms squeeze me like they so often had all the other times I embraced him. I gave him to Tim & immediately called 911. Retelling the story is not easy for me on so many levels. First, it has been so traumatic I don’t remember everything in detail – it’s like labor – you kinda know what happen, not exactly in order, & are foggy on specifics. Almost any time a young child has an accident the responsibility lies on an adult. There is no denying we are responsible for our son’s death. We made a fatal mistake. So when I tell you there was less than a 1-2 minute time frame our son had access to a loaded gun, it is not an excuse or an attempt at trying to avoid responsibility. Tim & I struggle daily with carrying the responsibility & not allowing guilt to consume us. As much as I don’t want my son’s death to be about the accident, I want to tell you that if you have a gun it should NEVER be loaded unless you are personally wearing it. Since Truman’s accident we have discovered & been told about numerous gun accidents involving a child. We have stored our weapons unloaded in a locked gun safe & kept the ammunition stored high in another room. We never thought in the moment that we were being careless or endangering our child, but even he best of intentions can still lead to deadly consequences so please don’t let our son’s death be in vain.
There are details following the accident that our family wishes to keep private at this point (for our own heeling, not anything we are trying to hide or keep a secret) & questions we aren’t ready to answer, but the story doesn’t end here. More than I want to tell you what happened, I want to tell you what God has done & continues to do for our family. It wouldn’t do Truman’s life justice to end this blog focusing on the accident, because as it would seem that God turned His back on our family & wasn’t looking in those few moments of the accident when our worlds went wrong, He was still very much in control. Before I went in the house to tell my other kids that Truman went to Heaven I put my hands on the same door I found Truman outside of, closed my eyes, & I prayed. I begged God to let His light shine down through this tragedy. When Talon died I would have slapped anyone that even suggested good would come from his death. It took years for me to be able to see God’s hand in that deep of a loss. I told God (as if He didn’t know) that my kids were going to need to see Him in this & feel His presence immediately. If they couldn’t see Him through this they may never give it to Him. I needed to see Him too. As the day grew darker, His light seeped in through our friends & family that surrounded us. Through completely numbness & heartache I could feel Him holding me up. A couple days later Tim (who had been uncontrollably wailing nonstop) & I were lying in bed & he looked over at me & said, “I want your faith.” He has always been very supportive of my faith & raising our children with Christian values, but he never took the role as the spiritual leader nor did he ever completely surrender his life to God. There were years of our marriage that I begged, pleaded, threatened & blackmailed him into church, but over our 10 year marriage I realized I was not his god & it was not my job to convict him – God himself would do that in His timing. My job as his wife was to let my walk speak for itself, to allow him to see Christ in me & hopefully seek Him. Never did I ever think that Truman’s death would bring Tim closer to God, because to be quite honest he grew very angry & turned away from God when Talon died. But that morning I looked into the eyes of a broken man & he wanted to be saved. I walked him through the ABC’s of a believer. I told him faith is not something you earn – it is a gift – you have to ask for it & accept it. I told him to admit he believes in Jesus Christ as his savior & to confess his sins to him. In his deepest despair my husband ask Jesus into his heart. That afternoon our pastor was praying with Tim, asking God to give him comfort in knowing that Truman was in a better place. During that prayer Tim (the same man who used to reason with me – suggesting that the people from “the burning bush story” were smoking dope) said God gave him a beautiful vision of Truman surrounded by light running joyfully in love. If you are a believer you know exactly what the description of light & love are – my friends that is what we are told God himself is. God knew my husband. He knew he had to see to believe. He knew exactly what he needed. Don’t get me wrong, this journey is in no way, shape, or form easy. There are days it seems down right impossible, but God knew what Tim needed in order to not give up. During those first few days, the officers on Tim’s shift & some of our closest friends were taking turns staying with Tim – they would not leave him alone for fear he would end his own life. Those aren’t easy words to write, but it is the truth. Our lives have been completely shattered & it is by Grace alone that we are in the beginning stages of mending our brokenness.
