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Sarah Stultz: How can we help others with similar trials?

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


It’s never easy covering a potentially life-threatening crash, particularly when I find out that a child is involved.

This weekend as I heard about the crash involving Maddie Mann, I couldn’t help but think back to my own daughter’s crash four years ago. Sophie would have been the same age as Maddie this year and would have been entering the same grade.

I was glued to social media, looking for updates about this 12-year-old girl from friends and family, hoping and praying for a different outcome than what took place with my own daughter.

You see, Maddie is also a close friend of my niece, and I have heard many great stories about her.

Whether you’ve experienced the serious injury or death of a child or loved one in a crash or through another traumatic experience, I think it’s safe to say that hearing of a similar experience can sometimes be a trigger to bring back difficult feelings.

My heart races and my mind brings me back to four years ago July 2 when we were in the emergency room in shock and simply devastated that our daughter had died.

From the other people I have talked to who have gone through similar situations, they tell me that these difficult feelings may be something I will likely feel the rest of my life. Yes, the pain has eased, but, yes, it still hurts.

When these experiences come up — and they surely will — I try to remind myself what I learned and continue to learn from this trial in my life and think about how I can help others who are experiencing similar trials in their lives.

I also try to think about how wonderful this community is in lifting up families who are going through challenging circumstances. 

While I may never understand God’s timing, I do know that we have to trust him and his will.

I hope the community continues to buoy up Maddie’s family in the days and weeks to come. No matter the outcome ahead, it will be a difficult road.

I also ask that the community continues to lift up the other families who have lost children in recent years, as this likely brings back difficult feelings for them, as well.

We are all praying for a miracle.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.