Hope Turns to Horror

I grew up with this hope chest, passed down from generation to generation. I am not sure if my mom updated the lock mechanism.

I rarely use the word ironic because it’s so overused. But young siblings suffocating to death in a hope chest is heartbreakingly and horrifyingly ironic.

Police responded to a home in Franklin, Mass. at 8:00 p.m. Sunday after a relative found 8-year-old Lexi Munroe and her brother, Sean, 7, inside the family hope chest completely unresponsive. The children were last seen alive at dinner, two hours earlier, and police are trying to piece together exactly what happened afterwards.

A hope chest is a symbol for new beginnings. It is not a death chamber. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen, but they do. And that scares the $hit out of me as a mom.

So far, it’s being labeled as a terrible tragedy.

So far, a loud television is being blamed for drowning out their cries.

So far, it seems like nothing is amiss. More than one adult was present, including their dad. The elementary schoolers were off playing by themselves in their own home.

So far, distraught family members are fully cooperating with investigators.

Instead of empathizing with the Munroe family, who must be smack-dab in the middle of hell, many moms are in critical mode. How could the children be left alone for two hours without someone checking in? Didn’t they suspect something was wrong when things got really quiet (moms believe silence=scary behavior)? How is it possible no one heard the screams of not one but two kids in a modest ranch-style home? Didn’t they hear the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled hope chests that only lock from the outside because other kids have met the same fate?

As a parent, I understand the questions. My almost-four-year-old can’t even poop with the door closed (sorry, Alex). And when Ashley was in elementary school I can honestly say I never let her disappear for any real amount of time. I don’t trust kids’ judgment. If that makes for higher therapy bills later on in life I will start saving now.

I am a cautious mom but I am far from perfect. Alex poops on display because one day he locked me out of the bathroom by opening a vanity drawer in front of the door. He was alone with small appliances and adult-sized Q-tips and faucets and cleaners laughing hysterically at me fighting back tears. I learned the hard way that he could banish me from a bathroom with no lock and we he survived.

The siblings who died were likely playing a game of hide-and-seek gone terribly wrong. I feel for the family and for the first responders who will fall asleep tonight seeing those little angels’ faces. Yes, I wonder why they were left alone for so long, but I know parents who love their kids and do the same thing. They celebrate with a glass of wine when their kids disappear playing…and they never even consider they might be dead.

Do you think this is a case of the 7- and 8-year-old kids not being supervised closely enough or an innocent accident that could happen to any family?

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3 Responses to Hope Turns to Horror

  1. Mel says:

    I can’t even…… I never fully comprehended the word “terrifying” until I became a mother. And now it seems as if so many things are!!!

  2. Jenna says:

    This is such an awful tragedy. I’m sick to my stomach over it. Skyler is 7 and I am grateful when she is playing quietly or having a play date and they are playing on their own, but she is still a child that needs supervision and I would never leave her unattended in my home. And if there was silence, I would know something was up. Maybe the dad was busy with a project, lost in his own world? Maybe he never in his wildest dreams imagined such a horrible thing could happen…..but 2 hours went by…..why didn’t he realize that?? Something is amiss there.

  3. Perfectly pent written content, regards for entropy. “You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.” by Samuel Butler.

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