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So here's my story - read it and weep (you have been warned)(204 Posts)
I am married with three lovely children (6, 4, 20m). On the first day of the summer holidays I was preparing a barbecue on one side of the house whilst my husband was trying to light a bonfire on the other. He was looking after the baby or was toddling around the courtyard with her dolls pushchair. The older children wer inside watching t.v.
I heard shouting and then my eldest calling on me. I went round to find the bonfire out of control and my daughter's pushchair at the base of it. I went inside to find my husband sobbing and the skin hanging off his hands and arms. My daughter was in the bath screaming. What I thought were her clothes hanging off her was her skin. The ambulance took forever. My daughter was taken first to a hospital 25 min away and my husband to another. She was intially asessed as having 70 % burns. They battled to stabilise her, no one would answer my question ' will she be alright'? She was stablised, ventilated and transferred to a specialist burnes unit in Essex. She spent 32 days in intensive care, underwent 7 operations, survived 2 bouts of pneumonia, partial lung collapse, GI failure, metabolic instability. It was a roller coaster. The first two weeks were critical and she was extremely poorly. Numerous heart breaking conversations were had - I can't descibe the pain of those weeks. My husband was at the same hospital wit 15 % burns.
Once she turned the corner her progress has been fantastic. She has grafts to her face, hands, tummy, legs and large scars all over. Three times a day I have to cream and masage her, apply silicon gels and dressings, and then put on pressure garments (tight mask, gloves, leggings and body suit) that make her look like a super hero). She is extremely itchy and takes 5 drugs for this but still doesn't sleep well and scratches constantly. It wakes about 3/4 hr to do it properly. She develped blood clots so needs twice daily injections of a type of warfarin that I administer. My husband can't help and his hands are slow to heal (he had grafts up to hs elbows) and he has limited movement and pain in his hands.
So - my life is crap! My beautiful bay girls is scarred and uncomfortable (although copes remarkably well). I constantyl have to go through her massaing routine which she is becoming more tolerant of but is staill ahrd. The worst bi is puting on the gloves. She runs to my husband after I have doen the crap bit. We are back and forward to hospital (2 hr each way) once or twice a week. My poor boys have to play second fiddle all the time and I barely saw them throughout the summer. They are wonderfult o ehr though and super protective. Everywhere we go we are stared out and nudged (she wears a pink balaclava, the opressure garment).
However all this will improve as her scars mature (moths/years rather than weeks).
But here's the crux of it. Will I lose my marriage as well? My husband left a bottle of petrol, in a vegtable oil container, about 10 ft away from the bonfire, whilst in charge of a toddler. I don't know whether she picked it up but it was this that exploded. I have berated him 101 times about using petrol on bonfires, also on putting petrol (or any chemical) in stupid containers. He would give his life to turn the clock back and it was an accident. However it was a completely avoidable accident that I hold him 100% responsible for. He is a broken man but as time goes on I am finidng it harder to forgive rather than easier. What are my other options? A single mum working full time with three small children, one of whom needs an awful lot of care? I just don't know.
I don't either. But i offer you much sympathy and a hug.
Oh my God
I don't think anyone can answer your question except you. Only you know how you feel and whether you can forgive him. For what it's worth, I would stick with him. This will take a long time to come to terms with, it's a huge event. You're bound to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, anger - hate - blame etc and you won't know until some time has passed what your real response is.
You don't need to make any decisions yet. It's alright to be angry and grieving and sad and it's alright to take your time, or to keep your distance for now.
If you haven't yet, I really, really suggest you seek counselling. Personal counselling, I mean - what you've been through has left its own scars, it can't not. And if you and your husband talk to someone together as well, it can't hurt.
I have decided to give it at least a year until my daughter dosen't need qute so much care and hopefully things are returning to normal. I agree now is not the time for big decisions. Our happy household is now a dark place. Ther is no out and out hostility and we try to be normal. but it is hard
I am so sorry. I can't offer you any words of wisdom, but I can absolutely understand that you would feel that way.
You poor poor thing. You need to talk this through with a counsellor. Just you, at first, maybe your husband as well later.
The hospital provide psychotherapy support - and they are very proactive in talkign to us (separately). However they rarely say more than: 'you're bound to feel like that'
I really feel for you. A terrible accident, huge strain for you all.
I would find it very hard to forgive too. I would like to think I could - would like to think that if I had made a terrible mistake then I would be forgiven, but I don't know if I could do it.
Do you feel a bit like you are grieving? For how life was 'before'?
It was an accident and your DH will live with this guilt and constant reminder forever.
Yes he was stupid but the past cannot be undone and you can only go forward with this.
I think you are being very cruel continually berating him .
This is a time for the whole family to pull together instead blame seems to be pulling you apart.
I think you need some counselling to help you through this both for yourself and as a couple.
I'm so sorry, what an awful situation and from your post you are coping incredinly well. I cant imagine how i would feel but like you I imagine I would struggle to forgive immediatly but maybe in time, accidents sadly happen.
Its early days so I would let some time pass - maybe until next Summer. Then maybe you can make a more 'removed' decision.
Excuse my dreadful spelling !
Doha Are you being serious - she is being cruel???? She is watching her baby in agony and is upset at the events that led to this. Give the woman a break
Oh I am so so sorry, what a heartbreaking story. I think you must all still be in shock, it is really very recent. I agree with the others, I think do nothing for a while, quite a long while probably. I am sorry to hear the counselling isn't really helping at the moment, but if I were you I would keep going just so that you can be angry/upset without worrying about anyone else in your family. Big hugs, my heart really goes out to you xx
I never berate him - nothing is ever said. He accepts full responsibility, end of. He will never forgive himself. I desperately want to forgive him, just don't know if I can. Remember I have been the one to deal with this, he was out of it throughout much of here critical phase, he didn't sit and watch the alarms constantly going off. He never understood what was going on. I have a medical background and understood everything. Now I have to do ALL of her 'looking after', I also have to look after my two other children and him.
Doha - Please don't call me cruel.
How truly dreadful. I hope your daughter makes a fabulous recovery.
Your DH is a stupid, stupid bastard but I am sure that he knows that. Personally I don't think I could ever forgive him and it would drive a wedge between us. But only you know how you will react over the coming months/years. Maybe you need each other for support.
Fwiw, I know of a family where the father was running a bath for his daughter, left the hot tap running and left the room, and she climbed in. She was badly burnt. The parents did eventually separate. He always made out his wife was a bit unhinged, but maybe it was the 'accident' that made her that way. He went on to remarry and have more children. Sorry, that probably isn't helpful.
Are there any support groups for people in your situation?
I am so so sorry that your DD has suffered in this way.
Bulletproofmum, please don't think people think you are cruel. I totally understand where you are coming from, I am sure I would feel the same
I don't think anyone can imagine a fraction of the horror your family has faced this year and far less stressful situations have broken up a very many relationships.
If you can get some good counselling support I would use that as a way of working through all of your feellings, however extreme. I imagine the shock will be with you for many years to come and you are now in a grieving cycle - grieving for the childhood, the family life, the skin, the relationship etc etc that has changed forever. That is going to take a long time to deal with and a decent counsellor will be able to guide you through that journey.
Whatever you say to your husband, however you berate him, however many times you punch/scream/dig at him you will never change what happened and I doubt you will be able to make him feel any worse than he does already.
Whether you stay or leave, he can never make it better and that is what is going to end up driving you insane, drive you apart or making you decide to move forward together.
Shelve those thoughts, deal with the here and now, get whatever support you can possibly get for yourself and for your family.
I hope the recovery continues well.
Lizzy totally or real
Her DH made a horrendous mistake and he lived with the scars and reminder looking at his DD every day for now and ever more.
For the OP to constantly berate him 101 times as she has herself admited, in my opinion, very cruel and unnecessary
Your poor DD. I completely understand how you feel. What a fool. And you told him repeatedly.
A bottle of petrol
In a container for something else
Near a bonfire
With a toddler around
I couldn't forgive that.
OMG! I have no advice but want to give you a very unmumsnetty hug.
So for all of you
No, no, not at all cruel. Strong and brave and coping (yes coping well with a hideous situation. Yes, do nothing about your marriage yet. Just take each day (hour, even ) as it comes.
Where diod I admit to berated him 101 times?
Reread - I said I berated him 101 times before the accident (an exaggeration but often enough) about these things. I have not needed to say anything since. He knows
Doha- I understood it as OP was berating her DH before the accident.
I'm so sorry that this has happened but oh my, how judgemental people can be
yes, what he did was so so stupid but what would you expect his reaction to be if you had an accident which hurt your DC? what if you tripped on the stairs while carrying your DC because you hadnt cleared away the crap that was there and the result was that she was seriuosly injured?
im not defending what he did - it was wrong and, like i said, so stupid but it was an accident.
ride things out until everyones health improves and see whats left then.
Doha - she is not berating him now. I read it that she told him 101 times prior to the accident about safety.
She doesn't know if she can forgive. Totally separate things. And that feeling of not thinking you can forgive someone just eats you up because you want to.
And everyone wants the clock to go back.
I would take each day at a time OP. You have a lot of shock and trauma to work through. You'll have been in auto-pilot whilst in hospital and initially getting back home. Now reality is hitting home.
Get all the help you can... Try all the forms of support until you find one that really helps.
I would find it very hard to forgive, especially that you told him off for being irresponsible with it many times.
But now it's not a good time to be making any decisions, imo. Give yourself few months, a year.
I'm very sorry for what happened to your DD.
What a terrible situation to be in. I understand that on your part forgiveness is not readily forthcoming, and it is no surprise given the circumstances. Your poor little girl and poor poor you. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by giving yourself time.
DOHA - The OP says she 'berated him 101 times about using petrol on bonfires, also on putting petrol (or any chemical) in stupid containers' NOT for the accident and it's consequences.
OP - I am so sorry you're going through this. I don't know how I would feel in this situation but completely understand where you're coming from. Take care of yourselves.
I'm very sorry about what happened to your daughter.
I can't really imagine what I would do, but I think it might depend on what things were like before the accident.
I don't know. I think you're wise to leave it for a year.
Doha - you've made your point, but I think the OP needs support. I'm guessing this exact scenario is not something you've been thru so ease off on the judgment.
OP - my heart goes out to you. Please be kind to yourself and be proud that you are coping so well in the circumstances. This is a trauma, and trauma brings anger, guilt etc even where there is no obvious cause, in your case there is something to focus on so it is natural to do so.
I am so sorry that there are no quick or easy answers for you. I hope you get support and help and love.
Your poor family. As much as I understand that your husband will be punished every day of his life, personally I couldn't forgive. Under the circumstances I think you are keeping a very level head about things.
Oh your poor DD and your poor family, all of you. I absolutely agree that some kind of counselling would be helpful. I also don't think you should be making such decisions about your marriage now. There is so much at stake. Your boys have been through so much as well as your DD. Splitting up now would not make things better. Try not to torture yourself, you do not have to forgive your husband now if ever but you do need to find a way to carry on whether you are together or not. The most important thing is caring for your children, once DD is a little bit more recovered and life is back on track you can put your mind to how you feel about your DH.
I think it is such early days, I wouldn't be able to forgive my DH something like that so soon. Think about your marriage pre-accident, your family life etc. Has the accident made you stop loving your DH? So much to think about, you poor thing.
I really hope your DD continues to heal well.
yes, Doha - I also read it as she berated him before the accident - to prevent it. (grammatical tense error made it read differently)
She hasn't berated him since the accident, and she's said that she's trying to act normally.
BPM [big hugs]
It will be hard for a long time, and obviously, you know that. It's such a big thing.
You do need to stick with the counselling though - maybe some CBT?
I guess we need to start on relationship counselling. We are not 'talking' enough about what has happened.
Our marriage was happy enough before hand. Usual prblems most couples have with small children but nothing major or worrying
Bullet, I don't think you're cruel. I think you're suffering under immense stress and strain, and broken hearted every time you look at your precious DD, and frightened about the future. I think you probably look at the man you married, and trusted to take care of you and your children, and don't know how to feel now that he 'caused' this unimaginable pain to your baby. I think you are trying to hold everything together, as if it is normal, when it isn't and never will be the 'normal' you had before again. I think I'd be furious at the whole world, DH, the fates, whatever, in your shoes. I think my rage would be all consuming, and the worse for having to be hidden because the day to day care must be done. I don't think you're cruel. I think you're amazing.
