Monday, November 23, 2015

Seven Years


In this picture, Daniel was eight.  He passed four and a half years later/

 This week, on the day after Thanksgiving it will be seven years. Seven years since the day in which Daniel  happily entered the bathroom to get ready to go Christmas shopping, and collapsed.  Immediate intervention with CPR and epinephrine made no difference and despite his good color,  he was in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead here in our house on the farm later that morning.

     "Move on" some of our acquaintances say.  The reality is that no one who has lost a child  "gets over it".  It is not that we ruminate upon it.   It is that it is a life defining moment.  My life was sharply divided as if by machete into "With Daniel on Earth" compartments, and "After Daniel's departure from Earth"., when he died.  The world is forever changed.  I don't want to forget Daniel. I am going to mention him in conversation. This week I was recalling that he learned to read so quickly that I don't think I ever taught him.  I think being an infant and toddler while we were homeschooling his siblings and using the computer simply moved his reading and vocabulary along quickly.   I am aware that parents who have not lost a child are instantly uncomfortable when I mention my son who just happens to have passed.

       In all honesty, if I can mention him and do so with a smile following our family's loss, who are you to convey discomfort ?  You never knew him, never loved him, and don't really care.  If you don't like my mentioning Daniel, it's your problem,  not mine.

      This said, if you are the parent of a child who has passed and you are moving headlong into the holiday season, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  No, it will never be easy, but you will reach a plateau of "better" where you recall the joyous moments of your life together unimpeded by the moments which took your child from you. Some day, the loss will not obscure the joy you had by having that wonderful soul come to Earth as your child. Here's wishing that this day comes soon for you. Someday, you will be thankful rather than wholly sorrowful. I promise you this.

       Wishing all readers and their families and lovely Thanksgiving Holiday.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Sudden Loss of Luke Schlemm


                 Daniel died suddenly in the Fall, and this week, there have been a couple of sudden deaths in boys. I wonder if the viruses which activate in the Fall, play a part in the loss of more children and teens from sudden arrhythmic death syndromes ?  I wonder if anyone has even considered studying it. Sometimes I wonder if anyone but Corinne Ruiz and I even care.

                           Yesterday, 17 year old Luke Schlemm was playing football in Sharon Springs, Arkansas. He had just finished scoring the extra point after a touchtown, when he collapsed.  An attempted stabilization was made at a local hospital and then Luke was taken to Swedish Medical Center in Englewood.   Luke was determined to be brain dead and life support was removed on Wednesday.

                           Certainly, a full autopsy will be needed to determine Luke's cause of death.  It will need to be determined as to whether an irregular heart rhythm caused a sudden death and brain damage or whether a tackle injured Luke's brain to the point of not being able to be resuscitated.  However, the circumstances do indeed point to a sudden arrhythmic death.  There are just too many of these.   Daniel parted Earth seven years ago. Have we not made any progress in the detection of kids who could be Sudden Arrhythmic Death prone.

                            Our family sends condolences to the parents, family, friends and teammates of Luke Schlemm.

 More info:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Loss of La'Darious Wylie

La'Darious Wylie, a brave man.

   Too many times we read of siblings and families who have no particular loyalty to one another.   I wanted to share a sad but inspiring occurrence I heard about today.

                  La'Darious Wylie was an eleven year old boy who lived in Chester, South Carolina.  On October 27,  he and his sister were walking to school when they were the victims of a hit and run driver. At the last moment, La'Darious was able to push his younger sister Sha'Vonta out of the way.   La'Darious died at the hospital of his injuries the following day.

                   If you would like to donate anything at all toward his burial fund, there is a link below on Go Fund Me.   The locality plans to rename the park he played in daily after him.

Some Things Never Change: The Loss of Wyatt Barber

This is the boy who passed suddenly on Monday night. His name, which is Wyatt Barber was not in initial news reports.

