RIP Caden Beggan – a reality check

I am so heartbroken. I’ve spent the last half hour reading through this Facebook page dedicated to Caden Beggan. This 6 year old boy contracted meningococcal septicemia, a deadly disease and this page tells the story from the time he contracted the disease to his passing. Mainly narrated by his Dad, it’s a harrowing yet beautiful tribute to his son. This post is not about the disease, although I did Google it and again I felt sick as I realized that recovery is slim, as your blood poisons your body and your tissues are destroyed by the virus, the scarring turns your body from purple to black and your limbs and extremities may need to be amputated in order to keep you alive. No one is safe from the disease, the cause is unknown and while there are vaccinations for babies against meningococcal disease – they don’t prevent the disease altogether. Anyway, as I said this post is not about the disease…

When something happens to any child, as a mother I always find myself putting myself  in that parents shoes. Can you imagine finding your little boy on the bathroom floor, not quite sure what the problem is? Can you imagine watching his skin turn colour as the illness rips through his body? Can you imagine being told that you have to amputate his limbs if there’s any chance of survival? Can you imagine not being able to take the pain away? Can you imagine the rise and fall of your emotions – your life –  as his diagnosis goes from bad to worse, but ever so often a glimmer of hope as he shows even a slight improvement? Can you imagine having to explain to his siblings that he may not make it? Can you imagine having to deal with the death of your baby?

I simply cannot imagine it.

I love a good reality check. One that really stops you in your tracks and makes you take stock of your life and of your loved ones and of what really is important. At the end of your life, the only thing that will really matter is relationships. How you loved and how you were loved. I doubt you’ll be worried about how much money you made, what titles you racked up or how good you were at your job. Personally, I’ll want to know that I loved deeply and fully, that I added value to the lives of those around me. That my children felt like a million bucks everyday due to the positive impact that I made in their lives. Life is so unpredictable, and the longer I live, the more I realize the value in a moment because you just don’t know how many moments you have left. And I constantly need to remind myself of this, and stories like Caden’s remind me again that you just don’t know how much time you have.

Being a mom isn’t easy, and even five minutes after I’ve written this, I’ll probably be yelling at the kids, but I seriously do not want to be left with any regrets – so after my yelling, I’m going to simmer down and strangle them with a hug. Forgive quickly, forget easily, love deeply.

My heart bleeds for this family. xxx

The ability to forgive and the ability to love are the weapons God has given us to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in this less-than-perfect world. — Harold S. Kushner: When Bad Things Happen To Good People


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