I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear your story and also that I really don't think I would ever forgive my DH for doing something like that. I don't think he'd forgive me either. So no judgement from me on how you are feeling. I just really admire you for keeping going.
I don't think right now is the time to be making any decisions regarding your marriage. You're under a great deal of stress and no doubt a lot of emotional turmoil, and the last thing you need to do is put more strain on yourself by tackling a divorce. I agree with all of those who urged you to get some counseling, and I would probably get your husband to attend counseling as well (albeit separately from each other for the time being).
I don't think you should feel bad about being unable to forgive him, you feel how you feel, and if your marriage does fail because of this, then I also don't think you should feel bad about that, but for the time being your daughter & sons need you both to be strong and stick together.
This is a terrible story. Huge sympathies to you and your family OP!
There is nothing to forgive. It was an accident. Was done out of the malicious intent it would be a completely different story. You may feel that your dh was stupid in the way he acted, which is fair enough, your feelings for him may have changed as a result of his actions and this is fair enough, but there is nothing in your story to suggest that you are in a position to forgive or not.
OP, please continue with your counselling, maybe seek a different counselor if you are not happy with the present one. Your feelings are completely normal and valid but you do need help to properly rationalize what happened in the context of your relationship. Maybe you will decide to split and maybe it is for the best, but do not act just yet. Too emotional right now.
I'm indeed in tears writing this. I'm so sorry this has happened.
Most definitely see a counsellor together, you have so much to deal with as a family you need some help to give you the guidance to get through these difficult times .
I'm sure you must be emotionally and physically pushed further than you thought you would ever cope with, but you are doing it! keep going brighter days will come.
Send a huge huge ((hug))
BPM, I'm so sorry too, what a dreadful time for you all. I just wanted to echo others saying don't rush into anything.
I do know that there are stats re the very high break up rate of couples who suffer the death of a child, and I'm guessing that this scenario is similar in many ways, especially when one of the couple bears some responsibility for it that the other doesn't. Some of it also seems to be learning how to handle things when each of you grieve in different ways, and if nothing else, you're clearly having to deal with the fall out in different spheres.
I think you're right, you will need to think about counselling, because there are real issues here about how each of you is feeling which aren't going to just go away, they will fester unless you work through them. Even if you separated, he is still your children's father so you will have some kind of relationship with him which you need to be able to deal with. I would also encourage you that friends of mine who have had to deal with the death of their son do say positively that no one else really knows how it feels than the other parent, so they are also glad to have worked things through so they can support each other.
What a terrible thing I'm so sorry for you all.
At first I could only see that your husband was totally to blame and probably wouldn't be able to forgive him either but I have read the first paragraph of you OP again and although your husband was very very stupid I think it was an accident that happened because 2 busy parents like most of us do at one time or the other took their eye off the ball for a moment.
I can't judge there have been moments of carelessness and lack of thought in my house that I look back on and think "jesus christ where was my head?" it was only sheer luck that we didn't end up in a horrific position like yours or similar.
I pray that your little girl continues to recover and that as a family you are able to find some peace.
i have no advice, only a huge amount of sympathy. this is heartbreaking. i am in tears reading this.
i would find this incredibly hard to forgive. that isn't to say i wouldn't try but it would be very hard.
only time can help you move on and you will know how you fill as things get back (slowly) to a 'normal' way of life.
i am wishing you massive amounts of strength to get through this. and for your DH. this must be so hard for him too.
Apologies OP but l read it as you were continuing to berate him since that accident, l completly take back the bit about being cruel.
duverdayplease do not presume to know anything about me. I have worked in Canniesburn Hospital, which is the BIG plastic surgery hospital in Scotland. I have seen burns etc and know the fall out that comes with it. That is why l suggested counselling which would benefit them both individually and as a couple. Too many relationships fall apart after a major trauma in life.
OP i truely wish you and your family all the best in the difficult yeras that are ahead
Hi, I just typed and lost message so this will be less eloquent than my first I expect!
BPM - I honestly think it is early for relationship counselling, after such a trauma I would think you have only just started to process what happened. I don't think it is uncommon to talk less after a major shock. My younger child almost died and it took 18 months before my husband and I were even out of the dark really.
Perhaps joint counselling about the incident itself would be helpful, but do go easy on yourselves. It is hard for people who are hurting to have good relationships, you must both be hurting so much. The question really is how to deal with that hurt and keep going with the key priorities in your family. In some ways it doesn't matter whether you can be with your husband long term or forgive him, what matters now is how you get through this month, and the year ahead.
I remember when I was in the aftermath of my son's illness I was desperate for everything to be better, one of the worst things was seeing the impact it was having on me, my elder child, my marriage, my whole life. But sadly we can't rush through the process of adjustment we have to make after a big shock, especially a shock with long term consequences for a loved one.
I know there are organisations supporting burns victims and their parents/carers - have you had any support from them? I just wonder if it would be good to speak to other people who have experienced something close to what you have.
I second the poster who said you sound amazing. You do.
What a tragedy, I cannot begin to understand what you and your whole family are living through.
All I can say is no one however strong could get through this intact without help. I would recommend counselling for you and if your husband agrees for him and possibly couples counselling. Don't underestimate what you have been through and are living through every day, you could even be suffering from post-traumatic stress. All your strength is used up on your poor daughter - quite rightly, but you need help to sort out your own feelings and save your relationship.
You are going to need a lot more strength over the coming months and years, don't hesitate to reach out to the professionals for help.
I am so sorry.
You are a remarkable woman and deserve all the medals going for the care you have given your little girl and the strength you have shown.
But I know you have had no choice, just had to get on with it.
The alone-ness of those first weeks must have been immense, and as you say, you were left to deal with it without the support of your DH.
I can't imagine that anything anyone else can ever say can be as damning as how your DH feels towards himself, and his beloved child will be a lifelong reminder of his mistake.
But you live with that too.
Your dd needs love and support more than ever.
Forgiveness may enable the two of you to provide that support better together, but I don't think you should torture yourself with what you ought to do or feel, or what you should do or feel.
Maybe some independent trauma counselling for you, more time, time, time, and maybe then some couple counselling? Because even if you cannot ultimately live with him, you are both still her parents for ever.
And thank goodness there IS an ongoing 'for ever' for her.
Best wishes to all of you for her continued healing and your ongoing strength.
I often think to myself how lucky i am that none of my mistakes have had catastrophic results.
Many, many people make mistakes, take risks, do the wrong thing at the wrong moment, and by the grace of god, or luck, no-one suffers. Are those people less culpable for their mistakes than those who make the exact same mistake but the results are horrific?
I don't know, have no answer, but all of us have a heart-jolting moment where we thank our lucky stars that the worst didn't happen.
omg i am actually fighting back my tears you poor woman my heart really does go out to you as stupid as he was im sure he is being punished by the guilt feeling of causing the family such pain i wish your daughter well i know its too soon but hope you will forgive him and move on because hate can consume you its not good for the kids big hug coming your way xxxxxxxxxx
How terrible. I am so sorry for what you've been through. Definitely don't take big decisions about your relationship now. Anger is normal, impossible to avoid it, but let it ebb and flow for a while, and stick with the counselling. Then see how you feel in a year or so as your daughter's life gradually becomes less difficult. How are your DH's injuries now? Is he still in a lot of physical pain too? Does he need help with things? It must be so hard, I am truly sorry. x
A very similar thing happened to my mum's best friend. Both her DCs were burnt (one very seriously so, the other superfiical burns). I understand all about the pressure mask, grafts and creams.
15 years later she is still with her DH (he was at fault like in this case) and they are now very happy together.
Best wishes to you and your DD. I just can't imagine the pain and suffering you are all going through.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
This is awful, and you have my full sympathy.
Whether or not you get through it as a couple is, I think, up to you. Counselling, for you as a couple and for you on your own, could help a lot.
A friend found herself in a similar situation with a less happy outcome. Her daughter died as the result of a small but critical error on the part of her husband. After much agonising, she came to the conclusion that it was something that could have happened to anyone - and she is right. We all make mistakes and take risks, and most of us are lucky.
She has worked incredibly hard on her marriage, and on rebuilding trust, as has he. And to their absolute credit, they have come through it and have had more children. I am in awe of them, and what they have done. So it is possible, but it won't be easy.
I've asked for my last post to be removed as it outs me a bit but have PMd you.
I always get a warm feeling in my tummy when someone apologizes on MN instead of digging their heels in. Good apology Doha.
I am so sorry for what you are going through x
OP. I am so terribly sorry for everything you and your family are going through. I cannot begin to understand your conflicting emotions but it seems like you have tremendous strength of character which I hope will continue to bring your daughter the best possible outcome. I will say that unfortunately I am acquaintances of a couple who lost their toddler daughter about 5 years ago due to a scalding accident. In this instance without giving too much away there was a houseful of guests, each parent thought the other parent had an eye on their only child and the worst thing in the world happened. I know that they had an incredibly difficult time - outside of the obvious dealing with their grief at the loss of the daughter - with the blame issue (although perhaps different in they each thought the other and themselves culpable) but with heavy duty individual and joint counselling they were able to come through it together. I don't believe it has been an easy road but I write it to let you know it is possible to live along side, of course it is something that is always there and cannot be simply 'gotten over'. I wish you all the best in your daughter's road to recovery and the best possible outcome for you in your personal life. Lots of love.
Oh OP I am so sorry to hear your story. I have a 22mth old myself. Oh God.
I suppose my advice would be, firstly as others have said, to deliberately and consciously set aside the making of any decision for a long time, a year at least. Set that aside, do not make it another 'thing' to think about. It's a decision for the future.
Secondly, counselling, for yourself, alone, NOT through the hospital, something tailored to this particular issue - that of forgiveness, and blame. I think you need it. From your OP it is quite clear that this is THE major thing for you right now, the stumbling block to everything, and it's not going to go away. I imagine you feel totally torn by even having these emotions, with your husband also so injured (i.e. he also has to live with pain and disfigurement HIMSELF - you do not, etc.). There is NO point in telling yourself, or being told soothingly that it's natural to feel like this, etc. - it's a huge blocker and you need help to decide how you will process this.
Because this IS real. I can see how you have arrived here and there's no point in pretending it will dissipate. I quote Catsdontcare -
'although your husband was very very stupid I think it was an accident that happened because 2 busy parents like most of us do at one time or the other took their eye off the ball for a moment.'
- not really, no. What does the OP's first post home in on - the fact that I have berated him 101 times about using petrol on bonfires, also on putting petrol (or any chemical) in stupid containers. He would give his life to turn the clock back and it was an accident. However it was a completely avoidable accident that I hold him 100% responsible for. - the point that Doha misunderstood, the fact that those stupid, stupid, dangerous actions were his, and that OP had clearly told him a thousand times NOT to take those chances, not to do those irresponsible things. The can exploded because it had bloody petrol in it - what is the point of pretending that could have happened to anyone when it wouldn't have if he'd not taken that chance - THAT is clearly the point where the OP is stuck, where she cannot move forward (into forgiveness, separation - whatever)?
(Not getting at you there Catsdontcare - hope that didn't come out wrong).
OP, you need help with it. Firstly processing and then having a means to move on. The starting point, as others have said, is perhaps that everyone DOES make mistakes and everyone DOES take chances. The second point perhaps is that disasters happen. Yes it was his fault, but it was also an unlikely, awful disaster - in the aftermath, what is more important - surely moving forward as a family to all do the best to not make the effects of the disaster worse. Thirdly, that there being this aspect to it all is much, much harder on all of you than if it had been a random event, such as a car accident. It adds several levels of confusion, hurt - so much more to cope with.
You can't deal with this hideous set of feelings alone, and especially not given what else you have to contend with.
Also OP - to say - your little girl is still here. When I started to read your post my awful first thought would be that the ending of it would have been far far more tragic. I'm so glad that isn't the case.
I'm so, so sorry to hear of your terrible accident, Bullet. Yes, you must be in shock, traumatised and grieving. Of course you are.
