UNKNOWN CAUSES-Memoirabilia Podcast #16
UNKNOWN CAUSES. Death is an everyday occurrence but when a mother who suddenly and unexpectedly learns of the death of her son from UNKNOWN CAUSES, it’s inexplicable. Sally Rose got that call no parent ever wants to get one morning. In her shock and grief, she wrote this sad letter to her son, Phillip. Thank you Memoirabilia member, Sally Rose, for sharing it with us here.
He crawled at six months. He walked at nine. He made his first whole sentence at 18 months. In a restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas, where trophy animal heads hung on the walls. “Me see moose.”
He was the boy who dragged home stray kittens and puppies. And wanted to keep them all. He was the one who loved bedtime stories from comic books. Snuggled together in the rocker, with his yellow baby blanket, we read page after page, night after night, until he was too big to fit on my lap.
He was the squirrel-feeder, the soother of spirits, both animal and human. A pastor without the title.
At four years old, he drew a rabbit from the side view. His pediatrician pronounced him a genius. His wild imagination knew no bounds. He could create art out of anything he found. His 9th grade art teacher dubbed him “Sid,” after the notorious punk rocker, Sid Vicious. The name stuck.
Like the famous rocker, he had many struggles. With drugs, alcohol…with himself.
He was the gentlest of souls. Like a baby turtle, born missing its protective shell, he was sensitive and easily damaged, yet his heart remained open to all.
When he was a baby, I would sometimes wake up suddenly, in the middle of the night, thinking, “Did I just hear Phillip?” Maybe he’d made some small sound or movement that had alerted me. Within seconds, he’d start crying and I’d get up to go and comfort him.
Last Tuesday night, I tossed and turned, wakeful and fitful. The next morning, I got the phone call that no parent should ever have to receive. Phillip was gone. He’d passed away in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. All I could manage to say was, “Are you sure? Are you sure?” Like a broken record.
Phillip died in his own bed of unknown causes. There will be an autopsy and toxicology reports. It will be weeks before I know what really happened to my son.
It’s been four days and it still doesn’t seem sure, real. I don’t know how long it takes for shock to wear off, but I’m becoming acquainted with the five stages of grief. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’ve been ricocheting around the first four since Wednesday.
Acceptance feels impossible or at least a long, long way off.
©Sally Rose, 2016