    At the end of this month, it will have been seven years since the day in which Daniel simply slipped from his flesh suit and died.  A lot of changes have come to the Earth since that time, many of them not good.  However, one thing has not changed.  All over the world, there are children and teens, like Daniel, who are believed to be healthy and who collapse into cardiac arrest.  Many of them appear well. They don't complain, and like Daniel, they had clean general physicals not long before their cardiac arrest event.  Many of these, even when they receive immediate CPR, as Daniel did, do not survive the initial event.   The reasons for this are multi-causal. Some on autopsy, have clear cardiac enlargement or anomalies which contribute to a cardiac arrest.  Others , like Daniel, had no structural abnormalities, but have a presumed electrical abnormality which leaves them vulnerable to a fatal cardiac arrest. These children do not have signs of coronary artery disease, which kills so many older Americans and people around the world. This is not a myocardial infarction or heart attack.  Although these sudden cardiac death disorders run in families, many of the families of children who die from a sudden arrhythmic death have no knowledge of anyone else in their family having died in such a manner.  An AED will help some of these kids, but only if used within a couple of minutes of the initial collapse.

                Monday evening,in Pomeroy, Ohio,  a nine year old boy named Wyatt Barber, collapsed after football practice. This was a "walk through practice" and although he was excited about it, no real game or stressful exercise had taken place.  Just like Daniel, he collapsed face forward.  Despite CPR and quick transport, the boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital emergency room.

                 My condolences go to his family and his friends. The path of a sudden and unexpected death of a child is a path I wish no one ever had to travel.

              Why does this keep happening ?  How many children will we continue to lose until we have improved screening for sudden arrhythmic death issues for children and teens ?

UPDATE:    Unlike Daniel, the results of Wyatt's autopsy were clear.  Wyatt had an undiagnosed  abnormal left main coronary artery.  A final autopsy report will not be available for weeks.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Wyatt's Family for burial expenses.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Passing of Sweet Jared

           Daniel was fortunate enough to have many beloved pets here on the farm during his lifetime.  Jared was one of his favorites. Yesterday morning, an extremely elderly Jared passed.  I imagine that Daniel is once again walking his Siberian Husky friend, and introducing him once again, to the other animals who are now with Daniel, most of whom Jared should remember.

        The link below tells of Jared's sixteen plus year odyssey as a dog with us.


Friday, September 4, 2015

No Shortage of Sorrow on Earth

This is the photo which has been noticed by so many.

         There is no shortage of sorrow on this Earth.  This week, a picture of a small boy who appears asleep on a beach in Turkey tells a much more sorrowful story.   Following his kidnapping, Abdullah Kurdi decided to get his wife and his two small sons Aylan 3, and Galip 4, out of Syria.  He had tried to apply for refugee status for the family, to Canada where his sister,  lived in Vancouver and was willing to sponsor the family.  Apparently, the Canadians say the forms were not correctly filled out and so the family was not seriously considered.  In their desperation, Abdullah took the family on a boat to Turkey.  Heavy winds overturned the boat and twelve refugees died.   Abdullah's wife Rehen, Galip 4, and Aylan, 3 all drowned in the twenty minutes in which Abdullah struggled in the water to save them.

              Aylan's body was deposited on the shore in Turkey looking like a child peacefully sleeping on his tummy. He was picked up by a Turkish policeman where his picture was taken  Worldwide the pictures of Aylan have spurred sorrow and outrage. 

Aylan and Galip in happier times. They were precious boys indeed.

               Today,  Rehen, Galip and and Aylan have been buried in Syria.   Abdullah as the only survivor of his family wants nothing more than to sit at their graves, read from the Koran, until a now welcome death comes to him too.   

                Please pray for this man.  I can remember well the days which followed the death of my own young son, and wanting to simply evaporate is a common yearning.   Please pray that he is supported in this terrible time. He has elected to stay in Syria where the family has now been buried.

                There are no easy answers with regard to the floods of refugees coming from the Middle East and from Africa.   Many countries can't feed and educate the people they have, and they cannot take more of them.  Then again, I so wish Abdullah's family had found his way to his sister's home in Canada or to somewhere else without war.  Please pray for all the little children tonight making a journey with parents and grandparents.  May God find them a place on Earth without war and without hunger.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

For Those Who Grieve: The Memories Will Once Again Return


Eventually, the seamless concrete wall gives way to rocks, and a path to the sea which will allow you to go anywhere within your memories.

