And Then He Died...

by Aaishah
(NYC)

Al-Haarith

Al-Haarith

Yesterday I was in the grocery store. It was a hard day for me because it rained and when it rains it makes me more depressed. Of course I make do for my son but those grey days aren't easy days. I had been crying and you could tell. Sometimes it happens like that. Im walking down the street and I'm passing the playground that my son died in and grief overtakes you. The sense of loss for yourself overwhelms and you cry.

So I cried and this lady that I know vaguely from the laundromat asked me what happened. And I get asked that a lot.

What happened to him. Well it's simple.

One day Alhaarith went to school here in Queens and after school he played some 1 on 1 with his friends. By all accounts he played 3 hard games. He beat his friend Edwin out by 6 points. After he had played he was dribbling the ball…throwing some free shots (or whatever it's called) and Dihyah (My 12 yr old) called out to him that he was about to go home.

Haarith said hold on a minute, I'm bout to come too, and then he gasped and dropped to the floor. Dihyah says that he was shaking and breathing very heavily. This was probably agonized breathing that occurs after a cardiac arrest. Dihyah said he tried to do CPR like he saw on TV and called me. I got the call at 3pm that something had happened to Haarith. I thought it was just a school fight or something but all day I had been anxious about Haarith. In the morning he had left for school without saying goodbye. He had his state tests that day and he wanted to be on time. I remember wanting to run after him to tell him to come straight home from school. At about 1pm Dihyah called me to tell me that he didn't feel well. It was only another 90 minutes until school ended, and I didn't feel like walking up to the school with a sick 3 year old to get Dihyah out…so I told him to wait till school was over and come straight home. I remember thinking that I should get him and get Haarith at the same time but I didn't.

By 2.30 I was pacing up and down in the house. I wanted Haarith to sit with the sick 3 yr old . I wasn't feeling right that day at all. I was feeling sick so by 2.45pm I was getting mad…thinking ugh..'why doesn't he come straight home from school. Usually Haarith would come home at 2.35pm…so when I got the phone call…I knew it was bad.

I got to the school around 3.15 and by then I knew it was bad. There were kids watching someone on the playground and as I got closer... I knew it was my sons body laying still. I screamed. I knew he was dead. They were intubating him but there was no pulse.

I was able to sit in the ambulance with him while they waited for the paramedics to bring a defibrillator but I knew he was gone. My lovely chunky monkey (as I used to call him ) was still even with the shock. It was surreal.

At the Emergency room…I was taken to a separate conference room. There was so many people there. It was crazy. Police, School safety officers. Traffic cops, Doctors coming in and out. Department of Education liason. It was crazy. One woman came in and said that there was a slight pulse. I breathed at that point and started thinking about brain damage as I knew that he had lacked oxygen for a long time. I knew he would have brain damage at the very least but they had given me hope.

After what seemed like forever, the door opened and two doctors came into the room. I knew it was bad by the way that they were walking. They looked at me and said..we couldn't save him. He had suffered brain death. It was so technical.

The room got very quiet and I looked at all these faces and I said in this voice that sounded so british….Is this a joke? My son? Mine? Dead? Huh? and they nodded and I remember it was so quiet. Subhan Allah.

I told them I wanted to see my son and as I was taken to the Peds ER I saw the faces of all the moms in that place. They looked scared and stricken. In the room next to where my son lay was a mother who was gripping onto her child. I guess they all heard the commotion and knew that there was a serious trauma.

I went to the room and there I saw my son laid on a bed. He still had the intubation tube in his mouth. I looked at him and I said I'm going to cradle him in my arms one last time. I went to pull him up and this sound came out of his mouth. A soft ahhh sound and I jumped up and said did you hear that…he's alive…check him, check him. The doctor took out her tools to check his eyes and she said…no he's dead.

That's when I lost it. I cried like I never cried before. I cried for all the injustice. All the oppression. I cried for all the pain. I cried for all the hardships that I'd endured and I cried for my loss. I cried for the loss of my oldest son. My golden child. The one that I used to talk to like we were friends and worried that we were too much like friends. The one who said he wanted to buy me a house when he was older (I told him his happiness was enough for me). I cried like a baby and as I cried…I rubbed all my tears into his face. I traced his body with my hands. I rubbed his feet. His hands. His head. I kissed him so many times. I can still smell his smell. I hugged him and I cried. Subhan Allah. Meanwhile, my phone was going off. It was Dihyah at home with the baby. He wanted to know what was going on. I had to pull out whatever strength I had and told him, wait till I get home.

I looked at my son and knew that there was nothing else I could do for him. Nothing else but I knew I had 3 boys at home who were waiting for me. Waiting to know and I had to be the one to tell them. I kissed my sons still warm body and started that long journey home. That was it. That was what happened. Nothing. Just that.

