October 4, 2010
So the other night we went to Pizza Hut and were met with several of the clichés that I have mentioned before. It went like this.
We walk in and the waitress (Okay, everyone in Irvine knows us. First of all, there aren't many British guys that live here, there are none that look like Pete, and Sam alone stands out.) anyway, the waitress looked at me and patted her stomach with a questioning look. Great, I thought, she doesn't know. She then asked where the baby was. When I told her she looked shocked, which is a pretty normal reaction when you just blurt out that your child died, but then from one it went into one cliché after another.
First, there was the: "Well, you know what happened, right? God just needed another angel."
We let that one go.
Then, when we told her that Pete's mom had passed away two weeks later she said, "Well, it's because she needed to be there to take care of the baby."
Of course, this is the comment that made me hostile. I don't know why, but that comment works me up the most. Maybe it's because I hear it the most. We even heard it when Alison was alive. Sure, make Pete feel better by letting him think that someone else he loves is going to die. Or there is always the fact that my dead friends and relatives don't count. Anyway, I don't think it works that way.
With these helpful remarks out of the way, she started giving up helpful tips on how he could have survived SIDS. "Did you have a fan in the room?" "Did you use a pacifier?" etc. etc.
When she saw that she wasn't getting anywhere with that she started asking us if blood came out of his nose and mouth. We said no. (Actually, a little came out of his mouth but that was hours later and attributed to the tube that they had put down his throat.) When she found out that there hadn't been any blood she said, "Oh, then he didn't suffocate."
People might find this hard to believe, but we actually followed all of the rules. No soft blankets in the crib with him, no bumper pad, a fan going, well ventilated room, slept with a pacifier…I think people want to believe that we must have done something wrong because they just can't fathom the fact that a baby can die even if you are doing all the right things.
The first night that Sam and Mom went to Pizza Hut Sam looked at the waiter and proclaimed, "My baby brother died." What else is there to say?