A Mother’s Story of Loss (and how you can help)

Lilliana was a brave, creative, imaginative, and thoughtful little girl.  I used to call her my little engineer.

Always curious and always wanting to learn, which are great motivators to get your children to school.  Most parents want their children to have access to education, no matter how big or small their children are.  We strive and work so hard for our children to succeed, but we don’t realize we’re sending them to school with a false sense of security.

Lilliana paid with her life on a cold Friday morning.  January 20th, 2017.

It’s been over one year, ten months, one week and two days since I heard Lilliana’s voice say, “Good morning, mommy”… since I’ve heard baby girl giggles permeate around me while Lilliana played with her twin sister, Tieranie… since Lilliana sat with her brother, Jayden, while he read her a book.

Lilliana may have been three years old, but she had plans for that day.  We were supposed to go bowling and she was excited to try for the first time.

She didn’t get to do that.

On January 20th, Lilliana’s day didn’t last long, but it started off typical.

We woke up, made breakfast, and headed for school.  We took Jayden to school, then after, I took the girls to St. Albert the Great — Wayne Metro Head Start.

Lilliana and I took Tieranie to her classroom, then after, I walked Lilliana to her class.  I never would have guessed that would be the last day or time I’d be able to tell Lilliana that I loved her.

Lilliana was playing in the gymnasium.  Sitting on the floor, Lilliana was playing with a ball when a 350-pound recalled table that was supposed to be removed in 2007 fell.

The safety mat snaps no longer worked.  The mat had fallen and was lying on the floor since winter break, leaving no padding when the 350-pound, solid wood and steel table fell, dead-weight, crushing my three-year old little girl.

My daughter, Lilliana, was dead before she was even conceived.

My life is shattered.  Everything has changed since that day, in every inconceivable way.  I lost my little girl, my heart, a third of my family (present and future).  My home is quiet.  I’ve watched my children change.  Jayden will look at photos and his facial expression changes and he’ll look down.

Jayden decided who would be Lilliana and who would be Tieranie.  I’ve seen Tieranie take our picture frames and set them next to her for comfort as she eats, plays, watches TV or even when she falls asleep.

Children shouldn’t have to grow up too soon… not like that.  Not ever.

These tables are still in numerous schools and buildings that provide education.  Not only do a lot of our schools and educational facilities in Michigan have these tables, but most of them aren’t aware of the potential dangers they pose.  Jayden’s middle school has these tables.

These tables are so old, the executive direction of education could not even identify the manufacturer’s name.  I’m still waiting to find out when they’ll be removed.

For whatever reason, it’s unacceptable.

No parent should have to send three children to school and only have two walk out alive.  No parent, after the fact, should have to worry if their children will survive their day in school.

I live with that every day.  I still have to send my son Jayden and daughter Tieranie to school.

Multiple systems failed Lilliana and my family.  These same systems are still in place as we send our children to school, and while I speak here today.  Lilliana’s death is not unique to the state of Michigan.  Within the last 25 years there has been at least 11 deaths on the east coast.  One in Ohio where Jarod’s law was enacted and later repealed in 2009.

In the past decade, Lilliana was the second child to die in the state of Michigan due to these tables.  One child too many… by something so preventable.

Experts say that you can bolt a piece of wood or metal across the table while in the up position that would lock them down permanently, costing 25 dollars in materials per table.

Lilliana should be five years old now.  She should be in kindergarten.  Lilliana has missed two birthdays, two Halloweens, two Thanksgivings, and nearly two Christmases, and countless more.

Lilliana can never be the person should could have been.  She’ll never grow up, never go to prom, never graduate, never go to college.  It was all ripped away by the same institutions that were supposed to help provide it for her.

Lilliana should be alive today.  My baby should be happy and healthy and not a law.

Lilliana was a little girl… my little girl.

Today, I am Lilliana’s advocate.  I’m asking you today to help prevent another catastrophic tragedy for another family.  I’m here to plead with you to help make the change to protect our most vulnerable…


To protect our children from more school related deaths or serious injury, otherwise, Lilliana’s death will be in vain.

I appreciate you reading my testimony today, even though my words are insufficient to describe what Lilliana’s death has done to my family.

184 thoughts on “A Mother’s Story of Loss (and how you can help)”

  1. I am a preschool teacher and this absolutely breaks my heart. I cannot imagine losing one of my students in any manner. This is absolutely heartbreaking. I send hope and courage out to everyone involved in this horrific situation and commend this family on their strength. Our schools, at all levels need more safety, funding for safe materials and inspections regularly.


  2. This was completely avoidable! A law need to be in place to keep these children safe. Work places have to keep a safe employees and schools should have to keep a safe environment for children, bottom line!


