I struggled with whether or not to publish this story. I wrote it in response to my deepest fear after my son was born: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For the first several months of his life I was downright paranoid about it. That calmed once he learned to roll over and became more dexterous because now I’m confident that if he couldn’t breathe for whatever reason he’d be able to maneuver enough to at least cry out for help. But there are still times when I’ll go into his nursery while he sleeps and gently place my palm against his back or chest to be sure he’s breathing okay.
Writing, and then publishing, our fears makes us vulnerable. There is a lot of vulnerability in this story, which is why I was hesitant to put it up. But there is also a triggering effect. As awful as it is, lots of people have lost children to all sorts of things and have had to move on, somehow. I’m not sure there’s any understanding or relief in this story. It’s built from fear and ends in devastation. I don’t know how I feel about that.
In the end I think it’s important for me to be vulnerable with my fears. By putting it into the world I’m acknowledging that vulnerability and hoping to commiserate with others. I don’t know, it’s strange to write from a place of darkness and be unable to find any light. But there is a place for it, I think. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to say how things are, recognize that bad things happen randomly, for no reason, and then move on from it. Hug someone a little tighter the next time you see them, just as I hug my son every day.