I have never before in my life cried as much as I have this week… Watching neuroblastoma stories on youtube and such. I’m sucked in by them – the more I see, the more I am determined to help them. No child should have cancer!
One story I saw was not about cancer, but instead of a beautiful little girl named Haylee Mazzella. She died in 2006 at the age of 4 due to a needless drowning. Haylee’s mom wanted to go in and change Haylee’s brother’s diaper, but Haylee begged for 10 more minutes in the pool. Her step-grandmother said she’d watch her, and Haylee’s mom reluctantly agreed. But the step-grandmother left Haylee in the pool and went inside. The next thing Haylee’s mom knew, someone was shouting for somebody else to call 9-1-1. She rushed outside, thinking that someone had hurt their foot or something. But instead she saw her daughter on the ground having CPR done on her. She was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. She had been under the water for too long and didn’t have the strength to come back.
All because of one woman’s selfishness! Who does that, leave a 4 year old baby unsupervised in a pool? And why didn’t she have floaties on? It just burns me up inside. Haylee Mazzella was a healthy, happy little girl. It took ten minutes to lose her. An instant. My heart goes out to her family. Wednesday would have been her 10th birthday. I googled her step-grandmother’s name (Laurel Mazzella), trying to find something that said she was at least charged with child neglect, but there was nothing. Instead, I found a youtube video of Laurel holding baby Haylee in the hospital just after she was born. Seriously? Take that off!
I got to know Haylee Mazzella a little bit, reading what her mother wrote about her on her memorial page. Her trademark look was ribbons (usually pink) in pigtails. She loved her baby brother, nicknaming him Bubba from day one. When he would bite her, her mom and grandma (who she called Me-Maw) would tell her to bite him back, but she would say, “I can’t hurt him. He’s a baby and he’s my brother.” She loved dinosaurs and wanted a dinosaur tea party for her 5th birthday, which was 10 days away. She loved animals, even lizards. She was forever catching them and keeping them as pets. She would tell her momma and grandmother that she loved them out of the blue all the time.
The whole thing just breaks my heart. It shouldn’t have happened. It probably wouldn’t have happened if her eejit of a step-grandmother had been watching her as she said she would. Or, if she really had to go inside, if she had just made Haylee get out of that pool. She was the adult. She should have known better.
It makes me want to scream. That little girl should be here today. As should all the children who have died, no matter what the cause of death is. Children should not be allowed to die, period.
This reminds me of my first friend, Missy. We met at Children’s Hospital in Seattle around 1984. She was a few months older than me and had leukemia. My mom told me the nurses had nicknamed us “the smiley sisters” because every time we were together we were smiling. But the one picture she has of us, we are not smiling, but we are holding hands. Missy died not too long after that picture was taken. I don’t remember her, but I am sure I’ll meet up with her again one day, when this life is done. There are so many people up in heaven that I want to meet. My baby cousins, who never took a breath. My great-grandmother who died in a dentist chair when my maternal grandmother and her sister were young. All the neuroblastoma angels. Hundreds and thousands of faces. It’s all I see when I close my eyes at night.