Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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She's Blue

She's Blue

I was woken by a noise so foreign I cowered under my sheets. But curiosity got the better of me.

It was still dark outside. I had no concept of this time of day. I would sleep at 9pm, wake up at 7am, have breakfast and be off to school. As far as I knew, nothing happened during those hours I slept. But that night was different. I could hear screaming coming from upstairs, then the words I would never forget.

“She’s blue”

I snuggled under the sheets petrified, waiting for the door to open, at the same time willing those noises to go away. Nobody came.

After a while I heard sirens. Sirens meant police cars right?

I heard people scrambling downstairs, some conversation, some crying, then the front door closing and the sound of sirens disappearing into the night.

The silence eased me back to sleep.

So this was what a dream was …

Morning arrived and the first thing I saw upon opening my eyes was the face of the nice Japanese lady from Shizuoka who had come to London to take care of me. She helped me change into my uniform and we went downstairs where breakfast was waiting. She’d learned to make toast soldiers and soft boiled eggs, just as I liked them. Lunchbox readily packed into my school bag, I got in the car for the short ride to school. I remembered the dream but convinced myself that all was fine. Everything seemed fine. Just another school day.

That was some forty years ago. I only remember glimpses of life back then. But that night I remember with such clarity. I remember my mother and father coming back the following day. That’s when they told me.

“That is the first time I cried in years” my father said.

“This is the first time I believe in God” my mother said.

The funeral happened on the weekend. I stayed home.

To this day I have not told a single soul of that night. As far as anyone knew, I slept like a schoolboy through to morning. But that memory I tucked away at the back of a drawer.

I never really knew Natasha, my little sister. She was a tiny little baby. Once in a while I’d do a short mental calculation of how old Natasha would be right now, how she would look, whether we’d be close. Perhaps she’d have grown up in theatre and ended up playing Eponine in Les Misérables on the West End.

I like to think we’d be the best of friends.

This article was inspired by Drowning in the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ by Irene Hackett. Thank you for unlocking the drawer.

I am adding a link to a wonderful article by Donna-Luisa Eversley The Beach and The Lighthouse. Natasha, I hope you can see your name written in the sand on a beach on an island half way across the planet. Donna-Luisa, I am so touched by this act, I am lost for words. Thanks beBee for introducing me to truly great friends. 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, more commonly known as cot death, is a diagnosis given after autopsy when cause of death is still unclear. According to Lancet, SIDS resulted in 15,000 deaths globally in 2013. It can happen at anytime during the first year of a child’s life, but is most common between 1 month and 4 months of age. There is a lot of advice given on how to reduce the risk of cot deaths. From what I have read, having babies sleep on their backs can reduce the risk somewhat, but I would also suggest a healthy dose of common sense. Do not clutter the mattress with soft furry toys or blankets, have a relatively firm mattress, and fresh and flowing air. According the American Academy of Pediatrics, the use of pacifiers may also reduce the risk of SIDS.

(Title picture of Eva Noblezada, currently playing Eponine in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London)

Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.

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Ken Boddie

5 years ago #34

I'll watch anything with Robin Williams in it. Even a red nose. 😂

Dean Owen

5 years ago #33

Thanks Ken-san. It doesn't look like it was, but time to dust off the DVD and watch it again (one of my favourite movies)

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #32

Not sure of the origins of Red Nise Day, Dean-San, but you can find more info at

Dean Owen

5 years ago #31

Is that a Patch Adams inspired event? Marked in my calendar for next year. Will find a red nose and add a selfie to this post on June 24th. I loved your little poem (for once!) :) Thanks Ken-san

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #30

that's​ a great idea Dean Owen

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #29

Friday 24 June is Red Nose Day here in Oz, Dean-San. Many buy red clown noses and some stick large ones on their cars. All proceeds go to SIDS. Grief never leaves us, She answers not our why's, She hugs us like a shadow, And refuses our goodbyes. She's there lest we forget, When our loved ones slip away, That their spirit lives in what we do, And everything we say. I'm sure your little sister would be proud of her big brother, Dean-San.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #28

Making me blush! Thank you for stopping by and for your beautiful comment. My heart is indeed lighter and my day brighter!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #27

Grief is weird isn't it. I never really grieved. It was only after decades and finally writing this that I actually felt deep emotions of grief. It was easy to lock away in the back drawer, but just wonderful to dust off this memory and share.... Thanks so much Sarah Elkins

Dean Owen

5 years ago #26

It is easy to miss articles these days with a faster feed and more and more bees. We should perhaps encourage people to subscribe to their favourite writers and check their emailed newsletters.

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

5 years ago #25

Dean Owen Thank you for introducing Natasha to us. She's a beautiful angel in heaven right now but she has been reborn in our hearts as a new memory , new person , we are going to remember her as you have given life to her time here , through this brave act of sharing her story with us . I'm sure and wish that your heart is light now. Peace to Natasha who must have been a very beautiful lady right now judging by your looks ( Winks ).

