I was walking to my car after finishing for the day when my phone rang. It was my best friend. She was crying. “It’s Chris*” she sobbed “He’s dead.”
It took a while for me to register what she was saying. Her nephew, only just born, had passed away during the night. “Oh my God” was about as eloquent response as I could muster, as she cried and we were both lost in shock and despair.
We drove down to the funeral, my mother and I, a couple of hours south of here. We arrived early, we bought a bunch of roses, they were white and tied with a dark red ribbon. We sipped coffee while we waited. The day was cold, the sky was dark. The air seemed oppressive, and the whole town was in mourning. “Where is the funeral?” was whispered among the patrons in hushed towns.
We arrived at the church and went inside. As we slipped into a pew we spied her, the mother, sitting up the front clinging to the hand of her own mother, her daughter by her side. The music began, Missy Higgins, that to this day I cannot hear without crying, and the coffin came. So tiny. Carried down the aisle by his father, by his uncles and his family.
The eulogy was said. No one smiled. No one laughed. There could be no funny stories or anecdotes to tell. For he had been just a baby. A baby, taken before his time.
In 2009, 78 babies died from SIDS , and 123 from SUDI (under 1 year of age)**. That’s 201 too many. The good news is that number has reduced by 85% since 1989 and with your support continued reduction is possible. Red Nose Day is today Friday, 29th June. I hope you bought your red nose. Or if not, why not donate online now?
To access Bereavement Support Services in your State or Territory call the Sids and Kids 24 hour bereavement support line on 1300 308 307.
**Source: Sids and Kids 2011 Fast Facts. This is not a sponsored post.