Truman’s funeral was described by many as powerful & moving. Tim was baptized following the service in which I shared his eulogy with over 600 people in a standing room only in our church sanctuary & the fellowship hall became an overflow room as well. Now I will share it with you…
I want all of you to know that my faith has not been shaken. “God is good!” That is what the last shirt my sweet boy had on said. Our family has been doing a lot of crying out to the Lord over the last few days & I speak for all of us when I tell you that our God is faithful. He is the same today as He was a few days ago when we could still hear Truman’s little footsteps throughout our house.
As I sat in the middle of my boys’ room – with Truman’s toys scattered across the floor & his drawers still half opened with clothes spilling out & his little cups of dry cereal all over the place – my prayer was that everyone here today sees the glory of God in our family in the midst of this devastating storm. I pray that as we share Truman’s life with you – you will see God in his life. About a week ago Truman asked me, “Mama, where is God?” I told him God was in Heaven & in His heart. Then he got a confused look on his face & said, “I don’t see Him!” I assured him, “He is in your heart baby.” Then he said, “I don’t feel Him?!” I smiled & told him He was there & he just smiled. I know without a doubt Truman is running around in Heaven.
Truman was Tim & I’s fifth son. When we learned we were having “another” boy, Tim immediately insisted on naming him Truman. For the remainder of my pregnancy his name was an on-going debate between Tim & I. He loved the name & I did not (at all). But when Truman was born my doctor (who has delivered all my babies & was aware of the name debate) settled it for us when Truman peed on him before they even cut the cord. My doctor announced, “well he is a ‘true-man’ & will fit right in with your crew.” And he fit right in indeed!
Truman loved being a brother. He thought he was the boss & worked hard at keeping his brothers in line. He never walked away from a fight & took their brotherly teasing so well. Truman had a small obsession with gum & one day I walked in & found Tucker & Trevor holding a small stick with a string tied on with a piece of gum on the end – they were fishing for Truman. They had been teasing Truman with the gum. Eventually he caught it & took off running. Tyler & Truman would go off on 4-wheeler rides together & Tyler would often bring him back asleep in his arms. I am going to miss looking out my window finding Truman & Tucker off on one of their little adventures & bird hunting. Truman had a bit of a different relationship with Trevor than he had with his other two big brothers. Truman got sweet satisfaction out of terrorizing Trevor. And Trevor took it so well. I would often have to get onto Trevor for giving into Truman so much. Trevor would repeatedly tell me, “It’s okay mom, he can have it.” As much as my boys fought, they loved. They could spend hours together playing Lego’s. As a matter of fact, they gave Truman some geography lessons during their own little “legoland.” One day I heard Truman arguing with his brothers on our (map) rug in our schoolroom over who owned Texas & Mexico.
As much as Truman loved his brotherhood he was equally crazy about his sissies. And they tolerated him so well. Tiya was telling us the last time she saw visited us Truman kept shaking his bootie at her. Truman was naked 90% of the time. Taylor & Truman had such a sweet relationship. I’d always get a giggle hearing her manipulate him into rubbing her back. She would say, “No bubba, don’t do it! Don’t you rub my back!” And the next thing I knew his little hands were squeezing her shoulders, both of them smiling ear to ear. Truman was chronically ill from the time he was 10 months old until a few months before his second birthday. I had a lot of snuggle & loving time on him. So you can imagine my concern when Taralyn came along, but Truman was not the least bit jealous. He fell in love with her & took his big brother role very seriously. The other day I swatted Tara for biting me & Truman got very upset with me, “Mommy, don’t spank Tara,” he demanded. I tried to explain, “Truman she bit me!” Then in the sweetest little voice he gently tells his baby sister, “No, no Tara. No biting.” I’m just heartbroken that we aren’t going to get to see that relationship grow.
