Friday, April 30, 2010

The Reason

We got some news about Sam's death yesterday.

(Attention Reader - Please be aware that the contents of this post may be distressing or disturbing).

I'd actually been expecting it to take a lot longer, so I'm not sure if I was prepared for it or not. I was at work in the morning when I noticed Anthony had called. I keep my phone with me for the time, but never answer it when I'm teaching. As I was standing there talking to a class, I noticed that it kept ringing and buzzing messages, so as soon as I could I prevailed on the teacher nearby to keep an eye out, and then popped around the corner and called him (by this time there were 2 text messages and 3 missed calls so I knew it was important).

Anthony was very upset, and told me he had just heard from the detective in charge of the investigation into Sam's death. By now I was pretty upset too, and all I could think about was going home and hugging him (so glad this didn't happen while I was in Melbourne!). I called the executive, who (thankfully) came down straight away and I just ran out of there. I have never left work so quickly, but I knew if I didn't I was going to fall apart right there in front of all the kids.

I cried all the way home, because Anthony had already told me what was going on. And when I saw him I cried a lot more.

So this is what we know:
Sometime during the night of the 21st/22nd December, Samuel vomited. He was a very deep sleeper, and was probably sleeping on his back, and the official (so far) word is that 'he asphyxiated on the contents of his stomach.' I believe the other term for this is 'aspirated'.

That's it.

I am a little torn. While it is good to know what happened, I'm also a little (pissed off? frustrated? disappointed? devastated?) that it was this stupid little thing that killed him. Not a condition (like a heart attack or an aneurysm or an asthma attack), but an event. A stupid, one in a million, crazy accident. One minute I feel like screaming, and the next I feel so flat. It's not that I wanted it to be some glamorous, exotic cause of death, and I definitely didn't want it to be something that I'd have to watch Oliver for, but it just seems so...I don't know...pointless.

Don't get me wrong, it's good to know what it was that took my beautiful boy away from me. It does help to ease some of those little twinges (What could I have done differently? What if I had/hadn't....?), but it doesn't really make me feel any better.

There's nothing we could have done. Samuel did vomit more than others (and was sometimes pretty disgusting about it, as I have posted previously), but as my GP said when I spoke to him today, short of lying down next to him every night and watching him sleep (which I can tell you now Samuel would NOT have allowed!), we couldn't have prevented it.

There's nothing suspicious about it: he didn't eat anything unusual that night; he didn't drink or take drugs; his 'blood' results came back clear; there was (as far as I know) no sign of an allergic reaction; it was just vomit. It's a one in a million thing - it hardly ever happens to people who are not drunk, on drugs or severely ill anyway, but I guess Samuel was always destined to stand out, to not be 'one of the crowd'.

The more I think about it though, the more I think that it opens up a whole lot of other questions. How could someone sleep through that? Wouldn't your body wake you up? I know I've woken up in the past to vomit, and I'm sure Samuel has too. What was it that caused him to vomit? Did he have some kind of gastro? Was it an allergic reaction to something (although I don't there were signs of it)?
I really hope that the Coroner is able to shed some light on this.

So, we're back down again. I feel like the grief has started all over again. I was sick already (I did end up having sinus infection, and have just started antibiotics), I feel worse now. My head is pounding and I feel nauseous. I'm going to stay home have a bit of a rest tomorrow. I know people will probably think I'm bludging, or wonder why I'm making a fuss, but I can't help it, it's just the way I feel. As I've said before, I don't know the rules on this grieving thing, but I do know how I feel.


  1. Mel, I hope I can speak for everyone when I say we can't know how you feel but we do understand and and if anyone thinks you're "bludging" then they've got the sensitivity of a ....gnat. xxx

  2. work is only that... work. not life. stuff them.

    do what you need to do and know that everyone is here to support you.

  3. Mel there are no rules to grief - only how you feel. Know that no one who matters thinks you are bludging or will wonder why you are upset. Take the time you need to grieve. Know that we are here for you whenever you ask, whatever you ask.

    Esther and Scott

  4. Thanks lovely people.
    I'm pretty sure no one that I work with will think those types of things about me. They are very nice people.

  5. its the teacher guilt. we don't have a job where we can just leave it and it will be there tomorrow.

  6. Hey Mel...I so agree with what everyone above has said. You are on a unique path and only you and Anthony know where the next step will be and how you will place it....and you may not even find out till you have done it. I am glad you are with understanding colleagues at work. Jocelyn

  7. Hey Mel, Anthony and Oli

    I know you know this, but we love you guys so much!!! There shall be more hugs on sunday.

    The other guy

    P.S Just to clarify for Mel's readers, Oliver nick named me other in 'Hi uncle Phill, Where's that other guy?" meaning me, Laura.

  8. Oh Mel

    Thinking of you all

    Do what you need to do for YOU.. take all the time you need....

  9. Hey Mel,

    You take all the time in the world you need.

    I'm glad that you were able to get some form of information on how it happened, although I understand how pointless it all seems right now.

  10. Hi Mel,
    I think we're both finding out as we go that there are no rules with this kind of thing. We're just walking ahead blindfolded and doing the best we can.
    I can totally understand what you mean when you say it's like there's an anticlimax of sorts. And that it's raised more questions than it answered. I hope you can both stay strong and help each other come to terms with this new information and find a way through this difficult time.

    x Kate


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