Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Not Just a Fever

posted by Beyond Blue

Two boys went to bed with fevers last night. One is dead. The other is my David.

I have to wonder if the guardian angels are vacationing in Florida this month, because too many little guys have fallen asleep for good in this zip code.

In Katherine’s preschool class, a little boy lost his three-month-old brother to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). No explanation. Cooing one minute. Gone another. And at her playgroup this morning a mom couldn’t stop crying.

“Sorry,” she apologized to the group. “My daughter’s seven-year-old classmate and friend died last night. He went to bed with a fever and had no pulse in the morning.”

“Wait a minute,” I wanted to say. “This isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan. Healthy American kids don’t go to sleep alive and wake up dead. Not in Annapolis. Not unless they’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. And those are so, so rare. They almost never happen.”

As I looked at this mom’s tearful eyes, I held David’s flushed hand (he still had his fever), and I felt like a weasel for griping to myself the entire drive to the playgroup about how impossible it was to meet a writing deadline when I had a sick kid to take care of. I couldn’t do it, not without staying up past midnight, and I had already gone over my quota for the week. (If I stay up more than three nights in a week, I’ll trigger a manic episode and then crash into a bad depression. I can’t afford to do that now that I am writing this blog about how I try to stay sane.)

But my crammed schedule and impending late night seemed like a fabulous party compared to this friend of a friend’s tragedy.

I took my sick boy home and did something I never do…put my computer to sleep so I couldn’t see the new e-mails streaming in.

“What do you want to do?” I asked David. “We have two hours until we have to pick up your sister.” I walked over to the eight pieces of blue construction paper, an “ocean” that his babysitter had posted on the kitchen wall to house all the sea creatures he had colored and cut out at school. “Should we add more seahorses or octopuses?”

And I remembered what Gayle Boss wrote in her essay “Enduring Boredom” for my book, “I Love Being a Mom” (compiled back when my Prozac was working):

“Domestic tedium, like any desert, has tuned my eyes and ears to the subtle, the hidden, to the still, small voice that directs from within: See this child in the tub, flushed and reaching for you? This is the Presence in the present. This is holy ground, and it is more than enough. Be here.”



  • http://HASH(0xd11ae4c) midge

    first of all, I would pray for God to cover the affected families with his perfect peace.Then ask Him to speak to their hearts, and tell them that these babies are saints and they are in the arms of Jesus as we speak. The Bible states, paraphrasing absent from the body, present with the Lord.I would hope that this horrific experience would lead them to become Christians. If they already are Christians, I would pray that this would strengthen their faith.

  • http://HASH(0xd11b84c) David Kuo

    You are a beautiful writer and thank you for lifting our sight above, oh, us.

  • http://HASH(0xd11bb70) rhonda

    This story upsets me!! I feel for the women that lost her boy–cause i’m in the same situation with a grandson that’s 6yrs. He has had 5 seisures since Jan.23rd 2007–No one knows why–so he gets to go to Portland, Or.to the childrens hospital to find out….Why wouldn’t that mother take her boy to the DR. or did she? If so, then we can maybe think God had taken the child instead of having that child suffer from some horriable sickness…. I give all my comfort and love to the mother of the boy and hope and pray she’s well and not dwelling on the death of her son..CELEBRATE HIS LIFE,FOR HIM!! I myself just lost a neice (24yrs old) to a drunk driver, she died he lived. It’s not fair to lose an innocent child and have a loser live!! GOD BE WITH YOU EVERYONE RHONDA

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