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #24

Grief is such a strange thing, isn't it, Dean Owen? What a vivid and heartbreaking memory from your childhood. And yet... I would guess just a little bit of a relief to share it, own it, and appreciate it for its intensity of feeling. Without that, what do we have?

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #23

I'm sorry I missed your reply Dean Owen and I just wrote on Donna's buzz I needed to read this because I seem to be missing your stories. wow, I think I'm missing my mind somewhere lol. This was a good yet, sad read again. They do say to lay babies on their backs now, no blankets, no toys and yes open air. I remember fearing SIDS when my babies were little. We swaddled them and laid them on their sides back then.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #22

Thanks Donna-Luisa Eversley. Right now I feel like writing her name in the sand at your beach.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #21

Thanks @Lisa Gallagher. I don't know if you saw Pascal's story, similar, but the circumstance of discovery are like something out of a novel -

Dean Owen

5 years ago #20

Thanks Lisa Gallagher. I don't know if you saw Pascal's story, similar, but the circumstance of discovery are like something out of a novel. -

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #19

So very sad that you lost your sister when she was an infant Dean Owen. I cant imagine how tough that was for your parents! I can imagine you do still think of her and will always have unanswered questions. SIDS is scary, I know my daughter worries about it with the new baby. They follow all the guidelines but I think that fear is there for most parents. Thanks for sharing something so personal

Dean Owen

5 years ago #18

Thanks Phil. I was wondering if it the same in every country. I know in Japan there is always a huge debate amongst mothers on whether to have a baby sleep on it's back or front. It is a particular anxious period. Much appreciate your kind words.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #17

From what you say, and from what I know of you, she must be quite a character! Send her the note!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #16

Dean Owen, I cannot even begin to imagine your anguish. As parents, my wife and I were absolutely crazed about SIDS and keeping everything out of our daughters' crib (except the dog, who faithfully watched over each of them in turn, and would scold us if we didn't respond quickly enough to their crying). We allowed only a bottom sheet and no blanket. And when they were very young, we had a set of soft foam wedges to keep them sleeping on their sides. But truth be told, we have a close and dear friend who did all of that and more, yet lost a baby to SIDS anyway. It may be the universe's way of reminding us that we are not in control, or it may be just random misfortune. I am sorry for your loss, and for the hole in your heart that I am sure will always be there.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #15

You and your sister must have had some pretty explosive conversations! Does she read your blogs?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #14

Thanks Don Kerr, our timing is such that you have once again become the last thing I read before calling it a night. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have locked away!

don kerr

5 years ago #13

Damn Dean Owen you are opening up a lot of closed rooms and allowing us in. Thank you for this and for inspiring many of us to do the same. It's a good way to turn toward those memories that we have for too long kept locked up - not sleeping but just tucked away. Your sister would be proud of her big brother I am sure.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #12

Thanks Gert Scholtz. I think beBee is slowing unlocking all our stories. Pretty amazing. As you know I only started getting active on social media late last year. I just crossed 1500 connections on LinkedIn, but realized today that I don't "know" any of them and they don't "know" me! But look what is happening here! Friendships being made, business relationships.... (Oh, and thanks for sending me that VC contact in Singapore, will reply to your email tomorrow)

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #11

Brian McKenzie son who is 11 has been told about my story by my wife since then he seems to have understood how lucky he is to have a sister they still kiill each other :-)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #10

Oh I do hope so Pascal Derrien, and maybe we can all four of us meet together one day...

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #9

Dean Owen My friend - this post took courage. I do hope that the unburdening leaves you lighter and able to remember the joy Natasha brought to your parents and to you while she was there. Even my best effort in saying these words seem harsh and inadequate against what you went through. Be well Dean-san.

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #8

maybe she has meet Sylvie who knows :-)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #7

You are so right Irene Hackett. Like Pascal, this was a taboo subject for most of our lives. It's time to celebrate the lives of ones we've lost. You have once again prompted me. I am thinking now to give little Natasha a life. A story. Thank you! :)

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #6

If we weren't separated by so much distance, I'd come over and give you a guy side-hug and pat on the back.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #5

And your comment just leaves me speechless Kevin-san. This story took me 40 years to tell. I didn't think I'd be emotional, but now that it is out, I'm a right mess! :)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #4

Of all the wonderful comments I've been honoured to have received, your "To all sisters" Pascal really touched me...

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #3

I love your story telling Dean-san. In this case, it wasn't a story, but a revelation of an intimate memory. You've given permission to remember those we lost, even if the circumstances cause much grief at the time, or in your case, were too much for a young child to process. I do trust that your sharing will unlock some moments in other people, and they can be part of growing stronger on this journey of life.

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #2

To all sisters Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #1

Irene Hackett - Thank you.

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