Of course you are beyond angry at your husband's mistake. Of course you feel lonely and unsupported while you tend to your brave girl's injuries. You must feel as though you've been catapulted out of normal life, into some kind of living nightmare. You wouldn't be normal if you didn't. It's horrific - and natural.
His mistake was a mistake. Avoidable, yes. Unusual, no. He doesn't help with DD because he can't - his hands are burnt. You are alone in this, and it's a terrible burden for you.
It will get better. The future of your family isn't what it was six months ago; this in itself is a massive shock and a readjustment. Your mental and emotional landscape has changed forever, as for all of your family. Don't underestimate this: it's grief. It takes more than a year to begin subsiding. As DD's burns improve, and DH's, and you dare to feel sure of the long-term effects, you'll start to see what the future looks like. It's far too early for that yet.
I'm relieved to hear you're doing therapy. Don't expect them to tell you what to think or feel, therapy's more about constructing your own thoughts. I'm sure your thoughts are still reeling from shock, so talking about them is the best course for now. You need to take sufficient care of yourself just now, too, and call on your supporters as often as you need them. You can also ring Samaritans when it feels overwhelming - they're great listeners.
You might find it helpful to read up a bit on grief and post-traumatic stress.
Don't make any decisions or assumptions for now. It's too early. Don't worry about your relationship or forgiveness for now. Just take care of you and yours, making sure there's enough happiness in your lives - doesn't matter if there isn't much; moments will do for now. Thinking of you all.
I am really sorry to hear your story. A wake up call to all I think, when it comes to children and fire.
But I dont think you can say that your husband is 100% to blame. You are probably going to hate me for saying this, but I reckon you are both in part to blame. Two adults, three children. Two fires, one on EACH side of the house, where non of you could see what was going on and keep an eye out.
I think if you are able to accept that in yourself, it will be a lot easier to forgive your husband. I know, however, it is easier for ones own conscience to shift blame 100% to somebody else. Yes, it was stupid to look after a toddler with an open fire, and use petrol. But it was equally stupid to light another fire out of view when this was going on. The fact that the two of you made the decision that this was safe, means you should both shoulder some blame.
It was an awful accident, and it has affected your entire family. But it was nevertheless an accident.
BulletProofMum - aside from my PM you may also find this group useful http://www.burnedchildrensclub.org.uk/.
There's a contact page on there. I think they are near you as they are based in Essex.
They are lovely, people. While medical professionals are great, sometimes just being able to talk to another parent who really understands where you are right now can be a massive help.
I'll be thinking of you this afternoon.
I have no words, and nothing to make this better, but let time pass. I think it may be easier for your kids if you stay together (but perhaps not if its horrible in front of them), and I dont think it would be any easier for you if you dont.... not for now anyway.
I have been in situations where I have had to 'just live' for a while, perhaps thats all that can be expected for now? I dont know if you will stay together, but I think you should absolutely have counselling, seperate and couple. It might at least give somewhere for the feelings to go other than round and round your family.
My DP has a different view of what is risky for the kids than me, he does stupid things like leaving tools lying around etc. We talk about it often. He forgets. If something happened because of that to my kids I dont know what I would do. He would have done nothing differently, loved our kids no less, but the world would have changed. I choose to stay with him, through this risk. I guess I am with him now so that is my choice. I just dont know.
I dont know if you have to be brave, or if you just have to keep breathing in and out for long enough and let time help a little. Then see where you both are. I am so sorry this has happened to you all.
Maybe it would help to think you don' t have to forgive or nor forgive, yet. Just concentrate on getting through each day as friends, caring for all your family. Things will work out as they are meant too and hopefully your husband has learnt his lesson.
FWIW DD ended up in hospital after an accident while in my care and she needed a major operation. DH and I sat in the hospital for hours with our new born baby and didn't say a word to each other. I was scared to speak to him in case he was mad at me, he thought I would be cross with him. As I left her in the operating theatre I fell into his arms and sobbed but yet we couldn't speak. It never entered his head to blame or leave me, he knew it was an accident.
Your husband didn't listen to you and it is yolur daughter who is paying the highest price. Don't let her lose her parents being together too.
Quint has a point though I am sure neither parent expected the accident to happen. I am a worrier and always think things through in terms of what might happen. Clearly in my above post, I hadn't done that. I do now.
You poor thing - I can't imagine what you must be going through. I do think that you need to take some time, both for you and your family, before making any rash decisions. I am sure your husband beats himself up everyday for his actions. I think you both need counselling - individually and together - maybe talking about things will help you to make the right decision.
I wish you and your family all the best in the future and send you lots of hugs xx
Quint - I hve frequently blamed myself too. However my husband was looking after the baby whilst I was preparing the BarBQ. The gas Barby wasn't lit - I was trailing stuff in and out. There is a large pond near the barby area - something I was paranoid about. I had berated DH only 2 days before for leaving the baby in the courtyard whilst he took rubbish down the drive leaviogn the gate and access to the pond open.
Yes - in hindsight (what a wonderful thing) it was stupid to leave her with DH when he was in charge of a bonfire. It just wouldn't have crossed my mind that he would be so stupid to leave a bottle of petrol, in a plastic container near a fire.
We have all had near misses. And there are a 100 what if's. If I hadn't been insistent on chickens, if I had got home later, if if if if if if if.
I don't see this accident as equivalent to toys on stairs etc, hot cups of tea. Thre are things that we do which may cause accidents and we know they may cause accidents (baths, scalds etc), fires, bonfires, log fires, gas lights in tents, petrol in a plastic container near a bonfire crossed aline. Particularly as I had asked hime not to do this. accidents are always a build up of small things. In this case these things were big and previously been pointed out.
Doha - thanks for the apology.
You poor Woman - you must still be in a kind of shock, after witnessing what you did that day.
My sister suffered a terrible accident 20 yrs ago as a teen. It was no one's fault but my aunt who was the first to see her after what happened was shaken for many, many years after.
I think it is so understandable that you are angry at your husband. He was so, so stupid and your DD paid the price of that.
I truly wish you peace and your DD a recovery and good health.. I pray you get back to a kind of normality.
How fragile we actually are.
I am despererate to keep my marriage. I want to remain as a family. DH is a good father and we were happy before. I am just scared at the moment we won't be able to. As time passes I find it harder not easier. I know it's early days - but it's so bloody hard. I just want my life back.
I went back to work a couple of weeks ago. It's great as I get a break from being a carer and DD is well cared for and happy at nursery.
For what it's worth, I agree with you OP. I think he was negligent. I don't think you can talk or think yourself out of that, no matter what other people say
BMP - You can keep your marriage and you will get your life back. No it won't be exactly the same as it was before, but it won't be this awful for ever.
I am not surprised its getting harder. You've spent the last months having to deal with the "Now" of it all. Having to do things that are so hard, but have to be done and have to be coped with. Its only when the urgency f it all calms down that you have time to realise what a huge adjustment and change it has made to all of your lives. The relief that she, and you, survived those hard first months is being replaced with you coming to terms with the changes this has made to all of your lives.
I liken it to PTSD and I think what the parents of children with serious burns or other serious injuries really go through this. It is hard.
Right - I'm at work and weepy - time to get off here - thanks for all of your support and comments. I'll keep you posted.
Last time I was on MN was when I was pregnant with DD - strange coming back here. I guess I needed some anonymous support, opnions. My story is fairly distinct so outed I will be.
That's a truly shit situation, OP. Pleased to see you're getting back to work and stuff. Hope you can get counselling to get through it. Best wishes
BH - thanks. It's what I need to focus on.
Bullet, I think you've taken the first step. You are desperate to keep your marriage, you want to remain as a family. The emotions you are feeling now are so strong but as your DD recovers and with the passing of time you will be in a better position to deal with your relationship with DH. For now you need to be strong for your children, don't feel you have to forgive him. The passing of time will certainly help.
Really sorry for you and your whole family. A good counsellor is probably a wise route as many have suggested. I agree that we all probably taken the odd risk with our kids and had real moments of relief when things have turned out fine at times but I think petrol near a fire with a young child/ren is certainly on another level. I think feeling the way you have said towards your dh is more than understandable and although blame is not healthy and i'm sure he feels dreadful, you are only human and will have all kinds of feelings about him and the situation. Take your time and seek advice on how to move forward as a family when you are ready.
What a situation for you all. All the best.
Big hugs to you and your children especially your little girl.
i am so sorry you are going through this. I don't know if I could forgive my DH but I do think it is too early and raw to decide. Give youself time. You probably need his support for now anyway.
poster who said Op was being cruel to her DH WTF? Really have a word. If that was my DH, the least I would do is berate him. He did something very very stupid and it has very severe consequences.
glad to see DOha has apologised.
It is only natural that you mourn the life you had. It did change your lives, and you cant turn back the clock. I think you need to find a way to focus on rebuilding a new and different life together.
I know you say you dont berate your husband and blame him openly. But surely he knows. Have you spoken about the accident, been honest with each other about what you feel?
It is hard to live with other peoples blame. I know that. My husband blames me that we uprooted our happy family from London and went to Norway, could nearly have lost our business and livelyhood in the process, have experienced insurmountable amounts of stress, plus we have spent a lot of money we dont have on now two international moves, and it seems our oldest have really suffered emotionally for the last three years, all because we moved. I know it is not life shattering, and I know it cant compare with your experience, but living with blame for things going wrong is not easy. And from my experience, my husband has a very selective memory and seem to brush under the carpet his part in the decision making process, which makes it even harder for me. All we can do is look forward and make the best out of the choices we have made.
I really feel for you all, and hope life will start improving for you.
Firstly let me say I am so so sorry that this has happened to your family.
There is a famous car sticker that says 'shit happens'. I have watched near accidents happen so so many times, I have done things that potentially could have led to disaster more than a few times but for whatever reason, me, my son and DH are all happy and intact. Every so often however the hand of fate decides it going to get someone, and it chose your family.
Should your husband have had petrol near a bonfire with kids - no, should you have been on the other side lighting another fire, when you knew he was building a bonfire and therefore not taking care of the kids, probably not. The reality is on that particular day fate decided to play its hand and you and your family paid for it, big time.
Blaming yourself, him, petrol or whatever, doesn't change anything for you. People bang on about forgiveness but its biggest power is that it allows you to focus on what is important now, and that is your family and your daughter.
You are overwhelmed by the horror you went though, as is your husband, albeit with different issues. There will be enough challenges in life for your daughter in the future but one thing I can say for sure, is she will face them a lot stronger, with both of you by her side. She has, or will have forgiven you both, the question then becomes will you both be willing to find a way to forgive each other - I truly hope you can and I wish you every bit of strength in doing so.
you both need counselling.
it was an accident.
with hindsight, running barbecue and a bonfire at same time was a mistake.
but it happened. sh&t happens.
what you need now is
counselling for both of you together and apart - psot traumatic stress etc CBT etc
practical practical help - lots of practical help - why are you the only one doing dressings etc?
get someone to come help you with dressings and so on - community nurses? trained volunteers? ask SS and maybe get SS direct payments to pay for someone trained to come and help when you decide?
do your H and Dd both now count as disabled?
can you get DLA for both of them (to pay for extra help)
can you access more services thru this?
support for you all as a family - your other DC also need support - burns victoms family support via hospital?
ask charities for special outings etc for the whole family - like
call www.whenyouwishuponastar.org.uk/lapland.html and get all of you on a plane to lapland this year
some will give eg holidays or trips to disaney land etc for whole family
etc - ask at the hospital they will know which ones you can approach.
there can be some good coming of all this.
dont let it destroy your family. even if you do split as H and W- it doesnt have to destroy everything.
get the help you need for you, your DC -all of them - and for your H.
if you have to split -well so be it; but move forward not backwards.
I am so so sorry for your family and what you've been through! What a thoroughly awful situation to say the least. It has and will change your lives forever. It sounds like you've been an absolute rock to your family.
Your husband must feel like shit day in and day out, in all of this he must be suffering so much mentally and emotionally. It was an accident, it was foolish to have the petrol accessible and in a plastic container yes, but then I don't think I could even contemplate a bonfire in my garden with a toddler wandering round with a buggy, let alone a bonfire and a BBQ. we don't even have the fire on at home with my two, who are older. It's easy to blame and be angry, it's a natural reaction. No matter how much you blame your husband, nothings going to change, the horror has happened, you need to move on as a family.... No matter how hard it is, give him a hug and tell him you love him and you will get through this. You need each other and the kids sure as hell need you on the same team.
