Jude and his twin brother, Thomas, were born at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital on January 16th, 2014, joining parents Craig and Jill, and big sister Isla. We waited forever for these kids and they were finally here, and our life became the absolute best kind of chaos. Jude loved Superman, lions, penguins, Mickey Mouse, peanut butter sandwiches, our dog (Guinness), trucks, and stories. He was head over heels for his family and excited for absolutely everything. He ran, rather than walked, everywhere with purpose and enthusiasm, and he gave the best hugs.
On May 6th, 2016, Jude had a low-grade fever in the morning. Isla had been sick earlier in the week after an illness had been going through her class at school, and Thomas vomited once the morning of the 5th. We were concerned that he may be coming down with the same thing, but he then appeared to be fine. Isla was back to school after fully recovering, and I planned a quiet day in the house with the boys, giving them plenty of fluids in case they were coming down with something. I gave Jude Tylenol in the morning to treat the fever and his temperature was normal after that. We played with blocks and read stories, and after lunch I put them down for a nap like every other day.
When it was time to pick Isla up from the school bus I went to wake the boys. I was immediately greeted by giant Thomas smiles, but when I attempted to wake Jude I found him not breathing and unresponsive. An hour later after all possible emergency intervention he was pronounced dead at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga.
At first, because Thomas had started vomiting again and his symptoms had become severe during these hours at the hospital, staff believed that Jude had died of aspiration, assuming he had whatever was causing Thomas’ gastro distress. After that was proven negative (clear lungs and no sign of any structural issues) we were left without explanation until August 24th when the final report was completed with pathology results. Jude died of influenza B.
It is impossible to describe this loss. There’s a very loud, happy voice and a lot of noise that’s missing here now, and we all feel our missing 1/5. We talk about him as much as we can, remembering all of the things that made Jude who he was, laughing at the things he laughed at, crying when the enormity crashes down. We can’t change what has happened, but maybe if we talk about it, there can be fewer families like ours next year. We need everyone’s help.