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Everyone is all abuzz about the swine flu. The media has grabbed it and for whatever reason, it has exploded into a media craze. We should all be concerned and exercise proper precautions in our dealings in public places, however glazed over is the tragedy that lives amid the hype. Splashed all over the news this morning is the fact that a 23 month old Texas boy died from it. He has become a statistic – an important one according to health standards since all the other reported and confirmed cases in this country have been deemed “mild” and most not requiring hospitalization. He will be known as the “first death” when referred to by health officials. His name will likely not be released because it is not necessary – he is but a statistic to the media, albeit an important one. What is truly sad is the tragedy that has befallen a family. A family that I do not know, a family that is grieving for the loss of a child – by far one of the worst things that I can imagine. Statistics while important impersonalize people – this was a living, breathing human being that is gone forever. To his family, and his parents, he will not be infamous because he was the first swine flu death in the United States. To them, he will be grieved for the loss of the sweet child that will never grow to adulthood, will never enjoy playing with friends, birthday parties, soccer games or T-ball. The child that will never see a first date, a first love, a prom – that will never have the opportunity to father his own children. To his parents, he will be missed because he was taken away from them so suddenly, so senselessly, so tragically. My heart goes out to the family who has to deal with this very real and very painful loss for the rest of their lives, long after the swine flu has come and has gone. This family will have to deal with this loss forever, long after the media takes no further interest – to me, while I don’t know them and will most likely never know them – my deepest condolences of the death of your baby. My heart breaks for your loss.