         The sudden death of a family member is a terrible shock.  The loss of a child is always a life changing devastating experience.  This Autumn, it will have been seven years since the day when Daniel had to depart his body, and leave us, presumably we are told, due to a sudden heart rhythm disturbance (an electrical disruption) in an otherwise "structurally and microscopically perfect heart. ", at least according to autopsy.  The immediate time after was profoundly bewildering, perplexing and very strange.  One thing I remember best is that in those first weeks, the grief which came down like a long and tall seamless concrete wall prevented me from accessing some of the happiest memories I had with Daniel. All I knew in those early days was that my young son who was so bright and had so much promise ahead of him was gone, and no one could tell us exactly why.  In the short term,  I survived by doing several things. First, I focused on my remaining children and my husband and their immediate needs in relation to the loss of Daniel.  I also functioned by staying as busy as was humanly possible. Continuing to be busy allowed me to process a little of the grief at a time, and this was workable at least for me.   I also spent a lot of time giving the best care to Daniel's animals, something I knew would be important to him.   In those early weeks, I did not have conscious recollection of his last Christmas with us, his last birthday, or many other events. There was such a raw injury in my soul that I could not access large parts of my life with Daniel in it.  I suppose, my own mind limited my recollections so that I would not have full access to the full scope and breadth of the loss, until more time had passed.

               If you are reading this, then you likely know something about loss and grief. You may well be experiencing some of the temporary blocking of happy memories of which I have spoken. I wanted to let you know that as time passes, those happy memories, often in detail, come back one by one. This is an important post because part of the condition of being human is that all of us ultimately lose a loved one. It's simply part of the journey here on Earth.    Some losses of people are dramatic and traumatic, but all losses of those we love are losses and we carry them until we too leave this place.   In time,of course, as you remember sunny days driving over the mountains with the one you love and have lost, there will be tears shed, but there will be a recollection of how much that person means to you. In time, the memories return to you, and so does some of the joy    I think it has taken every bit of those seven years for me to have a somewhat unencumbered access to the great many memories I shared with Daniel. I remember his wry sense of humor. I remember his words on why we have to do good things while we are here on Earth.  I remember his telling me how short the trip will be, and I thought he meant that it just goes quickly. There was so much wisdom and so much humor in Daniel.

Eventually, there will be peace.

            If you are grieving the loss of someone dear, please know that in time, more and more of those golden memories will be available to you. Eventually, the seamless concrete wall will give way to a path you will choose to periodically walk when seeking to recall those positive times.   Eventually, the horrible memories of loss stand more quietly, and rather than examining hundreds or thousands of things you or your child will never do together, you are given clear access to the things you did do, and some of them were worth our journey here, and even worth the pain of our eventual loss here.    Those good memories will eventually come flooding back on sunny days, days when the rain leaves the outdoors smelling like the ocean, and while making foods that you will recall were favorites of your loved one.  There will again be moments of joy before we ultimately see them again. I promise you...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Tragic Sudden Death in Virginia: Leah Goff


Leah Goff,  age 13,  from Facebook

           When I started this blog I had no idea that I would ultimately be profiling so many young people who died from more or less, the same set of causations which took Daniel.  What was felt to be rare, most certainly is not.   This week, A Floyd County, Virginia , 13 year old Leah Goff collapsed at basketball practice, and like Daniel, could not be revived.   Leah died in Roanoke, Virginia doing what she loved to do, which was playing sports.  No autopsy information is available but the scenario is highly suggestive of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, like so many others not only in Virginia, but throughout the United States, and throughout the world as well.
             "Leah Bug" as her loving family called her, was an avid sportswoman who loved basketball and other sports and who had recently discovered track.
                    I am sure that Daniel and many others will be there to support Leah as she enters the Kingdom of Heaven.  My hope is that Leah's sisters, parents,  family, and friends  finds all the comfort and support they can.  Funeral arrangements are said to be complete.  May they all feel God's loving hands during this very difficult time.