    1. I agree 💯 to pass this safety law! I am so sorry for your lost. Prayers for you and your family. Please pass Lillianaslaw 🙏


  3. I am so so so sorry for your loss no parent should have to bury a kid I’m 31 and they had same table while I was at school


  4. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I would like to say RIP Lilliana, but reading about this ambitious little girl who was always curious and trying to learn new things tells me she is still learning and teaching other little ones in Heaven. This was and is a tradegy that should have never occurred.
    My thoughts are with the family and friends of Lilliana.
    I have a daughter who is 14. When she was 3, the same age as Lilliana she had gone to preschool, only for me to receive a phone call from the school that a large wooded piece of play furniture had fallen over while she lay on her mat for nap time.
    I thank God that she decided to lay her head at the other end of the mat that day. The piece of furniture landed on her leg. It was swollen and she of course was in a lot of pain. I immediately went to pick her up and off to emergency we went. The furniture piece ending up injuring her “plate”. As she grew, it has bothered her. Many days she wasn’t able to partake in some gym activities, to this day with aching on certain days depending on the weather, and I’m certain Arthritis will, if not already set in. I give her pain meds for this. This is something that has held her back from Certain things do to the pain.
    I’m so thankful that the piece of furniture didn’t land on her head. Had she put her head at the other end of her mat, today may be very different.
    Again, I’m very sorry your little girl was taken from you, and all due to careless, deffered maintenance on old equipment. And to know those tables still have not been removed is mindless on the schools part. I will certainly sign Lillianas petition.
    We do live in Michigan vas well.


    1. My 18-month-old suffered a grade 2 fracture to the tibia growth plate when we were involved in an automobile accident in 1993.
      He won a settlement of $100,000 because the lady who rear-ended us as we were stopping in a construction zone, never touched her brakes. But of course I know you can’t sue the public schools of Michigan. They aren’t held by the same standards as private institutions, but they should at the very least be held responsible and accountable to prevent accidents like these from ever happening again! 😡


  5. I saw the same thing happen to a little girl when I was in first grade in Ketchikan, Alaska. I don’t know what became of her. that was 65 years ago


  6. I think of this beautiful little girl quite often and what a tragedy this is. I have prayed and cried. This was an accident that could of and should of been avoided. I am so very sorry. My heart and prayers are with her family. The tables should be banned in ever school. May you rest peacefully little Lilliana ❤


  7. I am truly sorry for your loss and your hildrens and husband’s as well, I feel that these tables should be fixed immediately especially when it costs 25dollars to save so many precious lives. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, I pray for comfort, peace beyond understanding, I pray for healing, and please know your sweet Lillian is in heaven waiting for you it is Gods promise you will see her again. WORDS CAN NOT EXPRESS


  8. I know your with the Lord sweet Angel! You have not lost your life in vain. Prayfully this law passes in your sweet name! Rip Lillian


  9. How heartbreaking and what’s worse is there was no padding. This could have been anyone’s daughter. My heart goes out to her family and to the 2nd family this same incident happened to also here in Michigan.

    May these angels rest easy. They’re missed like crazy.


  10. Pass the law ! Our children should always be in a safe environment especially in school !!!!!!!!!!!


      I’m so sorry for your loss.


  11. Nothing has been done to prevent these tragedies. A small boy lost his life in Poplar Bluff, MO this year from the same type lunch table…it fell on his tiny body. Something has to be done!


  12. I am so very happy you are advocating for her and so many other children. God is carrying you through this journey with Lilliana by his side and they both love you so much. This was a very emotional read and very beautifully written.


  13. Can you post what these tables look like please I think we have them in my child’s school. I’m sorry for your lost. I want to sign


  14. I’m sorry for your loss this is sickening to know that this happened because the table was recalled and not removed our kids are suppose to be safe in school they need to be inspected with out the school knowing when they are coming they will hide things so they don’t care




  16. I worked with a guy in Flint Michigan who’s 4 yr old son was killed by one on his birthday 😭 I can’t even imagine I am so sorry for your loss these tables need to be removed


  17. This is very concerning and close to the heart. I cried reading this. My daughter is almost 3. This law should be passed, to honor your daughter and the safety of all our babies. I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you, and the change you are trying to make.


  18. Bless you and your family! And thank you for being your little girls voice.. and an advocate for safety for our children and grandchildren!
    Pass This Law!!


  19. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain your family Carrie’s everyday 😢 I’m soo very sorry, my deepest condolences…


  20. I can full respond to the heartache of losing a child at any age as we lost our only daughter 4 1/2 years ago.


  21. Please pass this law immediately. RIP lil angel 😇 my 3 year old great grandson starts Headstart this next school year – he is my life and I cannot imagine this kind of news on any given day. He is excited to be going and my prayers will follow him everyday for safety as I will walk around to be sure things look safe! God be with you and your family 🙏🏻


  22. I have a child that attends district 7 as well, and I think about this little girl Lilliana everyday that I drop my Bailey off !! I am so sorry this happened, this should have NEVER happened. We put our trust in these schools, we shouldn’t leave with fear.. Shame on the ones who were aware of the defected old tables , shame on you !!!!


  23. Yes ,please have yearly inspections on schools. This is a totally avoidable situation. And an easy fix. My prayers to this family.


  24. So sorry for the loss of your daughter and sister to your other kids. I pray for you and your other children. I’m sharing and pray there are enough signatures to get this law passed through.


  25. Please pass this law.. These tables are killing our most precious gifts from God our children! This makes me so Angry to hear that they’re still in schools. Really no amount of money is worth a child’s life!


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