Kids Who Die

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You said you wouldn’t go on the Magnum, but she made you anyway. On the way up the first hill, you held onto my arm, your nails digging into my arm. You screamed so loud on the way down, I thought I’d go deaf. After the ride was over, though, you said, “That was really fun. I’d go again.”

On the way home, you fell asleep on my shoulder as I watched Harry Potter on the small television. As the Charter bus pulled into the Recreation Center parking lot, the lights turned on and I watched for my mom, who would give us a ride home. Mom pulled up as your dad called and said, “I’ll come pick you up.”

The next morning you called about the party we were to go to. You said in a small voice, “My mom had to cancel the party.”

I asked, “What’s wrong.”

You hesitate before saying in that same tiny voice, “Trevor died yesterday while we were at Cedar Point.”

Your little brother.

I went to the viewing. Mom came with me. Dad told me that it would be hard, but I’d never imagined. It’s not like seeing an elderly person in a casket. The elderly have had their time, lived their lives. This is so much harder. Kids who die haven’t had a chance to experience life. They haven’t been able to go and see what’s out there in this big world.

And as I walk to the front of the room, I see your step-dad. I will never forget the dead look in his eyes and he stood solemn next to your mom. You stop and I stop. I look down into the tiny coffin and see Trevor. He looked asleep, dressed in Buzz Lightyear pajamas, covered in a Spiderman blanket.

You say, “I put the silly bands in there. I thought he’d like that.” I look down and realize that dozens of silly bands are lying with him.
The sight of the eight-year-old before me brings tears to my eyes, but I try not to show it. Everyone around me, including you, seems content. How? And then I thought, maybe you’re just grateful he’s not suffering anymore? Maybe everyone gathered here knows that one day they’ll see him again?





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