When I was 14, I started babysitting a little boy named Konlin. His mom was very pregnant with his baby brother. I babysat every other week so that they could have a date night. When Kade was born, they stopped for a few weeks, but resumed, taking Kade with them for a few weeks. When Kade was 3 months old, they decided to try out me watching both of them. Oh how I loved it. Konlin was hilarious, and Kade was the most wonderfully good baby a teenager could hope for. It went like that for 2 years, and I fell in love with those little boys.
Kade's second birthday was spent up the canyon, playing outside and having a picnic. When they got home they had a quick dinner and put the dirty boys in the bath. Their mom ran downstairs for a second to switch some laundry over and when she came back upstairs Kade was face down in the water, unconscious.
We lived just down the street. My mother noticed the ambulance in front of their house and went over to see if there was anything they could do. I got a call about 5 minutes later. It was my dad, asking if I could watch Konlin while his parents and grandparents went with them to the hospital. I put Konlin to bed, I knew his routine. He asked questions, asked if Kade would be okay. I told him I hoped he would. We prayed for his little brother that night.
At about 11pm my mother came over. I had school the next day, she didn't have to work. She arrived at the same time as the grandparents. Kade was being transferred to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, they'd come to pick up a change of clothing and some other things for the boys' parents. I went home and went to bed, Mom stayed over night.
I was a wreck the next two days. Instead of going to my church's young women group that night, I went to a Voyager season finale or premier or something party with some other friends. My dad was supposed to go too, but couldn't for some reason. I got a ride home. My dad greeted me at the door with probably the grimmest expression I've ever seen.
In spite of great brain activity and response the day before, that day all brain activity and response had stopped. After several hours of agonized prayer, his parents decided that his spirit had left, and the only reason his body was still alive was because of the machines. So they took him off the ventilator and he took his last breaths in his mother's arms.
I remember feeling so out of place at the funeral. I wasn't family, but I was more than a friend. I grieved the loss of a little boy whom I'd come to know very well and loved so very much. I watched the grief of his parents, wondering how they'd survived it.
I came across this blog today, and it brought it all back. The fear, the grief, the questions. Wondering why God would allow such a sweet, loving little boy die. I truly believe I came to know this family because God was preparing me for my own loss. I knew parents could survive the death of a child because I had seen it first hand.
I still miss him.