I'm so sorry this has happened to your family and poor dd! Big hugs xxx
We go through phases of talking but happened for a while. At fitst I could do the hug and it'l be alright now I find it hard.
I know things will get easier, it's the only way it acn go. I hope we can be happy again.
In terms of support - her care is complicated. The nursery nurses (I'm back at work three days a week) have been wonderful and do all of her creaming etc during teh day. The community nurse has offered to help and came once on my birthday so I coiuld enjoy a day to myself. I have asked for them to cover me so I can attend a conference I'm speaking at in a couple of weeks. She needs here injections twice a day (roughly 7/7): 'ooh not sure we can help, we only work 9-5', she'll back to me. OTher than that it's hard to ask anyone to help - it's not nice doing it and DD finds it distressing. We have an au pair (a whole set of different problems) wh helps with the boys, I tried to involve her more in DD's care but she is reluctant. She looks after her occasionally and baths her but doesn't like to cream her. DH can't do it physically.
Ther is the burned childrens club (support group) and I will get round to joining.
We are waiting for an organisition to contact us (we're on their 'list') and they will assess what other support (financial or otherwise) that we may be entitled do. We have a nice house and nice life with the usual trimmings. This also means high outgoings, DH is in sales and so whilst receieiving his basic we've not had his commission. My company have been fantasic and supported me throughout on full salary, 3 months off and current part time working. It cost £50 petrol to go to the hospital (twice a week). This has hit us hard financially. I think my salary will probably mean that we have no entitlement to aditional support but I'll wait and see.
Anyone can make a mistake, I'm sure we've all done silly things we shouldn't have in the past. Who hasn't gone over the speed limit? Plenty of people would consider themselves fine to drive after a glass of wine etc. Noone ever thinks it will happen to them. Most of us don't have to live with the consequences of our actions 24/7.
I know this has been unbelievably shit for you. I can imagine the toll it's had on your marriage. But it will get better. It's still very early days. And as much as your hubby was incredibly stupid, he didn't do it on purpose.
Do check if you can get DLA to help you with transport costs to and from the hospital!
Apologies for using the word silly. It wasn't meant to trivialise your situation btw.
Are you in Scotland OP, l would gladly help out with the creams and injections if you are anywhere near me. I am sure other nurses on MN would help out too.
OP - DLA is not means tested so your salary shouldn't impact on your eligibility for that.
Wow. That's an amazing story and very intense. I am so glad she lived. As I was reading, I was already dreading the outcome. What can I say? I have wondered about this scenario before in my own life. I have even said to dh, "If ds dies when you are doing that, I will never forgive you." (Things like driving when he's tired, nothing more).
However, I do know 'the theory' which is that the person unforgiveness hurts most is you. In this case, also your children. I have no idea how you can get over this, but I'd say the first place to start is in WANTING to forgive him - for everyone's benefit. Then you will be able to find how to do it, even if it takes many years. One thought I have is that this could have been you - in a different situation, perhaps a car crash or a road accident. I do genuinely often think that when people have wronged me - I could have done something just as 'bad' or 'careless' but in a different context.
You are amazing to have gone through all of this and I am sure the physical strength you have learned you have will see you through the emotional times ahead. Many hugs and best wishes.
Thanks - I most definitely want to forgive. I really don't want want to loas m marriage and no I have to forgive. Rationally I know it was an accident, I just feel myself hardening rather than softening as time goes by,. Writing this has been some what cathartic and I appreciate all the views posted.
apologies for the dreadful typing!
know / no!
God how awful.
I can't imagine how your DH must feel. Stories like this just make me think "there but for the grace of God go I". I'm probably as careful as most parents, but who has never taken a risk from having to make a split second decision over something, or overlooked something and then thought afterwards, "OMG, thank God that didn't..."
Some years ago I taught the piano to a paraplegic, and severely disabled above the waist up as well, boy in a wheelchair. Turned out he had been in a car accident that was his dad's fault. I never met the dad but have never forgotten wondering how utterly crushing that would be, so much moreso than hurting or damaging oneself. Particularly now I'm a dad myself, I just can't imagine anything as awful as looking at my beautiful boy in a wheelchair and thinking "I did that".
What's the long term prognosis for your baby? Will she be pretty much OK in the end?
I don't know how careless your DH is/was generally and how hard it would be to get away from being consumed by blame. Petrol next to a bonfire - certainly pretty extreme by anyone's book. OTOH I think we can safely say he won't do it again...
But I'm sure he needs you more than ever.
Got nothing extra to add but just sending very un-mn hugs and my deepest respect for your strength and tenacity (and my DH says the same, I've just read this to him and it's really upset him).
I am so very sad for you and your family.
I admire your strength.
People can be so thoughtless and insensitive - staring and nudging. It is more a reflection on them and not you and your family, but it still hurts.
Try to not feel guilt for your boys, children need love more than anything - reassure and tell them, they will understand
You all have suffered and emotional wound which will take much time to heal.
Feelings are a powerful thing, don't deny or hide them. Forgiveness is not for others but for oneself and the opposite is anger and resentment.
I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN when you say you are finding it harder than easier as time goes on. I think it might be because if you are not talking enough, your feelings of anger are getting greater because you haven't told your DH directly. You know he regrets his actions but he hasn't verbally said it. Only when you tell someone exactly why you are feeling resentment and then they have apologised and taken responsibility and held themself accountable for their actions can you begin the process of forgiveness and healing.
I think you your 3 babies are very lucky to have such a strong mum and should be very proud of you. xo
Lots of love to you and your whole family.
This advice is meant to help... You and your DH BOTH decided to barbeque/bonfire at the same time. Yes, your DH had the petrol but you BOTH decided to barbeque/bonfire with three young children in the house...
It was a terrible accident but you can't lay the blame entirely with him.
And, as others have said, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
We've all done silly things, sometimes with no consequence, sometimes, very sadly with.
Try and stick together.
Has he ever told you exactly what happened? Perhaps I missed it, but I have not seen that answered yet. There had been petrol in an incorrect container ten feet away, child playing nearby, him making big fire (ah, big fire, exciting stuff), and then what? Child picks it up and approaches fire? And he does not see her pick it up, nor see her get closer and closer? I'm sorry, but he was so irresponsible and so stupid!
So sorry for what you are going through - I also have a 20 month old DD so can only imagine how you must be feeling with it all. Echo PP's re applying for DLA - it isn't means tested and is all to do with how your DD's condition affects you as a carer. My DD has complex health issues due to birth defects and I have just been awarded DLA for her - it's not a huge amount but it all helps.
I think you are wise to see how things go with DH - it's still very raw for all of you and I bet he must hate himself for what has happened but your family need both of you. Proper counselling is also worthwhile to help you through this.
Big hugs you are being very strong x
OP, was so moved to read your story and my heart goes out to all of you, puts my stupid problems into perspective
The only thing I would say is that you spoke about 'relationship counselling' earlier in the thread. I'm not sure that would be helpful just yet, but I think some general counselling for both of you together to enable you to talk about what happened if you feel the need to may be of benefit. I think the last thing you need to happen is for it to get buried and become a taboo subject.
I wish you all the very best of luck, you sound a very strong and determined person and I think you will all come out the other side of this very well.
Meant to say you can apply for DLA online which makes it easier than lots of form filling:
OP - I am very, very sorry for what has happened to your DD and your DH, and the resulting catastrophic changes to your family life.
But, if I am very honest, when I read all your posts on the thread I don't think your DH was the only one taking outrageous risks on that day. The whole thing - a 6 and a 4 year old alone inside while parents were on either side of the house with a baby running around and two fires going on - sounds incredibly naïve to me. Can you not both accept blame for taking risks and move on together?
Fwiw my husband once did something I found very hurtful. I definitely put up a barrier as I was so angry. I nursed this barrier and kept it strong. I felt that was the price he paid for his mistake and I would be weak if I did not maintain it.
Eventually, and I remember the very moment as I sat in the bath, it occurred to me that forgiveness could be an active decision on my part. Previously I had assumed it would sortof come over me like an emotion, but for me, in this instance it was an active decision. I suddenly felt I could put my energy into maintaining my barrier, or I could decide to forgive (but not forget) and move to our next stage. It was a very odd sensation.
That was ten years ago and it has worked for us.
Not sure that's helpful, just that I found my forgiving someone was not how I would have expected it to be.
Very best wishes to you and your family.
Thankyou for sharing. How terrible for you're family, I really don't think I could forgive to be honest. I have emailed your post to my dh, at work. He often leaves our open fire unguarded to let more heat out. We have a toddler and your post is a reality check for us all. He just called me to say how daft we've been, more care in this house from now on!
What an awful time you are having.
Are you religious at all? There might be some help there.
Alternatively is there a support group nearby for family members of burns victims?
I am so sorry to hear about the awful accident. I am so glad that your daughter survived. I wish her an uneventful recovery.
We haveing been through the same thing but we did go through two years of horrific cancer treatment and the death of our daughter.
The serious illness of a child places tremendous strain on any relationship whether the child survives or does not.
In your case there is the added element of possible blame. If it is even the tiniest bit of help, even though there is no one to blame in our case, we have still gone through the recriminations and what ifs.
We are still together 7 years after her treatment began but it has been touch and go many times. There are things that happened during her treatment that I find hard to forgive my OH for.
Thing is, I have to. I know its not the same as your situation so I hope you dont mind me commenting, we had to pretty much make up our minds if we were going to stay together and once we did we had to find a way to do it.
That meant me having to put aside the stuff I was holding on to. There really was no other way. I knew that the mistakes my OH made were not through malice or lack of love for my daughter. The terrible things he said to me still hurt but they were down to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
I am sorry if this doesnt make sense. I really mean it to try and help, not for any other reason but I am finding it hard to put into words.
I'm so so sorry for this.
One thing I'll say for your husband - given the awful thing that happened, he did deal with it in the right way - no thought for the burns he knew he would suffer, putting her in the bath.
When things like this happen, I have found I rerun them and rerun them, hoping by the power of thought alone to make them come out differently. This is exhausting and debilitating. I'm wondering if you are both doing this, each in your own separate hell.
You weren't lying were you, I did read and weep. I'm so sorry something so horrific happened to you and your family.
Firstly, I agree with everyone who says make no decisions now, give it at least a year. Secondly, i agree that you need counselling but that you may not be able to benefit from that for quite a long time - maybe at least another year for that as well. It's probably no comfort to you, but just experiencing the grief and upheaval for a bit, has to be gone through before you can benefit from counselling. And it takes time to go through this process.
Whatever happens, your feelings are valid. You don't have to forgive him and you don't have to feel bad about not forgiving him. I have no idea if I could forgive anyone who made the sort of choice your DH did in the circumstances he did. Please don't feel that you have to cling to your marriage for the sake of your children; if your marriage becomes an intolerable place for you to be, then you'll have every right to give up on it, because children growing up with unhappy parents with this enormous thing between them, are not going to be any happier than children growing up whose parents have split up because of the knock on effect of this. Any decision you make, make for yourself, because if you live with a man you feel deeply bitter towards, your children's home will be a terrible place to grow up in.
But you really won't be in a place where you can make that decision and know that it is the right one, for a very long time yet. You also won't be able to forgive him (if you ever do) for a very long time yet. It could take years. Don't put any pressure on yourself either to forgive or to leave, or indeed to make any long term decision about anything really - you will only be in the place where you know whether to give up on your relationship or forgive and rebuild it, after you have allowed yourself the time and space to feel everything you need to feel. Including any guilt or anger you may have about your own part in that day. You can't forgive anyone else, if you haven't yet wrestled with forgiving yourself, or acknowledged your need for self-forgiveness. I'm sorry if me saying that hurts you, I don't want to add one more thing to the pain you are in, God knows you're in enough and don't need any more, I only want to point you at something you may not yet be ready to consider, but that you will need to at some stage, in order to work through this.
