So we’d gotten through Swine Flu, Chickenpox, Meningitis Scares (overactive imagination) and two fairly bad colds. Surely the only thing that could go wrong was a road accident, no? But we live in a small estate and our kids are almost as risk averse as their parents, so we can sleep easy.
Who knew that there were any number of fatal diseases lurking around the corner waiting to snatch away our children, and with them, our plans and dreams?
Jude was admitted to the Sick Kids with a chest infection on the 22nd of December. About three minutes after we got there I knew it was bad news. I counted the consultants and doctors who came into A&E to see our poor wee boy, sitting up in bed wearing his Lightning McQueen jammies and holding my hand. I knew enough to realise this was no in and out, precautionary visit. I also understood that a Cardiologist wouldn’t pop in just to add numbers to the other three consultants who were hovering around, whispering and checking equipment.
The following day he had an echocardiogram and the nurses talked in hushed tones of ventilators and “getting him through the chest infection first” I sat with him and I told him the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table while he ate Rice Krispies. We also talked a lot about whether he would see Santa Claus from his hospital window (I knew he wouldn’t be home in time for Christmas). I was cuddling up to him in the bed when a nurse overheard him tell me that I was the best mummy in the world. She checked that she’d heard right then commented that it was such a lovely thing to say. I didn’t mention that it was daily occurence in our house and that Jude and I were practically attached at the hip.
When we met the cardiologist at lunchtime her opening gambit told us all we needed to know. “I have some very bad news for you , considering you thought you had a healthy boy”
The next two hours were filled with worry anxiety and preparations for a potential move to a Glasgow hospital or Great Ormond Street if he could make the journey.
It turns out he couldn’t make the journey and he slipped out of consciousness at ten past three in the afternoon and died.
The next few hours are as clear as though they happened today. We went into the quiet room with his body and washed him, dressed him in clean jammies and then after we all had a chance to say goodbye, we carried him to the Chapel of Rest where we laid him in a bed surrounded by teddy bears. Then we left.
We left knowing that we hadn’t left our boy at the hospital, there were no worries about whether he would be cold or alone because we both knew at our very core, that he wasn’t there anymore. That realisation and understanding helped. Without it, we’d never have left him there, at the undertakers, in the crematorium, anywhere.
We did visit the following day but it was a mistake and he still wasn’t there. That was the last time we saw our gorgeous wee boy with his bright blue eyes and messy blond hair.