Truman was quite the ladies man… I was watching videos of him playing with my sister & in his deep big boy voice he just insisted that she stay at “his” house & never go home. He loved his aunt he called “sissy.” One of my favorite stories to tell of Truman this summer is when he asked his babysitter, Macy, how old she was. “I’m 15,” Macy said. Then in a disappointing voice he says, “Oh, I not enough, I just 3.” Truman’s best friend was his cousin, Naomi, who’s just 3 months older that him. He nicked named her “Nam.” Nam is twice his size, but she would just let him boss her & push her around. In fact, the last time they were playing together I overheard Truman telling her to be a “goodBOY.” Those two loved each other so much. Naomi doesn’t talk much, but it never hindered their relationship, he could always understand her. Last week Naomi kept telling her mom & me something & after several attempts of us trying to figure out what she was saying, I finally looked at Truman & asked him what she said. Without any hesitation, he said so matter-of-a-fact, “she wants her Dora cup.”
There were also a couple older women in Truman’s life as well – his grandmas. He loved to go play at his Gammy’s house & fill up on cool-aid & brownies. Truman also made frequent phone calls to my mom – in which he would tell her he “hates her house.” “I hate dat place,” he would say. That was a frequent saying of his. At times he “hated” everything! During dinner he would tell me he “hated” whatever it was I had made. Cereal was all he ever really wanted to eat. Truman was quite the character. He was full of catch phrases. Some of our favorites were when he would “whoo hoo” for us, or tell us he “ewed” (instead of “pooped”) when he went potty & everything was “Dat Mine!!” Every time his PawPaw would visit he’d ask him, “Got gum?” Truman had such a unique personality – to know him was to love him. He was so busy, but he was such a lovebug – always telling us he loved us. And if he ever wanted to tell you something & had the slightest inkling you weren’t listening, he would grab your face & get as close as he could & in the sweetest little voice tell you whatever it was he had to say. Our family is going to miss those little hands around our faces. There are so many special things we are going to miss about Truman . . .
Truman loved eating watermelon, he could eat an entire pack of gum in minutes, he had quite an imagination – I loved hearing him play by himself. I’d even catch him playing with the Diego & Batman charms on his crocs while we were driving in the car. Our schoolroom still has his castle set-up with pirates all around from the last time he played with them.
Truman, being the youngest boy, got lots of mommy time. I spent 2 days a week doing preschool with him. He was so smart & he loved doing school. He especially loved turning our schoolroom up-side-down. He had a tray of dried rice I had dyed for him & it never failed that rice would be all over the place by day’s end. He was my little helper – he loved helping me do laundry & got so excited when I would let him push the buttons on the washing machine. Washing dishes would entertain him almost long enough for me to make dinner. I could never make pancakes without him – by the time he was 2 he knew all the ingredients & would have them all spread out on the counter for me. One of his favorite places to go was to see Charles at the dairy & it always surprised Charles if Truman had clothes on. We made wonderful memories on our trips to the dairy. Our family has a tradition we started years ago – we always eat dinner together & we always go around the table & share the best part of our day. As soon as Truman was old enough to talk – he picked up on our routine & quickly became the initiator. I can almost hear him asking, “I pick you, mommy! Best part?” What I am going to miss most though, is the way he would wrap his little arms around my neck & pat my back.
Some of my favorite stories of Truman are with Tim. He was such a daddy’s boy. He loved his daddy so much. Even after 6 kids, Tim never was big on keeping the little ones, but Truman didn’t give Tim much of a choice. The first thing he would say each morning was, “My daddy home?” If Tim was working he’d insisted on calling him every morning. But the days Tim was home Truman would immediately jump out of bed & begin searching for his daddy. He would swing the door open & “whoo-hoo” for Tim. If Tim didn’t respond quickly enough Truman would begin screaming hysterically for his daddy. Schooling with Truman on Tim’s days off was nearly impossible. He would follow his daddy all over our farm. It didn’t matter what Tim was doing – Truman was right there with him. When it was time to come in he would curl up in bed with him & watch “Bobby Hill.” Truman was unmistakably Tim’s “mini-me.” Truman loved to do everything his daddy did. After Truman came along Tim’s personal fishing time was very limited because he was busy baiting Truman’s hook for him. Early this spring we were all fishing at our lake & Tim had rigged Truman a fishing pole with a bobber & worm on it. Truman caught fish after fish & was so proud of himself. When we got home he had a look of disappointment on his face (since he had fished all on his own for the first time, he thought he was big enough to go on a “big boy fishing trip on Lake Texoma). It wasn’t a few weeks later Tim took ALL his boys on an all day fishing trip. Truman was on top of the world. He was so proud to be your son Tim.