I don't suppose anything anyone says is much comfort to you, but just my thoughts are with you and I hope you get the support and comfort in RL that you need. That your little girl gets better. And that you are kind to yourself and permit yourself the time you need and don't try and rush your feelings or your decisions. And bear in mind, that the time you need, may be a hell of a lot longer than the time everyone else thinks you need. People in RL may get pissed off with you not getting over it as quickly as they'd like you to. But on MN, we won't get pissed off with you BPM, we'll give you as much support as you need for as long as you need.
I have come back to this thread and feel bad for my earlier post... Knowing how awful I have felt when a child in my care was involved in an accident, I don't want to judge you...
Some of the support groups mentioned sound really good. Perhaps they will help.
I hope your daughter and your family heals well... Good luck.
Op I am sorry for what you all went through especially your dd and your dh. And tbh I am saddened by the fact that seemingly nobody on this thread has expressed any sympathy for your dh who you say also sustained 25% burns, has had to have skin grafts as well and has lost sensation in his arms and hands? Your dd was terribly, terribly hurt in this accident, and it is natural that all the attention would be on her since she was so very badly hurt and has taken so long to recover. But your dh was hurt too, and not only does it appear he has to go through that alone, but he also has to face the fact that you hold him responsible for what happened to his dd (because she is his dd too.)
Blame and recrimination can be a very destructive thing. But in truth blame and recrimination can have a massive ripple effect far beyond that which we feel in our inner self. Yes, leaving petrol by a bonfire was a stupid thing to do. But if youd told him about it before, why did you not do something about it? If youd felt that strongly about it you had the power to change things, and you didnt either. Thats not a recrimination on you btw, but in truth we can all say how things should have been in hindsight, but hindsight is 20-20 and theres no point going back to what-ifs, because the past is the past and cannot be undone.
It was an accident. There were things you both could have done to prevent it, but you didnt, and no amount of blame on either side is ever going to change that.
My cousin was seriously scalded by a cup of coffee when he was eighteen months old. He reached for a biscuit tin and knocked the cup of coffee over on himself. For anyone who thinks that a cup of coffee is minimal by comparison, you cannot imagine just how much damage it could do. He spent three months in hospital, and the treatment they gave him to cover his burns (like a plastic skin) left him partially deaf. My uncle blames himself to this day because he was there/believes he didnt act quickly enough/should have done more etc. But my cousin grew up to live a normal life (he is 39 now) and in truth there was nothing that could have been done to prevent what ultimately happened. My aunt and uncle stayed together and ended up going through more heartbreak (second child died as a baby, 3rd child developed luchemia (sp?) and there was always some element of one or the other parent blaming themselves for what happened and asking what-if, when in truth fate had just dealt them a bloody awful hand. They are still together now.
You have all been through a very difficult trauma, and that does also include your dh. There are no rules that say you have to stay in this marriage if thats not what you want. But leaving the marriage will not undo what happened, and one day your dd may well want to know why her parents are not together any more, and if she doesnt hold her dad responsible, she may grow to resent you if you could not move on.
It really is not about forgiveness as accidents are accidents. But if you want to move on from this you need to start communicating with each other. Because the longer you hold off talking, the harder it will become, until you fall into a cycle of not doing so.
Talk to him. No blame, no recrimination, just have a conversation. Be a couple, have a night in front of the television or get in a takeaway and bring back some normality to your relationship, and your lives. The need to talk about what happened will come, but in the meantime you need to find you, and each other again, even if thats only through small steps. And once you can relate to one another again you will feel more comfortable talking about what happened, and moving on from that, together.
What a horrendous situation - cannot read and not respond. This would be any mother's nightmare and even contemplating it is extremely difficult.
These are dark times for you - and your family - and I think you are doing very well to be able to write about it so concisely and openly. I do not know if I could forgive him, even though I believe what he now lives with is perhaps even worse than how you feel. I think it is worth trying to forgive him for the good of your family and because he made a genuine mistake. It will take a long time to forgive him and perhaps some form of therapy together is needed.
Do you have the support of family and friends?
I liked Wannabe's post.
And also - not to make you feel bad, Op, but do you want your daughter to blame your husband too? Because if you blame him, then she is bound to realise that, and that will be a terribly difficult thing for her to come to terms with.
What has happened to your family is so awful I don't want to think about it. But more than anyone, your husband must feel like shit. He didn't want her to get hurt, and yet something he did has had such terrible repercussions. I feel sorry for you all, but I cannot imagine how dreadful your husband must feel.
Can I ask - has he told you the sequence of events? Because I was wondering - from what you said either they were both caught in the explosion and despite his own injuries his first thought/action was to help his daughter, or was he hurt trying to help her? Can you try to let that influence your feelings? That despite his stupidity at having the petrol there in the first place, when it happened his thoughts were for your child?
My thoughts are with you, and I hope your family are able to heal.
bullet, I can't imagine how awful this must be for you all.
I think that as a family you will face many challenges moving forwards. If you can find a way to forgive and to re connect as a couple it will be much, much easier for all of your chldren to remain in a stable family unit, than to also deal with the strain of seperation and family breakdown. I'm a working single parent with two children and I think yours will need both of you around to support them through the next few years. You worry about your daughter and your sons, but can you imagine what life would be like with you alone shouldering the burden.
I sincerly hope that you can find peace to help you through this really difficult time.
i'm so sorry this has befallen you.
I wanted to add another perspective (from the first page or two). I was the victim of a serious crime as a child. It caused so much hassle for our family intense and long lasting. Thirty years later I still feel guilty for that, especially two older siblings that were in exam year at school. If my parents had divorced, i can hardly bear to thinkabout how much i would have felt responsible (even though I wasn't actually)
Secondly, i forgave the person, I - as the victim- forgave, because that's the only one who can. My parents (understandably) were unable to forgive. And at times I genuinely thought my father would murder the person, but when they knew I forgave, what else could they do but let go too. What I mean is, your daughter was the primary victim, so follow her lead, and don't harbout ill will on her behalf. You can only forgive/not forgive the action that was against you.
Lastly, I'm so glad i did forgive, not easy, and to an extent it was 'fake it till you make it' but saying the words out loud really really helped. Yes it is a challenge, but the reward is immense too.
I genuinely wish you and your family the very best.
A hug to you bullet. My story echoes yours.
In a nutshell my toddler was badly burned in an accident caused by my husband. Our marriage has barely survived. I blamed him for similar reasons to yours. Pre-accident, he was careless and left many hazards around the house, I knew something horrific would one day happen.
I found it hard to forgive him because he lied to me about how the accident happened. You are better than me, I blamed him and put him down continuously until he finally told me how the accident really happened. Then I just felt so sad, it could have happened with me. But it was too late. He hated me for the way that I reacted and went on to have affairs. Our marriage is almost over, but could have been saved it had been dealt with at the time. I think wannabe's post is very good.
I understand exactly what you feel. I brought my daughter through, and our home became a dark place.
If there were not any other issues in your marriage then I feel this could be saved. It took me about 2 yrs before I could let go. People told me to 'pull my socks up' and get over it. My daughter was also at Chelmsford. She is also scarred for life. But happy like yours.
you are most welcome to pm me if you would like to talk more.
Im so sorry this has happened.
I think gypsycat said it really well on page 2. You are already under a massive amount of strain, thinking about your relationship might well be better left until things are more stable. I would be furious too. I think you are being very compassionate to acknowledge the effect it has had on him too. I am very, very sorry that this has happened to your family. I realise that it is your DD who is physically ill but you are all suffering in your own ways. I am praying for you - I hope you don't mind. I wish there was more I could do for you
I just saw this I am so sorry for you all.
I agree with Quint, Wannabe and C'est la vie.
I hope you can source some counselling for all of you.
You do not have to end your marriage and family life. There is a way forward for you and your family.
Much hugs to you.
I am so sorry to read this How awful.
No one would ever want to see their child like this. It was an accident. I hope there is room for forgiveness. Are you religious? Perhaps you can also see someone of your faith if you are, in addition to secular counselling. Many people here poo-poo people who are religious, but it is a source of much comfort and peace for many so if you are yourself do not discount telling someone in clergy everything you have said here. They will not judge and can help.
hope your child is doing ok - I think accidents do happen - no one really expects them too - no matter how obvious once they;ve happened it seems .... I suppose I qwould think about your dd - would she want ur husband to be blamed, u seperated from him etc - I do think once u have kids their interest has to be top priority, not yours or your husbands - so all I'd suggest is think of it from ur dds point of view - hwat would she want..
best wishes to you all
I am so sorry to read this too. What a terrible situation. You have obviously been so strong and are carrying a huge burden. Yet there is no end in sight. You have to face a huge challenge every single day. Wishing you more strength to continue this journey for the sake of all your children.
Dear op. Am so sorry to read about this awful accident and send best wishes to you all. I know the excellent burns unit in question and, hopefully, your little girl will make a full recovery eventually with your continued care and love and the expertise of all the professionals; poor little thing did not deserve this!
Your H was a thoughtless idiot! Make sure that he has plenty of zinc in his diet and he will heal more quickly.
Years ago, my H was responsible for a dreadful incident which hurt my 2 young DC (not seriously) and I never trusted him again. He's my XH now.
Once again, very best wishes to you all, especially your DC, and hope that you are able to stay strong through this traumatic and earth-shattering experience.
I read this last night and had nothing to add, this morning all I can think is that I would struggle to stay with someone was careless in this risky way when my kids were around.
But if I knew I had someone who would pull one of my kids from a fire, and be clear headed enough to put out the flames and get them straight in the bath I'd never let them go.
I hope you find a way through, we have experience of burns treatment and it's hideous, just take each day at a time, and make sure they both do their exercises.
Thinking of you all.
I have been thinking and thinking about you OP and imagining you going through this awful daily routine of distressing treatments for your daughter, and feeling guilty you are letting your DSs down, and having to shoulder all the burden of the family and an injured DH, and probably feeling you are letting work down too, and in all of there is a kernel of hate hardening in your heart - screaming 'This is ALL HIS FAULT'. I will never get my life back and it is ALL HIS FAULT.
Anger is a natural part of any grieving process, but in this case it has a clear target to lock onto. You sound like you are gradually getting locked into anger, it is becoming your modus operandi.
I don't know, but maybe forgiveness could be a release for you too - letting go of this anger, which is turning inwards and becoming destructive, might help you feel better. I second the idea of individual counselling to help you to process this terrible trauma and its consequences, and move through the different stages of grieving.
You can't change what has happened, but you can change the present and coming to terms with it to get to a better place. To get to a place where you can say to your husband: I love you even though you are responsible for all this. You did that and I still love you.
i dont think you can hold your H 100 per cent responsible - you apparently made a joint decision to light two fires at the same time and decided he would be in charge of both bonfire and toddler. (unless of course you asked him to leave the bonfire for another day? or you didnt KNOW he was lighitng a fire?)
also you both decided to have the two other young children inside - any of them could have come out at any time. wandered towards bbq or fire and got hurt.
of course maybe without the petrol nothing would have happened but this was a risky situaiton - two adults each involved in fire lighting, different sides of the house -leaving three children effectivley wandering around.
if someone is lighting a barbecue - the other adult has to be fully involved in monitoring the dc
if someone is lighiting a bonfire - the other adult has to be fully involved in monitoring the three dc under 6 .
but it happened.
you cannot go back.
we have all had lapses of attention.
you have to move on.
get angry at the lack of support you getting, get angry at the fact you doing everything with apaprently no help at home . think of the other two dc who maybe lacking in attention.
target and channel your anger/strong feelings towards positive action to getting more help to deal with the day to day practicalities of day to day life post-accident. to help you all move forward.
you CAN move forward from this, together, with the right help. you still have three DC who need you both . your H certainly did not intend this to happen (however foolish and lax he as with dangerous items) and he is physically hurt too - maybe you can see that as penalty enough for what happened? he is scarred physically for life too.
Tough love time now.
FWIW I also think it was a bad idea for you both to be involved with different things that needed your full attention at the same time. I think you are going to have to address the point that neither of you comes out of this particularly well, and at the moment, that revelation will be hard, because through blaming your DH for the petrol, it allows you to ignore your own part in the proceedings (presuming you knew he was about to light a bonfire). Facing that fact, your own involvement, is going to be a very traumatic moment for you, but this will need to be done in order to be able to forgive him his part, I think.
