Alexander - The Story of a Young Boy
Re-energized from his afternoon nap, Alexander runs around the house giggling. “Mamma, ‘Un! Catch”, he challenges his mother in sheer excitement, at almost 2 years of age he can only speak in broken sentences. Even though she is tired from taking care of a toddler all day, she pretends runs after him. She can’t help but smile every time he calls her Mamma.
When Sia and Aaron got married 3 years ago, they wanted to have a baby right away, and God blessed them with Alex in their very first year of trying. Alexander, meaning victorious, brought with him joy beyond measure for the Singh family. As soon as he was born - Grandma, Grandpa, Aaron, and Sia - all fussed over this little bundle of joy.
As the mother-son duo is playing, the father returns from work; looking at the grin on Alex’s face, he joins in on the chase. After the second round he catches up to him, picks him up in his arms, and swirls him around making Alex squeal louder. “Are you excited about your 2nd birthday? If you say Dada, I will buy you a lovely gift”, Aaron shamelessly tries to get Alex to say Dada. Sia laughs at his childish attempts, and leaves to go to the kitchen to prepare dinner. After playing with Alex for a little while longer, Aaron retreats into his room to freshen up for dinner.
Sia brings out the baby chair, perches Alex on the seat, and places a bowl of pea soup on the table, to begin feeding him his dinner. Alex has never been easy to feed, after fighting the first few spoonfuls; the distraction of an iPad is what finally settles him down. Smiling his toothy grin to a show on YouTube kids, he happily eats his soup. Sia is happy that after days of not eating properly, Alex finally ate well tonight. After gulping down the entire content of his water sipper, he pushes it towards Sia, “More”. “Mamma will get you more water after this one last bite”; she tries to bargain with the little 2-year-old. After feeding him the last bite, Sia hands him a bowl of halved grapes as a dessert and leaves to get him more water.
When she returns with his water sipper, her heart drops at the sight in front of her. The signs of choking are clear – the desperate look in Alex’s eyes, his flapping arms, his reddening face and his inability to make any sound. Sia grabs him from his chair and thumps his back again and again, but the grape remains firmly wedged in his throat, changing his skin color to a deeper shade of red. “Breathe, Alex, breathe. Aaron, Alex is choking!” she manages to yell in between frantic blows to his back and her uncontainable sobs. Alex looks at his mother with his, now bloodshot and watery, eyes, as if begging her to help him.
The parents waste no time in taking him to the nearest hospital in their vicinity. It’s a small hospital, with just the very basic first aid facilities; the paramedics immediately attend to him, but decide to refer him to a bigger and more equipped hospital. Aaron, frustrated, drives his son to the second hospital, not waiting for an ambulance. By the time they reach the second hospital, Alex loses consciousness; the emergency room is busy but the doctors immediately tend to Alex. Sia is in a state of shock and weeping for her baby, “Alex, Mamma is right here baby. Keep Breathing!” Aaron tries to calm her down, but the corridor is filled with the mother’s anguish. 10 minutes later - which seems like an eternity, the doctor calls in the parents to speak to them. “Your son had a faint heartbeat when he got here, we were able to resuscitate him. We have intubated him to help him breathe, but we need to surgically remove whatever is blocking his airway. We need you to sign the consent forms”, the doctor seemed calm, but serious. Aaron immediately rushes to the nurse’s station to sign the papers and make the deposit, while Sia watches the doctors take Alex into the Operating Room.
Aaron and Sia are sitting in the lobby, outside the OR; Sia has composed herself but is frantically praying for her baby’s recovery. “Please God help my baby. It’s my fault he choked. I should have fed him something else. Please God don’t hurt him”, she continues to pray in guilt, “he is just a baby.” Less than 30 minutes later, a team of doctors come out of the operating room, and walk straight towards the anxious parents. The senior doctor looks at Aaron, and for the first time that night, Aaron feels nauseated. “We were able to clear the blockage, but lack of oxygen in his body for so long led to severe damages to his brain and other vital organs. We have put him on life support, there is no hope of any recovery. We did everything we could.” Every parent’s worst nightmare came true for Sia and Aaron; their son – who was full of life just a few hours ago, now lays limp in a hospital bed.
Sia and Aaron are led into the recovery room where Alex’s unconscious body lays in the midst of beeping medical equipment. They sit on either side of him; careful not to hurt they reach out and hug their baby one last time, whilst the doctors prepare to take him off life support. Few minutes later the breathing stops, leaving the parents inconsolable in floods of tears, unable to deal with the loss.
It’s the day of the funeral, and also sadly, Alexander’s 2nd birthday, Aaron had bought his son an electric car, which lays packed in their living room taunting him. Sia spent the whole day crying, and recalls the ways she could have saved her child. Friends and family have come together to support the Singh family through this trying time. At the onset of the funeral services, Aaron and Sia, in spite of the unspeakable pain, announce Alexander Singh First Aid Training Program to be run by a team of medical experts, to help educate new parents and caregivers on how to respond to the most common first aid emergency situations. After the memorial service, as a final act of tribute and love for the deceased, thousands of yellow balloons are released, in the remembrance of Alexander – a young boy.
"An angel in the Book of Life wrote down my baby's birth, and whispered as she closed the book, 'Too beautiful for earth'." - Author unknown
This is the story of Alexander, a young boy, who didn’t live to be a 100, but died touching the hearts of many. I didn’t personally know Alex, or his parents, but his story touched my heart. This is my homage to him, and an attempt to keep his memories alive.
(A work of fiction, inspired by a real life event. Name and story has been changed to maintain privacy. It is a heartfelt story, and I don’t mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s feelings. My thoughts go out to the family. Life is so fragile and unpredictable, it doesn’t always make sense but time heals all wounds.)
If you like, or even don’t like this short story, please leave your feedback and comments. Help me improve by leaving your constructive criticism or praises whichever I deserve.
Look out for another short story next month. Till then hug your loved ones, tell them how much they mean to you. And as always be kind to all, you never know what they are going through.
Love & Peace
(Photo Courtesy - Canva)
(Photo Courtesy - Canva)