Truman had the most beautiful blue eyes – they had me hook-line-and-sinker, but boy was he a stinker! To say he was a “busy little boy” is an understatement. After only a week of having his new leap pad he had scratched the entire screen to the point of making it unusable. I can’t count all the places he has scribbled on. Just the other day I had bought him new crayons & he got them out & scribbled all over the kitchen table. He was determined to be an artist. Not to mention the time he snuck fingernail polish outside & painted every seat in his daddy’s boat pink. I can’t count the broken toys, or clothes I’ve picked up all over our property from Truman. Did I mention he liked to be naked? He never hesitated stripping down wherever he was.
There is no doubt in my mind that Truman lived a full life in 3 years. In closing I would like to share a story a close friend of mine wrote . . .
“When he opened his eyes, the light was greater than the brightest days on the lake when the sun would reflect off of the water, doubling its glory. This light was not from the sun. It was from the King. It did not cause him to squint or turn away. Instead, his big shining eyes, lakes of sapphire blue, lit up with laughter as he spied the man kneeled on the ground ahead of him. Jesus knelt, arms spread wide, grinning from ear to ear as he waited to embrace His beloved child. Truman’s little legs could not carry him fast enough as he ran toward Him.
The soft grass padded his bare little feet as he ran toward the man he most certainly knew. He squealed with delight as Jesus intercepted him mid-air, and the two tumbled gently to the ground. “I’ve been waiting for you, Truman,” He chuckled. The boy’s tiny fingers gripped His large hands and he noticed they were even bigger than his daddy’s. He looked at Jesus’ wide smile and thought it was even more beautiful than his mama’s. He wanted to know when he would see them again, and the King heard the question in his heart. “Soon, little one. They are all mine, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. You will see them when it is their turn.”
And, more comforted than he had ever been before, Truman nuzzled into the strong chest of the man he had known even before he was knit together in his mother’s womb, and smiled. As he looked around, there were many smiling children surrounding the peaceful King. Right away, they all began to look at another young child parting the crowd as he walked through. “He looks like me,” Truman thought. And he did. He looked like all the other boys who were so loved and cherished in the Scott’s earthly home.
“Bubba!” he shrieked excitedly. Talon and Truman smiled at each other with identical mischievous grins that stretched from one ear to the other. Their thickly lashed blue eyes shone with recognition and Jesus released Truman to embrace his brother. “I’ve been watching you,” Talon said. “We have a lot of playing to catch up on.”
And with that the two brothers began to race across the heavenly fields, laden with countless other laughing children. They stopped for a moment and looked back to see the King’s eyes gleaming with delight. “Welcome home little one,” He said. And with that, claps and cheers from hundreds of heavenly being filled the skies and the boys’ hearts were fuller then they had ever been on earth.”
God’s work in my husband’s heart is not the only thing He has done – He has continued to be faithful throughout this walk in the valley of the shadow of death. Writing has proven to be an outlet for me during this time & I believe God has given me a story to tell. One word – ETERNITY! As Christians we talk about eternity in the sense of the end of the world, the end of our long lived lives. Sweet friends, eternity is today, right now, a phone call away, a drive to the store, a kiss goodnight . . . I couldn’t share it better than Seven Curtis Chapman, “As Crazy as this seems right now, the only thing I can say to honor the life of my sons & our terrible loss at this moment is to ask you, please don’t miss this . . . we will ALL stand here one day & face eternity. If you don’t know the One who can give you eternal life, His name is Jesus . . . you need to meet my little boys in heaven . . . they are amazing!”
I have faced the unthinkable moment. I have stood at heaven’s door & placed 2 of my sweet boys in the arms of Jesus. I have all the reason I will every need to seek His Kingdom.
“…The Lord gives & He takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”