But before you think I am judging you, I am sure this could have happened to any number of parents, and as others have said on here, I am sure there must have been many times in the past where I was not as attentive as I might have been, with the only difference being that I managed to escape serious consequences. For example driving with a headache - something we all probably end up doing now and then, but given the right set of circumstances, it could mean our reaction times are too long to avoid a fatal collision brought about by someone else's greater inattention. It's only the hand you are dealt by luck that makes a difference.
What does come out of all these posts is the need for you to start talking about what happened, in whatever context, and to make a concerted decision at some point to forgive and move on. This is unlikely to be possible in the immediate future, but I imagine one day you will realise it is time and be able to do it, if you want to.
I hope you find the peace you need in your heart. xx
Stockett - I think you sum it up. He was stupid enough to leave petrol by a bonfire whilst in control of a toddler. However he did have the strength to pick her her whilst she was burning and sustain severe injuries and get her in the house and put the flames out.
I do want o forgive him and this morning we did try to talk a little on the way to the hospital but it was hard and emotional. I reassured him that I believe that we can through this and that I want to get through this. Something that I haven't said for a long time and as a direct result of this thread. However I was too tired and emotional for a long conversation. IDD had woken at about 1.00 am then spent the night crawling aroudn the bed itching and would only sleep whilst lying on top of me. I can't sleep like that. At 4 I went to DH and swapped. Got back to sleep at 4.30, then up at 5 to try to beat the M25 traffic to Chelmsford. She has her last set of pressure garments so is now covered apart from mouth, nose, eyes, tips of fingers in her powere rangers outfit.
Th suggestion that forgiveness is an active decision has got me thinking. I also have assumed that it will come to me (or not as the case may be). I will work on it.
To those that encourage me to accept blame as well. I accept maybe 5% - leaving DD wioth him when he had a bonfire going. However it wouldn't have/didn't occur to me that he would put petrol anywhere near it. About 10 years ago he chucked petrol on a bonfire during when we had friends over and the subsequent fire ball only narrowly missed a baby. Just to clairfy - I didn't have a fire going on the other side of the house - I was taking food out in preparation to cook later on our gas barby. Bonsoir, you're post in particular seems to suggest equal responsibility. I'm just going there. I have too much on my plate already.
Apart from in the 24hr immediately following the accident I have not mentioned his stupidity. He knows and fully accepts blame. There has been no need to recriminate. I do need to know the exact details and will ask him to walk me through when the time is right. I need to know as he has been vague. He says she didn't pick the bottle up but I believe this is what happened. He says he saw her behind him then there was a trickle of flame along the ground before it exploded. DS1 describes seeing daddy running in the house carrying DD who was surrounded in light. I don't want the children to grow up hating him. DS's don't. We had to choose the way to explain very carefully. DS said in the summer: ' I wish DD hadn't gone near the fire then Daddy wouldn't have had to save her then we'd all be living together'. We have explained that it was an accident but DH should have been looking after her a bit better.
Vannah - thanks for sharing, I'll be in touch if that OK.
Oh Doadmit - I'm so sorry for your loss. The one thing I have focussed on is that I watched an extremely sick child get well and that I still have her. Many such as yourself have seen the reverse - my heart goes out to you.
Wannabe - he is in a dark place as well. We are planning on going for a drink this evening. It is just so hard to get out. It is near 8 by the time I have done all her creaming and injections etc. She is settled for an hour or two before getting itchy and vocal. We have an au pair to babysit but she would be unable to comfort her.
Loads nore to say, responses to give but need to do creaming before pick up!
That all makes sense now, and I understand your reaction better, and his.
I do wonder if there is anyone out there with medical expertise who can come over for a couple of hours once a week so you two can go out for a drink regularly. Obviously the AP is limited in what she can do here. I am wondering where other people think such help might be available from?
hospital burns unit outreach support shouold be able to advise -there is help out there
social services support for children with disabilities/children in need - sure start/home start.
i really feel for you deep down you must be so angry,you have coped with so much but underneath its eating away at you.cant blame you for that im sure i would be the same.
your husband made a terrible mistake a big terrible mistake and hes going to have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life,i cant help feeling sorry for him what a thing to have to live with.
i dont know if its possible for your marriage to survive,if it is possible its going to take a long time to heal.have you thought of councelling would at least help you work through your feelings.
i hope you can work things out,its a sad situation all round.
So sorry to hear what you are going through, OP. This bit does make his behaviour even harder to understand:
About 10 years ago he chucked petrol on a bonfire during when we had friends over and the subsequent fire ball only narrowly missed a baby.
To posters who speak of "who is to blame" - I do wonder if blame at all is helpful? I get what you are saying, but I wonder if BPM really needs to move beyond who is to blame, and to somehow find the strength to just accept that it was an awful thing to happen. It was an accident, and accidents (through inattention, of lack of foresight or crap judgement) can happen to anyone. You and your family were extremely unlucky and would do anything to turn back time and do it all differently, but sadly we don't get that chance.
I wish there was something concrete I could do to help, but sadly I am in deepest darkest Wales.I am sending you my very best wishes though. I think your story is one that will stay with me forever.
I think the fact he has done this before - and was bloody lucky the baby wasn't burnt - makes it really hard to understand how he could be so stupid again.
It's not really a mistake, it was neglect which something else and far more serious. Neglect is an active choice, even if it involves doing nothing. Not keeping things safe for a toddler is an active choice. You also said he nearly burned a baby with a fire ball ten years ago. That was the time for his wake-up call but he didn't take it.
FWIW I couldn't forgive this and more importantly wouldn't see a reason to, but if you want to I'm sure you'll find a way.
I agree Oakmaiden, there's not much mileage in allocating blame.
But it is very important that the OP is allowed to work through her feelings and not deny them or bury them. And if she can't get over the blame thing, then that has to be respected. I feel very uncomfortable with the idea of telling anyone else they must try and forgive someone who has done something so awful. The OP's subsequent posts make it clear that this wasn't just an unforseeable accident, it has actually happened before with less appalling consequences and I think that's what lies behind her rage. (Sorry to talk about you in the third person OP.)
BPM what does your DH say about his feelings about what happened? Because I think that in the light of your subsequent posts, this forgiveness just isn't genuinely going to happen, unless he honestly explores what it was that led him to believe that taking such a pointless, terrible risk, was something worth doing.
What I have experienced and read about forgiveness, is that it is a two way process. It can't happen just from one person. If people are honest, mostly what they say is that they can't forgive people who don't acknowledge the wrong they did, but that as soon as someone honestly stated outright that they were wrong, it suddenly became easy (I am not suggesting that this is universal and that it will suddenly become easy for you). I suspect that it's not enough for your dH to acknowledge that he did something wrong - that's obvious - he has to explore why it was, that having actually seen the potential consequences of the risk he took, and having had you on the case previously about his lax attitude to safety, he took such a reckless course of action that day. I think he needs to be honest with himself and with you, before you can even think of forgiving him, because pretending to forgive while not easy, is a damned sight easier than genuinely forgiving someone who hasn't really stripped bare the real reasons why they took a wrong course of action. And it sounds like that process hasn't even begun to happen yet and your DH may not yet be ready to go there, you may have to give him some time to get to that stage, which will impact on where you're at.
Very good points about forgiveness Eleanor.
This is just a horrific and tragic tale. I absolutely don't blame you for being angry and think you shouldn't try and feel anything else for a while. You should be angry, your lives are in turmoil and there is an obvious person to blame.
Why don't you let yourself indulge in it, it doesn't have to be permanent but don't fight it, let yourself be furious. I have no doubt that your emotions will change over time but don't try to rush anything just yet. You are all in such early days and you can't fix everything at once. Concentrate on healing your daughter, and finding some time for your sons and your DH. You need a fuck load of support and i hope to god you all are getting it.
My DS was very ill and facing his death was hideous, though at the time i kept it all together. THe dynamic in my relationship changed as afterwards i am angry and my husband has borne the brunt of that despite it being an illness and not being an accident.
Take small steps, you will not learn to live with this for a long time. Get a decent psychotherapist to help you. Keep your family close, and love them. The worst has happened and you will learn to cope with it just don't expect a dramatic epiphany of forgiveness to happen just yet.
What a tragedy, can't say how sorry I am to read this. I agree with other posters, don't try and work things out until your DD is much better and you aren't feeling so emotionally raw. How wonderful that she made it through the intensive care despite a whole list of illnesses and medical problems. That is a gift for which I would be grateful and I'd try to focus on that and the way forward for your wellbeing, DD's and the rest of the family.
Hi OP I could not read and not post.
From your posts you seem exhausted above almost everything else, is anyone supporting you??
Do you have any family/ friends who could lighten your load a little?
Totally echo many posters up the thread re giving yourself years to recover, maybe hold onto the thought that you did have a good marriage before the accident and in time can have again.
I don't normally post on Mumsnet (am a bit of a lurker) but had to tell you how sorry I am that this has happened.
I think the other posters have given lots of good advice, and I'm not sure what I am going to say will help at all. FWIW I'm not sure I could forgive something like this either... but you seem like you want to forgive, and so I wanted to say something that came into my head reading some of the other posts.
If you do end the marriage because of this (and I'm not saying you should, or shouldn't) would you bring your daughter up to think that it was all her dad's fault that she was so badly burnt and allow her to hate him because of it? Or will you encourage your daughter to grow up as a strong woman who accepts who she is and loves herself for it and knows and loves her dad despite what happened?
I only say this because when if you think you will encourage her to live her life without blaming, it may be that you can do the same.
I really hope that doesn't offend - and I really do wish you and your family all the best for now and the future...
When I was a teenager, I knew a five-year-old who had been burned quite badly when she was 2. She had walked into a fire pit, and put her arms in to hold onto her legs when they started to burn. Her brother who was only about 5 I think took her home, and the skin from her feet came off as she walked. This was in Africa, so the care she got was not great- the local hospital freaked out and wouldn't talk her in; in the end they flew her to Johannesburg, which was about 2000 miles away. They didn't use the pressure masks etc then, so she had quite bad keloid scarring on her arms and legs, no toes, her fingers fused into her palms, and she had skin graft scars over the whole torso. Her face was untouched. Her mother drank a lot after that, at least for a while. There was no other kind of help in that place at that time. I think she sorted that out later on.
I have wondered from time to time what became of them, my parents were good friends with them. So- because I was thinking about her, I just googled her- they had an unusual name- and I immediately came across a photo on someone's blog of the whole family. I recognise the girl, and she has a sleeveless top on, and in the photo I can not really make out any scars.
She was a happy child, she was always a pleasure to be around, she used to be at our house quite often. She couldn't of course remember a time when she'd been any different. The doctors had said she was to have operations later on to improve the function of her hands etc. They were amazed that she could walk without toes (they're apparently vital for balance), but it happened to her so young she just found other ways. She seemed OK physically (I mean comfortable enough) from day to day, though she had trouble with the soles of her feet as the skin graft wasn't really tough enough to walk on. Her parents are still together, although they don't have the culpability issues that you are struggling with so it is different of course.
I don't know if there are any support groups for burn victims? There may be people in a similar situation as yourself, but further down the line. These support groups usually have online forums- it might help to talk to someone? (Not as a replacement for counselling, i agree with the others on that one).
Sorry, I hadn't read the whole thread, I see there ARE people on here who had similar experiences.
What a horrible situation. Your poor DD - it must be awful having to watch her go through so much.
It will take time to fully come to terms with this. You have quite rightly focused on coping and dealing with the reality for your little girl. You have done amazingly well. You would be a very unusual person if you had already fully processed this and moved to forgiveness and denying your anger would be much more damaging in the long run for all of you.
My sister had a accident as a child that my mother has always blamed my brother for (he was a young adult at the time of the accident). My sister is now a teenager and often makes comments about her scars when he is around and really uses it to manipulate him emotionally. It causes him enormous distress to the extent that he deeply resents my mother and is considering stopping her from having contact with his child as he is afraid of what my mother will say to him. My mother's blaming of my brother has just encouraged my sister to see herself as a victim and could now lose her contact with her grandson. And this accident was really minor compared to what happened to your DD. In addition, other family members are totally fed up of hearing the story of my mother's anger over and over and we have all concluded that she was more to blame than my brother and that her inability to let go is displacement!
