Tuesday, 9 April 2013

#6 A Silent SOS

Old Man Winter was hanging around like a nasty cold, and March's lamb-like exit (after such a baa-aa-aa-d winter) was nowhere in sight. The snow kept falling and it stayed on (and on and on). When the wet, sloppy stuff fell, it meant mounds of fresh building material for the kids. What they built with that wet, sloppy snow is the cause for this story: snow tunnels. Have fun with them; help your kids build them; supervise their play; but when they're finished playing, please make sure you destroy them.


After calling Carter from our back door, I stepped onto the front porch to call him again. His name fell from my mouth like an icicle falling from the eaves. There he was, not ten steps from me. His hat, mitts, and glasses strewn across the snow. Tears stained his cheeks and the desperate look on his face made my heart sink into my boots.

Carter was stuck in a snowbank where a previous tunnel had been dug. The tunnel had been abandoned and left to shrink in the melting sun, only to harden days later as the temperature dropped. Carter remembered that tunnel. He'd found it and wormed his way into the shrunken hole; still big enough to accommodate his gangly legs.

As I took in the sight before me, I felt sickened. I wanted to turn back the clock ten, twenty, thirty minutes; however long it took to make sure Carter stayed away from that hole.

I made my way over to him, prepared to pull him out, only to discover that his legs were twisted underneath him. Yanking him by the armpits, forcing his body against the rigid snow was not going to free him.

My husband, hearing me bellow, came to the rescue with a spade. He dug away the hardened snow, freeing Carter from the menacing tunnel that days ago had been a source of amusement.

I watched my husband dig, my brain reeling along in overdrive filling my head with worry: Could Carter's leg be hurt? His foot? What if something was broken or sprained? And then filling my heart with guilt: Why didn't I make him come inside when Jack and Taylor came in? Why didn't I check on him sooner?

When we finally examined Carter closely, the worst we discovered was that he was cold. He'd no doubt been frustrated and scared, but physically he was unharmed.

The incident served as a harsh reminder of Carter's vulnerability. He was powerless to help himself; distressed, alone and unable to call out for help. It made me feel sad about the injustice of his situation. And it made me feel angry at myself, knowing that he suffered unnecessarily because of my carelessness.

Not being able to talk means not being able to call for help. 

What would you do if you couldn't call for help?

Disclaimer: Views in the Not Being Able to Speak series are derived from my personal experience with Carter. I do not speak on behalf of others with complex communication needs. It is not my intent to minimize or disregard the power of expression that can be found through the use of augmentative and alternative forms of communication.


  1. Oh Stacey, that brought tears to my eyes. How awful for both of you. So glad to hear it ended well. We just have no idea how much you cope with every single day.

    1. Thank you, Linda. I fought back tears too, and tried to stay focused on getting Carter free. He is such a trooper - a tough little nut, but this was not fun for anyone.

  2. There is so much we take for granted. This post brought tears to my eyes as well, Stacey. I just want to give Carter a giant hug (and you too). Simple, honest post that makes you think. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Anchel. You are a sweetheart! Certainly accidents can happen with all kids but as I said in my post, this was a harsh reminder of Carter's added vulnerability because he can't speak.