Tuesday, May 22, 2007

OK, This Is a Very Sad One

I don't mind confessing I teared up a little bit when I read this. Here's the link. And here's the lead from the Ottawa Citizen's story about it:

In the end, it was a hockey game Elgin-Alexander Fraser was not going to miss.

The three-year-old spent his last hours at home, nestled between family and friends on a mattress on the living room floor in front of the television, watching the Ottawa Senators reach the Stanley Cup finals.

His right lung had collapsed and he breathed loudly, wheezing. When it became too hard to keep his heavy-lidded eyes open, because of the morphine, his family whispered the play-by-plays to him.

"Go if you want to go now, bud," said his father, Hamish Fraser, to his wee son, who weighed just more than 30 pounds.

"You don't have to hang on."

But that afternoon, he did hang on, to see his favourite team win, just as the players promised him they would.

Two hours later, as his mother and father tightly held his hands and told him they loved him, he softly closed his eyes.

Afterwards, his mother, Victoria Fraser, washed him, clipped his nails and dressed him in a grey Senators jogging suit. She then cradled him in her arms for more than an hour.

"Everything that happened just seemed to fall into place and everything felt right at that moment," said Ms. Fraser.

Elgin died of a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, and had captured the emotions of thousands who raised funds at charity events for him to fight cancer.

"He went peacefully," said his father, adding that his son loved hockey "more than anything," and was the Senators' biggest fan.

Rest in peace, Elgin. Condolences to his family, their friends and all the Senators fans who had embraced him and his cause.


LadyAndrea said...

Wow, it's a little dusty in here. What a wonderful story.

'bout_willis said...

Dude, you are brining me down. That is too hardcore for even Lifetime. In my opinion, no more 3 year olds dying on this site!!! Please!!! The tears are gumming up my keyboard.

Larry said...

I have a three, almost four, year old, and I can't imagine losing him. I feel for the Fraser family and pass my condolances.

Still--at the risk of sounding insensitive or callous--there is something that disturbs me about this whole story. A three year old can't care that much about the Stanley Cup . It's an abstraction to a concrete thinker (no offense to three-year olds, but they are concrete thinkers. It's developmental). It's not like a 3-year old has a long history of waiting to see his/her favorite team wins the championship. Most three year olds I know would be more excited about running around chasing other three-year olds.

It bothers me when parents force sports on their children, particularly when the child is too young to make conscious rooting-interest, decisions of his/her own (or sometimes even interests of their own). And this strikes at the core of "Varsity Dad", no?

I felt a little guilty buying my boy an Angels shirt when we went to see an Angels game last week. When he woke up that morning and chose not to wear it, I didn't force it on him. It's his world, his body, his decision. And when he expressed interest in having his own football helmet, I showed him a screen with all the different NFL team helmets and let him choose which one he liked best, rather than me choose my favorite team for him. That's been my philosophy with my boy in all things: try to expose him to as wide a variety of things (not just sports-related), because the world is huge and various, and let him choose the things that excite him. Sometimes it's cool (like when he learns to identify 100 kinds of birds by sight and know many of them by their bird songs); and other times I just shrug and go along (like when he chooses to listen to his Kindermusic CD instead of the Beatles).

My point is this: If parents submerge a 3-year old in their own interests, especially to an obsessive degree, doesn't the child become more of an expression of the parents than a living, choosing, free individual?

The Fan said...

Yesterday, TSN (tsn.ca), the sports channel in Canada, showed two Sensator players were pallbearers. It is indeed a very touching story, which I forwarded to my friends. And some replied with "I wanted to see real men cry."

Having said that, I agree with Larry's post, a 3 years old cannot possibly be emotionally attached to a team like that.

I am very fortunate to have 3 boys (9, 8, and 4), and we are huge sports fans. It is hockey, hockey, hockey here in Toronto, even in the summer. But my youngest, who is 4, doesn't care 1 iota who is going to hoist the cup.

The two oldests play soccer and hockey competitively, and didn't get the concept of rooting teams until they were around 6.

coach said...

As the others have said, very sad story. I can't imagine, at all.

To Larry's point about 3 year-olds not caring that much about something like the Stanley Cup, I agree with that and the developmental reasons why. The thing is though, while we expose our children to a wide-variety of things, when they are at that young age they need their parents to put the things they are exposed to in context. This includes the parent's infusing situations and experiences with their own values. These may be moral values, or in keeping with the theme of this blog, something less heavy, like favorite sports teams.

To answer your question, I would say that yes, children at that age are an expression of their parents. That is not sinister, or wrong, it is just where the child is in their development and in their exposure to the world. They need that type of guidance. As they grow and get older, their mind and the way they think and perceive things changes. They start to question their parents and question who they are and who they want to be. Unfortunately for us, they can also be PITA teenagers then. LOL.

Kids come to that stage at different times though. When the parents become a problem is when they don't recognize that and they try to curb their child's interest in other things. That can be damaging.

If a 3 year old's favorite team is the Ottowa Senators simply because that's his parents favorite team, I don't think that is any less valid than if he choose it himself at 10.