Milestones and Tombstones – Downingtown Screening

The road to Downingtown West High School goes through Frazier and right past Haym Solomon Memorial Park.  This is where Simon is buried.  This post is really about the success of our recent screening, but this screening revealed an ongoing struggle of mine – what is expected of me, the father of a deceased son.

I was never sure when I could stop crying every day.  It just kind of happened.  I wasn’t sure when I was allowed to start going to parties or other kid’s birthdays and have a good time.  That just happened too.  As I drove by the cemetery for the screening, I wanted to stop – I felt obligated to stop – but I didn’t.  I wondered that if Sally or Jaden were living in Frazier and I had not seen them in a while, would I have stopped?  Was I “with” Simon all day at the screening so I didn’t need to stop?  One of the things about being a grieving parent is that I normally don’t have the answer . . . just so many questions.  That’s the tombstone.

The milestone is exciting.  Downingtown marks our fourth screening this fall.  In the past, we did two screenings per year.   Historically, all of our screenings were done with CHOP.  However, this fall, we worked with three hospitals:  CHOP, duPont and Cincinnati Children’s.  In the past, all of our screenings were in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  In November, we held a screening in Cincinnati, OH.

Downingtown was our first event with duPont hospital.  All of the students registered on our new website.  Local pediatricians, school nurses and the National Honor Society volunteered.  We screened 267 students and several were referred for follow up.  We have a waiting list of over 300 students, so we’ll be heading back there in a few months.  Most importantly, we helped the Silva family, Steve, Christy, Devin and Quentin, remember Aidan.  He was seven years old when he died suddenly last summer.

Given all that we’ve accomplished over these past few months, I think that Simon is OK that I didn’t stop by.

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