My son lived for 14 years and died at the end of his 14th year on this planet. He died the day before his 14th birthday.

The autopsy came up undetermined natural causes because cardiac death is a natural death. My son probably had an enlarged heart. There are no symptoms for this other than death. That's what the cardiologist said. It's hard to comprehend that my son who looked healthy…was so sick that he died. Thats the reality. My son was sicker than most kids his age but we never knew it. His sickness overtook him. What was written for him overtook him.

My son went to school on Wednesday the 11th of March 2009…and then he died.

Comments for And Then He Died...

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Mar 12, 2012
There are no words
by: Krissy

There are no words I can say to you that will make this alright or take away the unbearable pain that you are feeling, and I know it will never get easy, they say time heals all wounds but I dont believe that, the wound that you and I and countless other mothers share is a wound too deep, to tragic to ever be healed, so what do we do then? I guess we learn to get through it one day at a time, we cant go ahead any more than that, one day at a time we take it, we cry, and we cry and we grieve with such heavy hearts, we feel like dying inside, and yet we also laugh, and smile and remember the happy times weve had with our children...and we know that one day we will see their beautiful faces again, we dont know how many days or months or years that may be but we hold onto the hope that we will all be together again some day..My name is Krissy, I just lost my 21yr old son Jesse on February 6th, Ive sat here and cried all night, its now 7:33am and Ive yet to sleep, I cant, hes all I can think of, I know the pain you feel, its deep, its unlike anything you or I will ever face in this life, I hurt so bad knowing hes not here, knowing I wont hear his laughter, only in my mind, I wont see his shining smile, only in my memories of him, only in the many pictures I have of him. Its still a shock, I cant believe my son,my Jesse could actually die, could actually be gone from this earth, Im lost, I dont know what to do with myself so I come to these websites and I read the many stories of so many parents who've lost their child and I know Im not alone, none of us are alone, we all share a common bond, weve lost the most important thing in our lives, we lost them in different ways but we still have lost them and it hurts bad....

My son died in his sleep, he was given a very strong pain medication that wasnt prescribed to him, he was taken to the ER where they basically did nothing for him but watch him, send him home where that night he died in his sleep, his younger brother found him, then came and got me, its something I will never get out of my mind, ever. On February 6 2012 my life, the life I knew changed forever, I will never be the same person I was before that day, I have to find a new me,a new life, a new way to live, we all do.....it will be hard but were strong women and we can do it with the help of God and those who love us...my thoughts and prayers are with you, my heart is always open for you or anyone who needs someone to talk to....because no one can understand or even begin to know what were going through, the pain, the hurt, the devastation, the emptiness, the loss of our baby, our child....unless theyve lost theirs too..
much love and peace,
Krissy

Feb 18, 2012
so sorry
by: molly

I know what you are going through because my son died from the same thing too. My son was away at basketball camp in July 2011 and he turned to catch the ball and just collapsed and died. It is the most impossible thing in the world, I don't think that this pain will ever end and part of me doesn't want it to. I feel that I have to suffer for the rest of my life the idea of happiness almost seems like it would be a betrayal, and honestly I don't know how I could be happy again nothing exsist in this world that would ever make me happy again. The only difference with our story is that I am a single mom I know that makes not much of a difference because it is still your baby but I guess you can try and be strong for your other boys as they need you now more than ever. I have no-one to be strong for and this makes me just think everyday why bother to live, but I am trying to keep busy and do everything that everyone suggest but my life has been forever destroyed and will never be the same again or ever be filled with joy. I don't know why we were chosen for this pain, I just hope there is a heaven and one day we will be with our boys again to hug and kiss them and just share all the love we have for them again. I really don't know what else to say as I am so lost I would be a Hypocrite to pretend to give you advice I can only pray for all of us and let you know that someone else is here and sharing your pain. Be well

Oct 12, 2010
Why
by: Anonymous

My son went out one ordinary saturday morning and didn't come home. aged 13.

Aug 05, 2009
I am so sorry for your loss
by: Anonymous

Your story is heartbreaking. Your son was a beautiful boy. I am so sorry that you're suffering this pain.

Jul 03, 2009
Death of a son.
by: Anonymous

I feel your pain, as my son also died of the same thing. He was only 19, he was a healthy boy, and also my best friend. My life revolved around him and when he didn't come home I knew something was wrong.

I cry for my son every day and wonder if this is just a bad dream that I can't wake up to. I still look for him to walk through the door, it never gets easy. For a mothers love for her child, the pain will always be there, I can remember when I brought him home from the hospital. But I guess that's all we have are memories and our memories will keep them alive.

I am so sorry you had to go through this, for no mother should have to bury her child.

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