Morning folks... Today's date is October 20, 2008...
Today you are about to get some insight into me...
This morning I went to work, worked for about an hour and 45 minutes... then had to leave... why?
Today is the 10 year anniversary of the death of my second daughter, Lauren's ("Lolo") sister Deanna Catherine Frances Bolton.
Deanna never really got a chance to live... she was born August 5 1998, and died today 1998... If you do the math, she was not even three months old.
The official cause of death was SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In short, she just stopped breathing. It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but anyone who has ever lost a child, let alone one so young will tell you the pain hurts deeper and longer, than someone who had lived a full life, or even one cut tragically short in their adulthood.
I remember it like it was yesterday... I was working as a maintenance man in Florida, and was actually on the job when my pager went off. At the time Jess and I had broken up, we had actually BEEN broken up since she was pregnant with Deanna... but after she was born, Jess would bring her and Lauren over to my apartment where I would spend quality time with the family I had actually left due to Jess and I not being able to get along. That fateful morning my pager summoned me to the maintenance office... and when I got there my boss had the most distraught look on his face as he handed me the phone.
It was Jess... all she said to me was "She's gone..."
I raced down to where Jess was living at the time (her parent's house), and on the way down heard a voice say "It's ok Daddy... It was meant to be"... I about lost it. How I did not crash is beyond me. When I got there of course all the medical and police people were there, and I saw my daughter on the floor... lifeless. I grabbed hold of a confused Lauren and hugged her so tight.
According to Jess, she had changed Deanna's diaper and then placed her next to her and they both fell asleep... In the span of two hours, Deanna lost her lease on life, silently into the predawn. What made it worse for me is she had been in the hospital a couple weeks before because she had been having sleep apnea. The stupid doctors did not do much for her, and I had to yell and threaten just to force them to get her on a respiratory monitor. Even when they did I found out after the fact from a friend who worked at the company that distributes said monitors, that the one Deanna was attached to was faulty. The morning she died... no alarms went off. No warning that something was amiss.
Of course the cops had to do their investigation and I remember getting pissed at them as they grilled me on Jess' emotional and mental condition to be a mother, as if that was ever in question. In the end of course they found no wrongdoing on her part, but the drama and fiasco was ridiculous. I wondered why it is that automatically the assumption is made that someone is a bad parent when things like these happen. Jess loved Deanna, as much as she loves Lauren. So do I. I hear so many stories about people who abuse their kids or do not deserve to have their kids but that was never and will never be us... even if we ARE apart, and not so much an intact family as we should be.
I remember thinking many things, including how unfair it was, and how I blamed myself for it all... Had I been more meticulous in seeing to it that the doctors did what was right.... Had I just worked things through with Jess and not left them... Had I greeted her birth with the same fervor I greeted Lauren's... See at the time I did not want another child... Jess did, and it is part of the sins of my past that led up to my leaving them. Deanna paid the price.
So many things that could have, would have, or should have been... and it was a guilt I have lived with for a long time. I felt like I abandoned my family, and this was the sacrifice for it. None of it made any sense, but every year on this day both Jess and I relive the experience, even if there is an unseen hand on our shoulders consoling us that "It's ok..." Jess has seen her in dreams, both as a child, and the adult she could have been. I have seen her as a mythical faerie...
She would remind me she was here by dropping books off the shelf from time to time... 10 years later... I get no such reminders anymore.
But she is still with me.
Above this desk I am writing to you on, is her birth portrait, below it on the top shelf is a picture of Jesus, embedded in a memorial for her, and to the right of that... a small urn with baby pacifiers tied around it... within are the physical remains of our daughter. I just finished dusting the urn off and in front of it I have lit a candle for her.
I am sorry Deanna that you did not have the life you should have had, and I am sorry I did not get the chance to be the father to you that I am to Lauren and Sebastian. Please forgive me, and guide me...
I pray none of you ever have to go through this experience... it is indeed heart wrenching. It is not often I shed a tear... but you had all better believe... they are flowing like a river right now.
When we had Deanna's funeral and cremation, the pastor asked for someone to say something. I got up. I wish I could find the eulogy I wrote, I would put it here, but suffice to say it was heartfelt.
At the end of it I reminded everyone that whenever you hear a bell ring, an angel gets their wings... At that point I produced from my pocket a small silver bell... and rung it.
"Ladies and Gentlemen... Deanna just got hers..."
My thoughts are with you mate
My son is nearly 11 months and the thought of Sids has terrified me from the start, I've spent hours just making sure he's breathing ok
bel, i don't really know what to say, i can only imagine what you've gone through, as a father to a daughter myself and a grandfather to two beautiful grand-daughters (one two years and one four months) i can't comprehend the devastation you must feel!
My thoughts are with you today my friend!
I'm deeply saddened to hear what you have had to live through, Bel.
You have my thoughts, Good friend.
Oh man... Bel... So sorry... Man, to think they had faulty machines... You were so unlucky... Hopefully that will never happen again... To think the doctors did nothing... Man. Hopefully you had some kind of reinbursment, not that that would make a difference... So sorry for ya man.
Well thats just really sad mate....My uncle has Serable Pausy (spelling) and its really sad to see him like that...the thoughts that race through your mind.....I feel for you man, I really do 😞
i know its a little late drew but for some reason only seen it now.....my prayers are out to the little one and for you to have strength during this time of remembrance.....i just went through the same thing with my wife's family......she had an older sister and brother one died a few months after birth and the other days after and her mom is still very emotional on those dates even now 30+ years later.......god bless you and your family drew.....as us Hawaiians say when we lose someone close to our hearts.....
A HUI HOE MALAMA PONO
until we meet again