In recent weeks a new breed of question has emerged from acquaintances, co-workers, distant friends. It seems to be a line of questioning no one felt comfortable approaching in those early, raw months. But, now that we've given birth to The Bean, and we've passed the One Year mark, this particular type of questioning must feel more comfortable. Easier. Less intrusive.
The question is essentially the same, although it takes on many forms - some softer, more gentle, more subtle than others. Regardless, I'm struggling with the appropriate answer. In general, the dialogue goes something like this:
"So...what happened? How did Peanut REALLY die?"
Sometimes it's followed with, "I heard it was <fill in the blank>."
The blank has ranged from SIDS to meningitis to influenza to suffocation to the one answer that seems unbelievable, unthinkable, to anyone and everyone - including me.
"Is it true you really have no idea HOW or WHY he died????"
Yes. Yes, that is essentially true.
Last Friday - the 13th - we received a draft of your final study results from the SUDC Research Project. They confirmed what we suspected all along. SUDC. Yes, they confirmed you had a trace of bronchitis, which could have been a contributing factor. But, as we have suspected from the beginning, bronchitis doesn't kill otherwise healthy children.
So, now what? Peanut, with these study results in hand I will fight for you. For SUDC. For recognition of this unrecognized, unknown, terrifying killer of toddlers. I will fight for all the other mommas out there who struggle to answer the horrifying, dreaded questions, "So....what happened? How did your child REALLY die?" In the future, when those mommas answer, "SUDC" there will be awareness. Acknowledgment. And someday there will be more known about how to prevent it.
Until that day, I will fight.
Charlie Dooley, Dr. Mary Case, Dr. Dolores Gunn. I am putting you on notice. Look out. Peanut's Momma is back in business.
Peanut, I am forever fueled by my love for you. Fierce Peanut Love. To the moon and back!