November 12, 2010

Inside Out

I spent my lunch period today working with a small group of Global Issues Club kids to create a quick presentation to inform our student body of a campaign we are running next week to help raise awareness and funds for the Jakarta Animal Action Network. This organization is working to help all the injured and abandoned animals in the volcano region here on Java.

We were in the theater, and I was joking with the girls as they were nervous, “Just don’t pee your pants and you will be fine,” when I heard my phone ringing. I was calm and loose, it was Friday and I was carrying a light laughter in my throat.

The caller ID said Mia. She is our nanny who was at home with our one year old. She never calls school, unless it is an emergency. The laughter vanished, taking the calm and looseness with it. I was frozen.

“Hello?” Screaming. Sobbing. Hysteria.
“Hello, Mia? Calm down.” Screaming. Sobbing. Hysteria.
“Mia, you have to calm down. What is going on?”
“Skyelar! Mister. Come home now.” Screaming. Sobbing. Hysteria.
I hung up and grabbed Mairin.
“We have to go home now. Mia called and is freaking out. I don’t know what is going on, but we have to go right now.” We both ran to the car and made our way home.

In the car, I am numb. Worse than numb I am folding myself inside out. The first and most obvious thought is that she is dead. Gone vanished. The very little girl who I wondered how I could love as much as Kaia, who I have ended up loving in the most gentle way, the little angel who is makes my life complete, the very being who is my reason for living is gone. Poof. Just like that. I enter a world without her for just one second and nearly vomit. It makes no sense, this place devoid of Skyelar. I try to comfort myself with the dead kitten tale I buried earlier this week, but find the idea ludicrous. She cannot be a part of the greater world. She is mine to hold and nurture and tend. She is mine to love and lose myself in. She is mine. There is attachment, her life is permanent, no way will I allow her to be taken from me. I see our life without her. The unraveling. The trying to be strong for Kaia. The horror of it is too much.

Next, I go to mass injury. She has fallen down the stairs and will be paralyzed. Gone will be the family Scuba diving trip and the climbing of Kilamanjaro when the girls are adults, but at least I can hold her and kiss her and sing her to sleep. At least her eyes will stay ignited and her skin will feel warm. At least her breath will touch my face and her smile will keep me warm. She may be disfigured, but she is alive.

The drive is taking so long. I look back at Mairin and know that her mind is looking for its own place to land. I try to hold her hand, but dealing with both our dread makes me nauseous and I jump to a more positive explanation. Mia just panicked. It can’t be a big deal. We will get home and realize that she over reacted, and while we may be a bit disgruntled by the fear she instilled in us, the gratitude that it was nothing serious will be enough to make us all smile and hug.

The car pulls up to the front of the house. I am out the door before it has stopped. The house is empty. What the fuck? Outside, I learn she has taken Skye next door, where she is handing her to Mairin. Skyelar is alive. There is no blood. She is yellow and covered in vomit, and moaning a bit, but looks intact. Her eyes are distant and tired, but filled with light. We race to the hospital. I take my first breath since we first heard the news and know it will be alright.

Long story short at this point. She has a bacterial infection, which gave her a fever of 104, out of nowhere. She was fine this morning. The fever gave her a febrile seizure. The doctor says it happens and is not dangerous. Mia didn't know what was happening and panicked and called us. Which, while I wish she would have been a bit more calm was a fine reaction. We are now monitoring her temps and keeping her fever down. She has antibiotics to get rid of the infection, and we go back to the hospital if her temperature goes over 102.

Once home, she smiled, ate a whole bowl of pears, took a bath, and is quietly sleeping. We both keep checking on her heavy with worry.

I did not write this post to scare anyone, but rather to remind you to keep the important things in your life in your heart. Let the bullshit go. Life is much more fragile than we think. At any moment, anything can happen. I am not saying that we should love our lives in fear of what may or may not happen to us, just the opposite actually. We need to live life like it could end at any minute and treat everyone who enters our lives with the passion and love they deserve. Of course we all love our children and show them in many ways, but we also sometimes lose sight of what really matters. I hope this little scare for us can be a reminder to you. Life is a gorgeous and perfect gift. I have had my share of near death experiences and somehow keep on going. I guess I need constant reminders to cherish this wonderful blessing that is my every breath and the breaths of my family and friends.

The world looks differently when you even consider the death of your children. I don't know how people can lose a child, because even the thought of it was enough to nearly destroy me.

Man, what a day! Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and snuggle with her all day, because really nothing else matters.

Note for Grandmas: I know you must be worried, but everything is under control. Perhaps I am still writing charged with the fear of the day, but we are keeping a close eye on her and her temperature is down and we are checking it every three hours and giving her fever reducer. It was just a scary episode for everyone, but she is fine. Are you listening mom? Don't panic, we have done enough of that today. I just wanted to share this story so that people see today differently and really enjoy themselves, not to worry you.


  1. I'm so sorry you and your family had to go through this. I don't have children, but as someone who loves others I can understand your feelings to an extent.

    A friend of mine's family ran a support group for bereaved parents and I would help them set up their annual vigil a few years in a row. It was the most painful thing to watch from the outside and not truly understand the emotions involved. It always varied. From young couples who lost their first child to SIDS to a middle-aged mother still mourning the death of her son 15 years later. I imagine it is something you never get over - something you only learn to deal with as the years go on.

    I'm so happy to hear your daughter is improving. A whole bowl of pears is a good sign!

  2. Oh Jabiz! Tears as I write this. I feel a bit rung out with just the reading of it. Sending you all a calm, restful, healing night. Please keep us posted.

  3. Jabiz, I read this when you posted it, but didn't comment... actually, i think I did on Mairin's fb. I get chills too, when reading this. Can't imagine how horrific that must have been for you and Mairin. So happy all is well now.