Funeral information

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Sudden Passing of Maurice Bey


Maurice Bey    (Photo by: Kaleb Lamb, Maurice's coach)

           On Tuesday, fifteen year old Maurice Bey was playing basketball in a New Kent County, Virginia basketball court with his friends.   Maurice is said to have had a passion for the game and was quite gifted at it.   He collapsed while sitting on a bench, fell forward, and went into a cardiac arrest.  His friends began CPR and  and 911 was called    For a short time, his friends did get a pulse back.  Maurice was pronounced dead later at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. His final cardiac arrest is said to have taken place shortly after he entered VCU Medical Center.    Maurice is a very well liked young man who will be remembered for his smile.  His team played and won a game last evening in his honor.
              Of course, no one can speak with complete authority as to what happened until the autopsy is complete, but of course, the sudden passing of Maurice has all the earmarks of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.

                This coming November it will be seven years since our own Daniel collapsed. went into a cardiac arrest, and despite immediate CPR, died at twelve and a half.  At the time, we were told that a sudden arrhythmic death is "a one in a million shot".   This seems not to be true.  Each year, we meet more and more families who have most a child, a husband, a wife or someone else to a sudden heart rhythm disturbance. Most often, the afflicted are people who are not known to have any prior medical issues.

                 Tonight, my prayers are with the family of Maurice Bey and his friends.  May God hold you tightly in this difficult time. May your faith be strong as you come to accept that Maurice is safely at home with God.  I am so sorry for your loss.

UPDATE:   July 20, 2015

 A candlelight vigil will be held for Maurice on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, from 6-8pm in Quinton Park, according to the New Kent Charles City Chronicle.
People are being encouraged to bring white helium balloons to be released following the vigil. 

An additional memorial will be held on Saturday, July 25th at New Kent High School.

 They also add that a Go Fund Me account has been created by family and friends in order to help cover the funeral expenses.    You can go to the site at:

There has been no mention of an autopsy or of autopsy results in any public or social media forums.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Somber Fourth

This photo is courtesy of the San Diego Foodbank

Dear Daniel,

           I remember so well how you loved the Fourth of July, our country's Independence Day.   I think one of the benefits to homeschooling is that you understood the proud history of our nation and many of the good things about it.  I think it made Independence Day more special for you, in a way in which many Americans have forgotten.

           Most of the time I still don't understand why you were called home. Sometimes though, I look at the financial situation of the US and of the world, and I breathe a tiny breath of relief that no one hears, that you will never know some of the things which have become commonplace in our nation.  You will not know a sudden job loss from a company for which you were totally loyal.  You will not know sending out a thousand resumes, without a single response.  You will not know the loss of what you might think, at the time, is your great love.  You will not know a broken engagement.  You will not know a serious car crash. You will not know a betrayal from a friend.   I could go on.   Perhaps God knew that you were pretty well cooked to perfection here on Earth and ready for the rewards of Heaven. Of course, we still miss you terribly.


          Independence Day this year will be even more quiet and somber than the year after your passing.  Taxes have increased and salaries have not, and there is less disposable income for things like fire works and barbecues.  Many of the animals you knew and loved are quite elderly, and the fireworks display we used to do would probably frighten them.  This year, we are fortunate enough to have had enough rain that they would not have been a fire hazard, as this was a concern the last year that you were here for Independence Day.     If you were here I have no doubt you would be explaining to everyone in an articulate manner than any number of executive orders and supreme court decisions were unconstitutional.  Part of me is relieved not to have you see some of the travesties which are occurring, but I am sure that you know.

            Still, please know that we do our best.  I miss you and my dad more than you know., and I know that everyone else does here also.   I appreciate the visits in dream, even though they are just flashes.  Thank you for the encouragement for your sister. We will continue to move forward and continuing to be the people you knew while you were here.  I love you both deeper than Earth's oceans and wider than its seas.