Exactly after the whole school completed the last verse of the Surah Yaa-sin, dedicated to Athirah, a handphone rang, informing them about Athirah's death. Yes, she was still alive, but weak and vomitting after being found in her Mom's Alza at 2pm.
Her mom, a teacher in the same school, left the car keys to a younger sister of Athirah for her to lock it in the morning; was shocked to see Athirah was still in the car during home time, since she thought both Athirah and her sister left the car after finding and wearing their shoes in the car earlier in the morning.
Lesson learned from this tragic episode:
- Never take things for granted about checking and re-checking your passengers, especially the young ones. I personally need to be caution, especially at this age when Al Fateh and Yusuf love to play hide and seek with each other.
- If you are an owner of an MPV, do check the back row of your car, not just the passenger's seat behind you. You might find a 'hidden treasure' trying to scare you - but it's better for them to scare you in a fun way, then in a tragic way.
- Do head counts of your passengers, especially in the case of Athirah, who had 8 siblings.I know it sounds like school excursion, but never ever take things for granted.
- Do not leave your children responsible of an adult's duty, especially unsupervised. Leaving the car keys for your younger kids to lock up it's not an option.
- Make sure that the car is locked (and secure everyone out of it) after you've parked at home. Kids can be super creative in finding places for their hide-and-seek activity.
- Learn from it, and don't put more blame on the mom, or anyone at all, after this mishap. She suffered more than we know, and thickening her guilt would not help her and the family to move on. For all we know, they have an ensured member of jannah, waiting to pray for them. I am a mother and a teacher, and I strongly disagree of the police's accusation of her trying to kill her own child. She made a mistake and I'm positively sure, she has learned from it, as I do.
(Newspaper articles regarding this tragedy: 1 2 3)