November 13: 4 years old is too young to die


I’ve had a very unusual day.   It’s a Tuesday, so I do not have the kids but I do have work.  But today I worked from home in the morning.  And then attended a funeral for a four year old child.  And then did some shopping for a Girls night that I am hosting tonight.  And then did some more work from home, with a splitting headache, bulging eyes, and cracked nose from crying so much today.

Working mothers.  What do we do with our kids when we work?   Some of us have family members, some of us employ nannies, some of us drop our children off at daycare.  Ours has always been a “daycare family”.   And through the years you get to know the other children, know the parents, and know the teachers.   In fact, daycare does become a pseudo-family for your children when you are away at work.

*****

Let’s turn the clock back a bit.  On Halloween day, me and Big Bro attended the Halloween day parade for Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky at their daycare center.   All was normal.  The kids were out and joyful in their costumes.   The very next day, a child in Red’s old classroom woke up from a nap not feeling well.   Maybe a little warm.  Not a high fever, but just “off”.  The mother was notified and she promptly picked up her four year old child.  The next day, the child was not at school.    Over the weekend, unbeknownst to us, this child was admitted to a children’s hospital.  This entire past week, unbeknownst to us, this child suffered in the hospital with the flu, a strange unidentified infection, pneumonia, and appendicitis.  An operation removed the appendix.  The family hoped  the blood pressure and kidney function would improve.    This child passed away on Friday…. days after turning four years old.

Photo source:  ecolibris.blogspot.com

*****

Our daycare center is our pseudo-family.   I went to the service to support this family and the teachers who were also Red’s teachers this past year.   This is something I never want to have to do again.   Four years old is too young to die.   It is too hard to see parents say goodbye to their child.  It is hard to see the teachers in such a different setting and under such a different set of circumstances – and see them raw, as people, as people that you want to reach out to and nurture as they have nurtured your own.

The sermon was well done and I found myself strangely at peace listening to the words.    This life is given to us.  Each of us will have our day.   In the father’s words, he had four glorious years with this child.   And what the family went through over the past week was so difficult that today actually felt like a good day for the family.   I strangely felt a bit better.   Calm.   But numb.

But when the casket wheeled by, I couldn’t help but lose myself to despair again. I cannot imagine losing a child. I cannot imagine losing a child. I CANNOT IMAGING LOSING A CHILD.    I cannot understand.  I CANNOT UNDERSTAND.   Looking at pictures of the smiling child was heartbreaking.   Seeing a casket entirely too small was heartbreaking.   Looking at the parents of this child and the strength and grace that they portrayed was heartbreaking.   How can a child be laughing in a Halloween costume one day, then a bit ill the next (same as all of our kids this time of year…) and then wind up in a hospital for one week fighting to stay alive and losing this fight?   How can a child be there one day and gone the next?   How do we tell our children?   How can this happen to our daycare family?   What can I possibly do for this family?????????

I thought of Big Bro and how this child will never reach Big Bro’s age and ride a bike and have a debate with family members.  I thought of Red.  The same age.   The same teachers.   The same size.    Do I dare say that she would fit in that casket?!?!?!?!?!?!   I thought of Twin Husky and the little brother that this child left behind.  I thought of Twin Crazy and how this child was described to be, well, “crazy energetic”… possibly just like my own crazy energetic child.

I am strangely glad that I am not with my own kids tonight.   I feel too raw and I want some separation between this feeling and them.  I don’t want them to be too close to “it”.  I need some distance from them, some time.   I will see them tomorrow and that is OK with me.  I will walk into that daycare center tomorrow and likely cry again with the staff and pick up my kids and hug them hard.

But now, in just 2 more hours, I will host a “girls night” with my new neighbors.   A first for what hopefully will become a tradition in this neighborhood.   I am thankful for having this support system but definitely do not want to bring the party “down” with this news but it is impossible for me to hide it from my face.   I will put some music on, light some candles, and warm up this little place to be inviting.   And hopefully not drive anyone away should I suddenly burst into tears.

Til tomorrow

– Mama K

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Comments

  1. Mama K I feel your pain. For awhile I have followed Ty Louis Campbell’s mom’s blog about her sons battle with cancer. He just died last month – 5 years old. I cried for a long time, imagining it to be one of my children. I don’t know how she managed to stay strong. Their story changed my life. Changed how I look at my babies. Changed how I look at my life with them. I won’t ever let a day go by without them knowing how I feel about them and not sure I will ever take a day with them for granted again.
    Sending you some peace and wishes for an awesome girls night.

Trackbacks

  1. […] – that in CT as well as one that touched my daughter too closely (remember my post about her 4-year old “classmate” in her daycare center that fell ill and died).   She talks about this still, asks questions, and yes, she breaks down and sobs about death and […]

  2. […] night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead – ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that […]

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