If I died, I would be okay. Those are the thoughts that have been consuming my mind this weekend. Morbid thoughts, I admit, but my thoughts just the same. The difficulty is that I am sick. Really sick. I have been battling these issues for many months, but they continue to get worse. I don’t know that I am dying, but… have you ever been so sick with the flu or something that it felt as if you were going to die? And it was so bad that in the moment, you really didn’t care if you did die, if only you would stop feeling so sick? That is how I have been – only I don’t think this is the flu.
I also don’t think that I am dying. It is possible, and as I consider that, I consider all the people I know who died young for health reasons – two of my cousins (cystic fibrosis – age 21 and 26,) four people I went to highschool with (heart attack – age 33, stomach problems – age 34, brain tumour – age 36, breast cancer – age 39) three of the people I went to school with had very young children they left behind. At least I don’t have that. Then there was the boy.
A beautiful little brown haired, green eyed boy, with an amazing personality. When the other kids were fighting, he was the one who stepped in – despite being only two or three years old, he was able to get everyone playing nicely again. Much more mature than I was for all of my 27 or so years, and training in this area. He was just good at it.
Funny, and social, and caring (“but the owls can’t eat the bunnies,” he told me when looking through an encyclopedia – I know, but the kids loved the books – “the bunnies would be too sad.”) and smart… that boy had a lot of potential. Even my son liked him, and my son didn’t like ‘little kids.’ My boy was four years older.
He had his forth birthday party, and I dropped off my son, and a nephew. They had a lot of fun. I might have stayed, but I knew his family. I had known them for two years. I stayed for his third birthday party, and left the boys for his forth. And it was fine.
The next week, as he was dropped off for daycare, I noticed a limp. It came through the day, but (though I supervised carefully) I hadn’t noticed him hurt it in any way. Day after day the limp got worse, and this energetic little boy started napping during our early morning time outside. He was so tired all the time.
He could have pulled the muscle riding the bike he got for his birthday. Maybe another (quite rough) boy in my daycare knocked him down. “Try keeping them apart,” I was told. But the solution wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t helping. He just kept getting worse.
And then I got the phone call. Leukemia, they told me. I filled up a whole sheet of paper listening to his grandma on the phone. I still have that paper.
He fought for two years, brave, beautiful child that he was. And as I was in Vancouver with my children, placed just a few months before, being told that all three had Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, this little boy passed away while playing crib with the nurse. “Fifteen two, fifteen four, and a pair is six,” I am told were his last words as he fell asleep. I was standing in the kitchen making supper for my third anniversary with my husband.
The first time I left my children with a babysitter (with anyone other than my husband and mom) since placement was for his funeral a few days later.
Tomorrow is my 13th wedding anniversary. It has been 10 years, and as I think about how strong this pain and these thoughts of death have been this weekend I realize… it is not for myself that I cry. These tears are for him.