Matthew’s dad had the afternoon off work, so he did some Christmas shopping before heading over to the nursery school to pick up his young son. Excited about his purchases, he showed my mother the sweater he had picked out for Matthew.
“Isn’t it a beautiful blue?” He barely got the words out before he heard them for himself and started to cry. Stood there at the schoolroom door, in front of my mother, he sobbed. “I’m sorry.”
The colour of a small sweater had swept him up into a dream, a world in which his son could still see, would still grow, and know everything his father had dreamt for him from the start.
But Matthew had contracted measles, on the eve of his vaccination appointment, and the virus took his sight, gifted him with severe epilepsy, and broke his father’s heart.
Vaccinating isn’t always straightforward. My eldest daughter had an allergy to egg, which is not in the vaccine, but is in contact with it. She was vaccinated in the hospital, under observation, just in case. I can imagine a circumstance in which the risk would have been too high. But I also remembered Matthew.
Thirty- some years later, I always remember Matthew.
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A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing, by Rosalind C Hughes, is available from Upper Room Books.https://bookstore.upperroom.org/Products/1921/a-family-like-mine.aspx