Right now, you need to feel your anger, find safe ways to express it and resolve not to let this affect relationships in the long term.
I hope you continue to find the strength to deal with this.
I taught a girl with hardly anything in the way of fingers to play the piano once. She was unselfconscious about her condition, and it didn't occur to her she might have problems learning, so she did quite well.
Kids are more resilient that we all think sometimes.
So so sorry to hear you story. Just wanted to reinforce those who've suggested Disability Living Allowance. I get it for my son and at the middle rate (you might even get the Higher Rate) it is £270 a month which makes a huge difference. If you do go ahead and apply, make sure you get a back-up statement from somebody who is treating her - I know children with the same condition as my son who don't get it - it's all to do with making sure you put the right things down on the form and explain how much you have to do for her. Do you have a community children's nurse? They can sometimes be really helpful in filling out the form. Or if you would like any further input from me if you PM me I'd be more than happy to help.
All the very very best.
Oh my goodness. What to say about this? Firstly, thank god that your little one is pulling through. Your husband will be living with this guilt for the rest of his life but I don't know how I would feel if I were you and whether I could forgive him. How can any of us know? We haven't walked a day in your shoes. Your children sound wonderful (as do you) and all I can say is that I wish you all well and hope that you can sort out where you go from here.
I echo everything that Blu says - what a compassionate and heartfelt response.
OP - what an amazing woman you are. I agree with everyone who says therapy - I know you are having some already through the hospital but it might be worth finding a specialist just for you. A gifted and experienced therapist can help immensely and you need all the support you can gather around you.
May you feel protected, held and strengthened by all our thoughts and good wishes
OP, I have thought about you much over the last few days, as many other MNers have.
A few raggedy bag thoughts.
Having nowhere near the horror you have had to face with your little girl, I do know what it is like to be in hospital for significant stays with your child, and to have to be hands on in long painful treatment. My DS has had huge bone surgery and we have had to move screws, for months, 1mm a day to move his cut bone further apart. It is absolutely exhausting. The emotional drain is non stop, and it drains you out. Also, the degree of detatchment needed separates you from yourself. You have to find a place in yourself to be 'hard' - to do the thing that is uncomfortable (euphemism) for your child. Your spontaneity goes because you have to keep check of so much. You don't know who you are.
This is my experience, and maybe you recognise a little of it.
Even without the dreadful complication of your DH's key mistake, you would be exhausted, emotionally wrung out, alienated from your own feelings.
One more thing. At the height of our own wrung-outness and desparation, DS had an accident, and his recovery was put back. DP blamed me - he was like a wild thing in his blame. It nearly made me leave him. And then someone (a MN-er) said to me that when people feel most out of control, blame gives them a way to feel in control. Your situation is wholly different, and there is no direct match, buut i thought it was a powerful perspective on our relationship with blame, and what it gives us.
For what it's worth OP, you have come this far and if you are wanting your marriage to survive, I think it will do. Wanting is the most important thing. But you may just not be ready to be able to do any more mending in your exhaustion and hardness at the moment. healing takes a long time for all of you - slowness and different stages doesn't mean it isn;t happening, or can't happen.
Your wanting your marriage to work is a wonderful affirmation of all that you are as a parent and a partner, and your dd and DH are very lucky.
I am dig's daughter and i am 14. I think you should try and make it work with your husband because you did say he was a broken man so he must feel awful but he will never get over it if he cant even help out. But if you ever think about leaving him just think how it would afect your children and then make your decision. If i were one of your children i would love to see you guys (my parents in this situatoin) stay together but if i thought it would make everyones life easier then i would see why you would want to leave him and it might make it better for your daughter.
Hope you don' t mind my daughter commenting, she was so moved by your story, but was AS moved by the sadness a separation would add to the family that she wanted to write.
For what it is worth, I think you are coping very well. Anger and resentment are normal stages of grief and shock, and you must go through them to get to the other side. Hopefully this stage will pass for you soon.
I have no idea what I would do or feel in this sutuation, however, I think there were two parents there that day, one who made a silly decision with the petrol, and the other who knew a fire was being set and allowed the baby to be looked after at that side of the garden.
I am not saying that to make you feel bad, but to maybe offer a perspective which may allow a degree of understanding, which may lead to acceptance or forgiveness.
I wish you and your whole family all the best.
Just one more thing that has been on my mind - sorry, BPM, you must be exhausted with all this response, by now!
I do agree that this went beyond 'an accident' because your DH was negligent in having the petrol there, and in addition to that, your voice wasn't heard or heeded. Your pov, your wish that he not keep petrol like that was not considered important enough that he listen to you, for whatever reason. He made you helpless by not allowing your voice to count. That is something to be addressed, whether or not the terrible accident had happened. And can only make your feelings of alone-ness worse now.
For me, and from this distance, I believe that he was reckless in having that petrol there, but stop short of judging him, because it isn't my place. How would you feel if he had been prosecuted fro negligence as a result of this?
It's very sad the number of stories on this thread where fathers have been involved in their children getting badly injured or in one case killed.
Wow Dig - that is a really powerful statement, about two parents being responsible in different ways.
Food for thought.
Blu - I have only just read your post and it was a point I made to him this morning: that I need to understand why he completely ignored my pov when it came to safety. What was it in him that made him feel invincible (arrongance?). He said he had got away with it before so he assumed he would again. We have had, of course, police involvement as is right as a child was seriosuly injured. Had the outcome been different then I suspect it would be a distince possibility that my husband would have been found culpable.
I also told that I felt that one day I would forgive him or at least live with what he'd done and that that was an important step for me.
My responsibility in this... I'll accept a small part but only a small part. At the end of the day it is the petrol in a plastic bottle that tipped this over into the tragic. She would never have got close enough to the fire without the petrol, however the petrol meant the fire came to her. I understand what you are saying that she shouldn't have been anywhere near a fire but log fires, bonfires, barabecues are part of many people's lives both inside and outside the home, petrol is not. People have lived for millenia with children near fire and yes fire does kill. However, having spent the last 4 months in and out of a burns unit. 95% of childrens burns are due to scalds ( baths, kettles, tea, pans). As one poster put earlier do not underestimate how serious water can be. This isn't because people don't have fire inside and outside their homes. I am am no way defending that it wasn't stupid (with hindsight) to have let him be in charge of a fire. Of course it was. I accept some responsibility but not equal responsibility as the accident wouldn't have happenend without the petrol.
I need every ounce of strength I have and I have had to find stength I never knew I had to get through this and to get my family thorough this. Having two parents eaten up by guilt and falling apart is not the way through this. Working together and staying together to support our children is.
I have become quite uncomforatble with putting such a personal story on such a public forum, I have found your input and support hugely helpful but feel that I will probably ask for this thread to be removed (but will mull on it for a while and spend a little more time reading all reponse fully). I may start another blog relating to here ongoing care and support but without the circumstances and relationship side.
BPM you are a very brave woman - the consequences will live with you family for such a long time, but the will to make this work is so strong that I truly beleve you will.
Good luck with it all, and best of luck to your DD and DH for their recoveries.
I haven't read the whole thread yet (I will) but I had tears pouring down my cheeks reading your original OP
You and your family are in my thoughts and I wish you all the best for the future. I hope you can forgive your husband <hugs>
My heart goes out to you. Best, best of luck and i hope you and your family find peace. I have no doubt that you have the strength for the road ahead but also dearly hope that you find happiness too.
I don't have any advise to give you, but I do want to wish to wish you and your family well for the future. Take care
I'm so sorry about what has happened and I wish your dd and dh speedy recoveries.
I can understand how you feel towards your dh and in your position I don't know if I'd be able to forgive. The only thing I can say as an outsider is that people often think that such things won't happen to them. I'm sure that if for one minute he'd have thought it could happen he wouldn't have used petrol, etc. He's probably seen it been used by others with no problem, done it himself numerous times with no problem and thought that you were worrying with no need when you told him about it.
My dh loves me and my dd very much and would never intentionally do anything that might harm us. However when we go camping he is happy to use a paraffin lamp with a real flame in the tent. Even when dd is asleep in the sleeping compartment. If the tent caught fire we'd never get her out. He is also happy to cook in the tent. I've told him I don't think it's safe and I'm not happy. He Laughs and tells me not to be so daft. He would be devastated if anything happened but he just does not see the danger.
Blimey viva has he not heard about all of the carbon monoxide cases recently? I refused to let DH cook anywhere near our tent this summer and if he insisted I would refuse to sleep in it!
OP so so sorry you are all going through this. I too would find it very hard to forgive because although it was an accident he was very very stupid about it. But if you still love him of course you should try. I'm sure I would.
BulletProof - How are your boys?
Wonderfully protective. It's very cute. If she gets surrounded by children (which is frequently) either staring or asking very open questions, my eldest is straight over holding her hand and cuddling her. They fight over who will sit nect to her etc.
BPM your family sound lovely.
BPM - I agree with you re the fire. I don't think there is an issue with a parent being with 3 kids while they light an ordinary bonfire. There is an issue with having petrol in a plastic container right by the bonfire, and the children.
And There are people further down the thread who have missed that the fact that you were 'preparing' a barbecue is irrelevant, it wasn't lit, you weren't intending to light it at the time and you maight just as well have been raking leaves or talking to a neighbour over a hedge.
Viva - there is a thread on MN somewhere - camping topic - about a MN-er who witnessed a tent fire in one of her group of camping friends, and i think it links to a YouTube clip of a tent fire. One to share with your DH? FWIW I never allow children in our tent or between the tent and the cooking when we are cooking. (and don't cook in the tent).
I am so sorry that this has happened. It must be stressful enough with caring for DD without the additional burden of how you feel towards DH.
I agree with earlier posters - there are a lot of armchair generals in this thread. It is irrelevant as to what they think or would do about forgiveness etc. Your DH has and will suffer enough for what has happened.
What I would say is that life sometimes is a roll of a dice. Bad things happen but we cannot always prevent them. Think of the times while driving that you have thought to yourself the difference that a couple of seconds would have made to something becoming a tragic outcome in all sorts of circumstances. How many head on crashes do we somehow avoid in our driving careers due to other peoples recklessness? How many close shaves do we parents have due to hot pans, open stair gates, hot drinks, a momentary lapse of concentration when the kids are swimming, or when out shopping or near a busy road? The point is, some things happen in life and we can't change them. All we can do is live in the now and do our best.
You both need to focus on succeeding as a family and making your DD recover as well as you both can manage. Anger, blame and resentment towards each other is a waste of the scarce energy resources you have as a family. Use that resource wisely and talk to each other - properly talk- away from the DC for a few hours if you can - and try and move forward with each other without life long recriminations. Your family deserves that. I would imagine that is what your DD would be most proud of as she grows up into an adult. Make her proud.
BPM I'm glad you came back to update. I understand why you may not want this to stand in public though.
The idea of a blog is a good one. I've also been thinking about starting a support thread over in health for you and Vannah and any other parents who are having to deal with burns and their ongoing (almost endless!) care.
Blimey Viva, do some men really not have a clue? I work with a girl who was camping with her boyfriend, just the two of them, and their tent caught light from a paraffin lamp inside. She has horrific burns all over her hands and forearms from where she had to break her way out through the burning fabric, which went up in flames in seconds. Please don't let it happen to your family.
BPM - my heart goes out to you. I have thought about you so much (and have wept) over the past few days. I really do wish you all the very best x
Oh he doesn't come camping with us anymore and I have a nice safe LED lamp.
Just to say that health and safety is not something that can be shared or delegated. Each and every one of us needs to make sure that our environment is safe. If you nearly trip over a wire at work, say, it's not good enough to report it - deal with it then and there.
Many people have learned this the hard way, we are all human and fallible, and this is not directed at you, OP. In my heart I am weeping for you.
BPM Thinking of you and your family; best wishes for the future!
Bullet You know the one things that came out of your Op is how strong both of you are.
You to keep going regardless of what has happened, looking after a very sick child, doing all the treatments and still carrying on working.
Your DH to have kept a sharp mind in horrific circuinstances, risked his life and sustained terrible injuries to try and save his dd.
