In Reverence


A Little Life/A Short Life:
The family is still in grieving. Normally my family keeps to ourselves during bereavement, but at this time and for this time, I feel the need to pen it. My sister was the proudest of grandmas. She had a set of four-year-old grandson twins. I say had, for just last month one half of the twin set passed away. That twin was Andrew. Little Andrew died due to a severe asthma attack that shut down and collapsed  his lungs. He didn’t immediately pass away, but lingered on in an unconscious state due to the initial attack cutting off the oxygen supply to his brain.

Taken to the hospital, Andrew was diagnosed with little or no brain activity, but staff and family decided to keep him on life support for another couple days. During that period, many family members were allowed to see the little body lying lifeless with amassed medical equipment surrounding him. This was to be the last glimpses of him with his life ebbing away.

His twin brother, who had been with Andrew side-by-side every single day since birth, saw him too, but of course for a little four-year-old, the understanding and the magnitude of the graven situation doesn’t filter in. Once brought back home he asked for Andrew and has every past day since, wondering why his brother can’t come back home.

He calls out for Andrew by nickname. “Mokey,” he asks, a revision of Monkey, “Where is Mokey?”   

Perhaps, a bit more active than most toddlers, Andrew and his twin brother were into everything that their inquisitive minds would lead and take them to. They were little buggers, but no matter if it was in good intentions, or getting into trouble…it was always done together.

On the last evening with still no signs of improvement, physicians asked the family if it would be alright to keep Andrew on life support another day, not to save him, but to harvest his vital organs. After the initial realization and shock wore off that he was gone, the family agreed.

Though Andrew’s wee-little body gave out on him, it was a veritable life saver for others. Along with his eye lens being donated, his heart went to a five-year-old boy and his liver went to a nine-month-old baby girl. His two kidneys were melded together somehow and were rushed to save the life of a thirty-five-year-old man.

In those aspects, he lives on but as whole, where are you now lil’ Mokey, where are you…    

Humanitarian Principle vs. Political Pandering:
Just this year, a World Health Organization and Save the Children study published its results of a twenty year analysis that was based on more data than ever before produced with extensive countries’ medical and statistical consultations. In it, it turns out that the United States of America is tied with Qatar in rank as the 41st world country in infant mortality. Tied with Qatar no less…and with the second worse ranking among modern nations. American newborns are two and a half times more likely to die than newborns in Finland, Iceland or Norway, while three times more likely than Japanese newborns.

With that noted, the core of asthma effects is inflammation of the lungs caused by the increased sensitivity of airwaves from introduced allergens and triggers. Doctors are limited to a degree in treating pediatric asthma as opposed to adult asthma, for harsher medications are more restrictive on children and diagnosis, in particular for under three-year-olds, is much harder to derive.

Just this month America commemorated the tenth year anniversary of 9/11, as we should have, for we lost 2,653 innocent souls that day. But, in terms of asthma, in particular in ever increasing child asthma, it too deserves attention. It is more discrete with numbering spread out in the days it kills, but nonetheless it is killing our children. Since 2007 more than 185 American children die each year from asthma.

Also sad, according to the Center for Disease Control, ever since 2007 two out of five (40%) with asthma were uninsured and could not afford medical treatment and prescriptions. In addition, one out of nine (11%) insured Americans could not afford the high priced medical prescriptions to arrest asthma attacks.     

Asthma is the leading chronic illness among children. Today, 14.4 million school days per year are lost attributed solely to American asthmatic children here in the U.S. It is currently ranked third for reasons of child hospital admissions and is not abating or stagnating, but climbing.

Pollution particulates are not allergens per say, but are triggers that exacerbate allergy attacks in young developing lungs. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association have pointed out from their academia studies that pollution plays a major role in more aggressive asthma attacks. In areas where industrial pollutants are emitted child asthma attacks rise in their intensities, while in areas where pollution was brought under control and decreased, so too did chronic asthma attacks drop in the children living in the region.

So, one would think that cleaning up pollution would be a top priority with our elected officials. What is downright shameful is that, though we cannot control asthmatic allergens such as dander, pollen and mites, we can control the amount of pollution particles that are inhaled by our little one’s lungs, but Republicans choose not to.

Unfortunately, not only is the Republican House ignoring these figures concerning our infants and children’s health, in their newly passed Train Act, they are actually going to allow polluter industries to pollute even more. Under the false premises of job creation, Republicans are actually protecting and allowing polluters to pollute more by taking away current anti-pollution regulations and gutting the EPA’s authority to monitor polluting offenders. Republicans have chosen industry over our child’s welfare. Of course there are a host of other pollutants as well, that will no longer be controlled that cause a slew of health issues from irritants to nerve and brain damage. 

Actions like this are not only inexcusable, it is a national tragedy. 

This is egregious, not only am I concerned, I’m ticked off at Republican primal mentalities. Yore dang tootin’ I’m annoyed. I just lost a great-nephew due to the ravishes of asthma and Republicans want to add to the misery of parents with asthmatic children by shielding irresponsible polluters? Not on my watch, I’m going to be the thorn in their foot and they will begin to hobble.

This asthmatic upswing in child asthma has got to be approached and responsibly addressed. We’re losing our children. My personal crusade in tribute to Andrew is a petition to Republicans. I’m calling it the ‘Mokey Petition’ and its sole agenda is to bring awareness and lessen pollution emissions, not increase them.

With these statistics and numbers, someone has got to bring this out into the forefront and to the attention of our so-called well intended politicians. Its apparent, they have been blessed, nows the time to reciprocate and bestow upon our children at least the minimum of blessings of a safe and secure assurance to breathe into little developing lungs fresh clean air.

For you Republicans, let me just say this, you may take away our
 middleclass jobs, our benefits and even our retirements without so much as just a fuss in return, but dont mess with our children

When My Child Cries I Cry:
It is agonizing and wrenching for a mother with an asthmatic child to watch him/her suffer through an attack. They must be stalwart and strong outwardly for the child’s sake, but inwardly they are emotionally suffering and tearing apart. They get through one attack, only to know that there will be more to come; perhaps they surmise will the next one be the fatal one.

If, or when that child dies, unmitigated sorrow and constant grief feels/fills the mother’s heart; her otherwise healthy and normal child now suddenly gone from her, by one critically fatal attack.

For a bereaved parent, the grief in losing a child for any reason is tantamount to losing their own life. Nothing said or done can erase away the pain. But when we have the capability to lessen a disease’s causation and choose not to…that has an equivalency value of total ignorance.

Over 7 million American children have asthma and with a prevalence rate of 8.4%, America has to begin seriously approaching this exponential increase and put a halt to pollution. If you can’t do well for the sake of your children, then who can you? I for one want to laugh with my children in their security, not cry for the reasons they have to cry when protections are taken away.

M’ lil’ Mokey, in tribute you will be remembered…

Lil' Mokey, forever retain that smile to shine down on us...

In Honor,
09/27/2011 for: 
08/21/2011 4 Years & 5 Months Old to the Day


  1. That was a touching story, BJ. Sorry for your family's loss.

  2. Gar Henry, appreciate much your condolences.
    In regards for now and then,