Little Rowyn Johnson was just 17-months-old when she was run over and killed by her mum’s best friend in a freak accident. But now, a year on, the women are still close despite the tragedy – and Rowyn’s mum Brynn is expecting another little girl who she says has brought ‘joy to a dark year’.
Cassie Miller had gone to Brynn’s house to pick up her son Wyatt, to take him to nursery with her own 5-year-old son Easton, when the accident happened.
Cassie, 32, says that she and Bynn were struggling to get Wyatt in to the car, as he was crying and did not want to go to school.
As his mum went back into the house to get a booster seat, Wyatt ran in after her, and in the confusion, no one noticed that little Rowyn had wandered down off the porch and was on the drive.
Once the children were all eventually in the car, Cassie began to reverse out on to the road, but tragically knocked down Rowyn.
“I remember saying ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’ as I sobbed and screamed,” Cassie told the Daily Mail. “I was in shock and could not believe what had happened. Every single day I struggle with what I did and the guilt is overwhelming.”
Both women frantically tried to save Rowyn by giving her CPR until the emergency services arrived, but paramedics told them that the little girl had died on impact.
Although the terrible accident could have torn the two friends apart, they instead grieved together, and have now set up a charity, Raise for Rowyn, in the toddler’s memory.
Today, September 16, is the anniversary of Rowyn’s death, and the pair say their friendship is stronger than ever. Brynn says she knows Rowyn’s death has been ‘as hard’ for Cassie as it was for her, and that the pair have ‘helped each other’ in their ‘darkest hours’.
And although Cassie says she wonders if she will ever recover ‘from taking away my friend’s beautiful little girl’, Brynn says it never once occurred to her to apportion any blame.
“When the accident happened and seeing my friend just crumble, engulfed with pain, not once did it ever occur to me to blame her. And there was never any question of if our friendship would survive, in fact quite the opposite has happened,” the mum said.
“We have grown even closer and held each other up during times when neither of us thought we would make it through the day. It was a tragic accident and I know Cassie loved Rowyn and like us misses her every day.”
“The grief I feel at losing Rowyn is still overwhelming,” says Brynn. “’Every single minute of every day I miss her and there is a huge hole in all of our lives that is impossible to fill. I can’t believe it will be a year since I lost the daughter I loved with all my heart and I still can’t believe she is never coming back. And as the anniversary of the day she was taken from us looms, the pain of that day is with me more than ever.”
Brynn is now 8-months pregnant with another daughter and hopes that her new baby will “breathe new life amongst this terrible sorrow that encompasses our life”.
“From the moment we lost Rowyn we knew we wanted to try for another baby,” she said. “’Nothing will ever replace her, but we always wanted Wyatt to have a sibling and when Rowyn was taken from us, we knew we had to try for another. It gave us something more positive to focus on. Finding out I was having another girl has brought us a little slice of joy in what has otherwise been a very dark year.”
The baby is due on October 3, and Brynn and her husband Cody have chosen to call her Mynrow – an anagram of Rowyn.
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