Then you are both hurting a hell of a lot, who wouldn't be? You to see your dd suffering in this way (I know that even for something so minor compared to your dd, it was like I could feel my dc's pain in myself. Can't explained in anymore than that) and your DH to see his dd suffering and knowing what it really means as he has sustained similar, albeit smaller, injuries.
Please don't let blame going in the way. Blame is a quick fix to relieve emotional pain and try and push it away. Except that it doesn't really do that. At best it burries the pain, which then comes out at inappropriate times. At worst, it will destroy relationships (between you and your DH, but also maybe between you and you dd, your DH and his dd, etc...)
This pain will go away, it will take time but it will go away and you will be able to do what mums do best, supporting your dd in her life, with your best abilities and despite whatever life is going to throw at her.
Carry on talking and have some counselling, you, your H and perhaps your dcs too if you find that this is getting too difficult to handle for them too.
Some one has just alerted me to this post bulletproof mum.
I was in similar accident to yours in June 2010.
If you wish to PM me, please feel free to do so. My ds was 11 months at the time of his accident, my dh also had 16% burns, and ds had 3rd degree to his flack and thighs. Also superficial to his arms, hads neck and face.
We were also in intensive care for many months and had 3 skin grafts and a failed one also.
Altinkum- I bet that will be loads if help, nobody can fully understand how it is unless they've experienced similar.
I can't add to what has already been said other than to ask where you are? I am an ex nurse and would gladly help with the creaming etc if nearby. I'm in glos.
Dear BPM, here is another one with an H who just does not think things through and who discounts my warnings as being overemotional or hysterical.
The only difference between your tragedy and my lack of tragedies is luck, and minutes. My H came within 30 seconds to a minute of nearly drowning two of my children. Only my instinct to turn back is the difference between tragedy and normality. He then denied he had put them in danger before breaking down.
He has poured petrol on a bonfire. This is someone who has had extensive fire training! (military)
He has a allowed a small child on a tractor - down a bank.
I dont' know what it is. Apparently there is an area of the brain in young men that poorly assesses risk and only kicks in around 28? It was an evolutionary thing when they had to capture mammoths or be warriors or something.
I don't think my H's one ever did develop. Otherwise, being a narcissist (diagnosed) he thinks he is so special ordinary rules don't apply to him.
This thread is 18 months old or so. I'd love to know how Bullet and her family are doing.
I've not read the whole thread but op this is a heartbreaking story and you are a very very strong woman.
When I have has situations in my life where someone needs forgiving...(I lost my dad to suicide as an example) I sought out therapists who suited me and didn't just nod and say 'you're bound to feel like that'. They are out there. I actually found a lady who does a fabulous session where she makes you visualise all that has happened and then say 'I forgive.... ' etc and in my head at the time I thought this is all bollocks and I don't really.... But do you know what, from that day I felt a weight had been lifted and I really have lost the knot from in my stomach. I can pm you more details.
I truly can't begin to imagine and I hope you and your family find a way through this.
I know this thread is old - I think the OP has started a new one today, hence this been resurrected. FWIW, it seems perfectly understandable to me that the OP should be annoyed at her DH. His arrogance in ignoring her previous warnings re containers of petrol nearly cost her daughter her life. Anybody in her shoes would be furious, how they would ever forgive him I do not know.
Did she not leave him? I think she did.
Last I saw I believe they have recently separated but are still living under same roof. I think that was around Christmas. Do hope all is ok for them all!
I'm still here and nice to know my story was remembered. I haven't seen the other thread posted today and didn't start one today of my own.
My life hasn't been easy for the last 18 months. My dd is doing brilliantly. Thank god she no longer needs the injections, pressure garments etc - just massage and creaming. She has regular operations, mainly on her hands. She deals with it all brilliantly but her life is very different to most two year olds. She has an anaesthesia induction mask to play with at home. She puts it on my face and tells me to go to sleep as she will make me better. At nursery last week she was playing nurses and bandaging her friends. Before administering care she was offering them some morphine! She is badly scarred and still does gain attention and the odd stupid comment. She is such an amazing character though she gets through anything.
Her brothers have been amazing, they are so protective of her it's lovely. She gets away with murder.
Sadly my marriage hasn't survived. We tried counselling, weekends away, many things. The love, the passion is gone. We had problems before the accident. Even a strong marriage would have struggled to get through what we've been through, ours wasn't strong enough. We decided to separate in September and he moved out last week. It's been a horrid time despite being, in the overall scheme of things relatively amicable. I'm doing ok, the relief now is wonderful as its been very difficult tense time living in the same house for the last 18m. I'm happy and optimistic about my future. It is hard though working full time with three young children, one of whom needs a lot of help.
Just came across this post, I am so glad your daughter is doing well, it must have been such a hard time for all of you. I am sad your marriage didnt last but it sounds like you are looking ahead with optimism and hope. Youy boys sounds lovely. Good luck.
wow BPM, I am speechless.You are an incredible woman.
I wish you and your family much love and happiness in the future. I am glad you reached the right decision about your marriage , even if it was a hard one.
BTW... the whole blame issue that was discussed at the time wasn't really ever a conscious decision in the reason we decided to split. The accident clearly hit our relationship hard, we have barely touched eachother since. the longer time went on the less I wanted to. DH was also very unhappy and had plenty of opportunities to work on our marriage - he never tried.
whenw e had counselling much of the discussionw as wrt to issues we had precedding the accident. The seemed as pertinent, if not more pertinent than the accident itself. Maybe the issues before the marriage came into sharper focus in the months that followed and I was les prepared to forgive those under the circumstances.
Whilst exDH initially took complete responsibility for the accident he has later described it as a mistake that enyone ould have made. This is red rag to a bull to me. I completely and utterly recognise it as an accident. I also recognise it as a mistake that many would have made, but not one that anyone would have made. I certainly wouldn't have.
I read this thread over the weekend and it sounds like a horrendous 18 months for you all BPM. So glad your daughter is doing well.
I'm so sorry your marriage didn't survive. Before your update, I thought it would because you'd said several times in the thread that your marriage had been happy before the accident.
How have the kids responded to the split?
BPM - I think about your daughter and you very often and wonder how you are doing so the update about your daughter has lifted my snowy dull Monday. Sorry to hear about your marriage, though glad you are looking forwards.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Good to hear your daughter is doing well. Good luck with everything
long term forgiveness is the best gift you can both give to yourselves and your family. If he cannot forgive himself he will not be able to move on and this will be a spectre over your relationship and family. I cannot imagine the heartache and stress for all of you. I am in awe of all of your family's resilience. I cannot imagine how you would begin to forgive and counselling would probably be of help. I am not sure i would manage it if i were in your position.
apologies just noticed thedate of the first post - ignore me....
One of my second cousins fell into a container of freshly prepared cement when he was four and had gone with his dad and a friend to do a paving job. Cement back then was very caustic and he ended up with 80% burns. He had to wear a suit like your little one does for what seemed to me back then years. My Aunty also had to massage him etc as well. Of course, don't know the ins and outs of their relationship afterwards but they are still together. He grew up to be a handsome bugger too strangely enough ... Somehow the scarred skin only served to emphasise his huge dark greenish brown eyes and almost black hair.
I'd say your husband feels awful about it but was he lighting an open bonfire or an incinerator? You can't predict what kids will do around fire and they move so quickly. My 3 year old brother threw his new expensive Tonka truck and tractor in the incinerator to see what would happen to it. Dad said he had his back turned for 3 seconds.
Glad to hear your DD is doing well OP and her brothers are minding her
Sad news you have split, the extra pain of that will hopefully ease.
Bulletproofmum I lurked and followed this thread, so incredibly sad for you all.
You are truly amazing, I,m so happy to hear your dd and ds,s are doing well.
Children are fantastic aren,t they? Their ability to adapt and cope with the most testing of circumstances never ceases to humble me.
I was saddened to hear your marriage has ended - I hope you both find peace, and I wish all of you the best for the future.
I have no dout your brilliant girl will handle whatever her big, bright future has in store for her, how could she not, with such a loving family and inspirational mother by her side?
How strange, I was only thinking about you last night - was there something on the news about a fire? Anyway, I was wondering how you and your DCs were doing and here you are!
So glad to hear that your DD is doing well, and that you are optimistic for the future.
How can BPM forgive her ex-husband if he won't actually accept full responsibility for the accident?
He describes it as 'a mistake anyone could have made.' (What utter bollocks).
I really do appreciate that forgiveness is a wonderful healer, but sadly some things can never be forgiven.
It exploded on to her daughter because the petrol was in a 'plastic' container - ie. petrol fumes/vapor in the air near the bonfire.
I am so sorry that your whole family went through such tragedy. It really is so heartwrenching, I can't imagine how hard it has been.
FWIW I think you either need to forget about the blame (it wont change anything), or else to reassess it. You knew he was reckless, you had to remind him 100's of times before the accident to take better precautions. In the knowledge that he was reckless you left your dd in his care around a naked flame. You knew he had caused a fireballl years before causing a near miss to another child. Blame is wasted energy, it won't help or change anything. He did something exceptionally stupid and you did something stupid too. Your dd doesn't blame, she is such an inspiration. I am so sorry you have had to have lived through such horror and I hope that you can continue to be really strong and to leave the negative feelings behind.
My husband in the past has done a couple of really stupid things with my little boy. Very luckily nothing untoward happened. One example of this, was when he was just 4 years old, I went in to his workshop and my little boy was at the top of a 12ft ladder, whilst my husband was doing something next to it on the workbench. I went absolutely ballistic. I just couldn't believe my eyes!! That was 2 year's ago, and I still mention it now. The other example was with some fireworks - but I was there at the start, and in no uncertain terms put my foot down immediately (I am glad I did, because had my son been standing where my husband suggested, it could have ended up to be very nasty indeed).
I do take what you are saying in terms of them both being stupid, but when you literally tell someone hundreds of times, sometimes you (probably very naively) believe that they would not be so utterly utterly stupid as to do it again.
Hi BPM, have seen your story throughout my time on MN, but never felt able to comment. Whilst I am sorry that your marriage didn't survive, I am pleased that your DD is recovering and taking things in her stride.
I know a girl around a year ago who had life changing burns to her face after pulling a chip pan down on herself at around 18 months. At 3 years and in nursery, whilst she was quite aware that people "looked" at her, she would smile and tell them her name. It was her coping mechanism, and it was quite wonderful to see, especially as it was one which she had come up with alone.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks for all your kind messages.
Mimsy, she does cope with it brilliantly. She calls her scars her burnies. Apparently her self-awareness will hit at about 7. However at the hospital they tell me that frequently the more seriously injured children turn out to be the most confident and secure in their appearance and very out going. I believe dd will be like this.
Molly. I'm struggling to see my responsibility in this. Regrets, oh yes plenty, I kick myself for not thinking what he's like and taking action.However parenting is a partnership - you cannot be watching the other at all times. You trust them, You have to. It never would have occurred to me at that dh would be so stupid to leave an open plastic bottle of petrol near a bonfire whilst in charge of a toddler. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Fwiw - it's not the blame that has destroyed our marriage. It has been the impact of numerous hospital visits, endless day to day care, sleepless nights, seeing my dd in pain. Balancing this with the needs of my other two children and a full time busy job. I was surprised to see that 18m ago I said there were no problems. Looking back now our marriage lacked many things. Of course dh was deeply affected by the accident but the day to day impact has been on me. Dh failed to recognise and appreciate that (and no I have never rammed that down his throat). Even if there were equal blame our marriage would have struggled under the circumstances.
TBH, I think you're probably still partially in shock, as you are still working so hard to get your dd well, your dh is not fully recovered, and you are running about like a blue-arsed fly with insufficient support and help. You are exhausted from everything you have to do every day, and there is no real let up in it yet.
To expect to be able to make that act of forgiveness on top of everything else is expecting too much of yourself. Until the long terms effects are clearer, you don't know really what you are looking at, so how could you decide whether you can forgive anything or not, even though you want to. Wait until you have some leisure to think about and feel things. I suspect you don't really allow yourself to feel too much right now; you're concentrating very hard on getting through each day, creaming, wrapping, medicating your dd, trying to keep things normal for your boys, rushing about hither and yon, and working.
As so many others have said, now is not the time. Deal with the things you have to deal with today, the rest can wait until tomorrow.
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