Just because time passes, does not mean the loss gets any easier.
"It felt like we were stuck for the longest time," Heather Broussard said. "It was a very painful reality, there was a constant reminder of what should be; what our lives should be like with her."
October 20, 2020, started off just like any other day for the Broussard Family but ended with 18-month-old Mazie drowning in the family pool.
Heather said Mazie was in the living room, she was in the kitchen washing dishes, and could easily keep an eye on her. Heather said Mazie was not walking yet, and could not reach the doorknob to go outside---she figured Mazie was safe. The little girl managed to crawl through the dog door and ended up in the family pool.
"We would have never imagined that this would happen to us."
"We would have never imagined that this would happen to us," Heather said. "I don't think a lot of people do when something tragic like this happens---wouldn't think it could."
While their story could have ended there, it did not.
She and her husband Adam frequently share their story to help others.
"We found our place for our love for her to go...through this platform," Heather said. "To find a purpose for your pain and something that honors your child and honors your grief."
In October, it will be three years since the Broussard's lost their sweet Mazie. In that time, they were able to start Mazie's Mission, a nonprofit that helps to educate people on safe swimming.
"That's all we wanted from the beginning, was for other parents to know what we did not."
"That's all we wanted from the beginning, was for other parents to know what we did not. If something as simple as a sign can spark conversation with parents to keep a closer eye on their children when they're around water and ultimately save lives in the future."
The Broussard's also able to get an Infant Swimming Resource Instructor for the Acadiana Area.
"We were the only region that didn't have one," We believe this could've saved Mazie's life if she would have known the skill. It covers from six months to around four years of age and that's a huge gap when most children don't know how to swim. That's also part of the highest rate of drowning group in Louisiana. We ranked four in the last few years with the highest number of drownings in the at age group over the last few years."
Every day is a little better than the last as Heather continues to keep Mazie's memory alive by helping others along the way.
Water Safety Day 2023 will take place Saturday, May 20th from 10 am to 2 pm at The Robicheaux Center on Eraste Landry Road.
Helpful links are listed below for those who need more information on safe swimming:
DROWNING PREVENTION TIPS:
Constant Supervision: Always keep children within arms reach and ALWAYS search the water first if you find that a child is missing.
Fences: Install four to six foot fences with self-closing gates
Remove Temptations: Take all pool toys out of the water when you are not using them
Add Alarms and Locks: Install high alarms and locks on all doors and windows
Survival Swim: Teaches crucial skills in the event of an emergency
Be a Water Watcher: place a card on a lanyard and give it to the person who is the designated 'water watcher." Remember, this can be done in 15 to 30 minute increments. If the person is wearing the card then there is no question as to who is watching the children while they are swimming.
Make Sure that Children are Wearing Coast Guard Approved Life Vests: No puddle jumpers. They put children in a vertical, drowning position.