Thursday, December 24, 2015

Voices Below the Wind at Christmas








  Dearest Daniel and Dad,

                     It's hard for me to believe that it's been seven years since each of you departed Earth.     So many things have happened, in the world, in the US and on the farm since that time.  Part of me believes that you know of these things, and then sometimes I am not so sure.  Part of me hopes sometimes that Heaven is so much better than Earth that you are not even concerned with some of the minutia that concerns me. Not a day passes when I don't think of each of you.    Sometimes I work in the barn with the horses or the other animals and I imagine that you both watch me with at least some level of amusement.  Daniel, I know you would love the horses and that you would marvel at how long the alpacas you knew when you were here, have lived, and how well they are doing.  Dad, I think you would be amused that the little girl who fought every one of your attempts at teaching me proper gun handling and to shoot,  grew up to be licensed to carry a firearm everywhere. I think you would be proud that I taught the same to everyone here and that I am a pro firearms and safe handling guru of sorts.

                     This week there was a woman on television named Laura Lynne Jackson who was passing messages from those who have departed from Earth to loved ones here.   It made me sad that so many others don't realize that if we stay still and listen that you do find ways to tell me things that are important. I understand those who seek psychics, although I believe that God gave most of us the ability to listen quietly to the voices below the wind.

                      Merry Christmas to you both.  Please know I love you both very much and that I try hard to do things that I believe would please you both.  Sometimes I feel you both beside me, and I am grateful for your efforts to guide me.  God bless you both.......and thank Him for me, for allowing me to know you both on this all too short trip to the cold Earth.


                         
(Picture: www.davesgarden.com  )






Saturday, December 12, 2015

Another One Has Departed Too Soon

This is Michael Namey, being remembered at his college.  His intelligent gaze even reminds me of Daniel's.


                   Michael Namey was an 18 year old Florida college student studying software engineering at the University of Central Florida.  Michael collapsed in a classroom at his college in September.   He did receive competent emergency care from a trained individual who said that there was no response.  This first responder has also penned a letter requesting more AEDs at the school. Michael was transported and then transferred to another hospital.  Following some time in ICU, he passed.   Michael was not known to have had any medical pre-existing conditions.  His girlfriend did say that he felt as if he was coming down with a cold the night before.   As is often the case with sudden arrhythmic deaths, it has taken some time for all of the autopsy data to be in.   Medical examiners believe that Michael died from a sudden arrhythmia which likely occurred in his case because his heart was silently enlarged. The normal range for someone his size/weight would have been 450 gms in the upper range of normal, and his was indeed 450 gms.   Sometimes relative cardiac enlargement is due to a virus or  there may be other reasons.   Additionally, he experienced a low blood potassium which is also associated with arrhythmias.

                I cannot help but think of our Daniel.  Daniel would be 19 now.  Michael Namey was said to have been very intelligent and a leader.  He and Daniel may have been friends had they known each other.

               We must improve our ways of detecting those at risk for sudden arrhythmic death . Such deaths are far more common than is realized.

               We send our condolences to Michael's brother Joseph and to the rest of his family.

I also send thanks to Corinne Ruiz who never misses noticing each and every sudden arrhythmic death, particularly those in children and teens.   Corinne lost her lovely daughter Olivia to a sudden arrhythmia.
 Without Corinne's continued work on improving awareness of sudden death issues, I would not know of as many as I do.


Michael Alexander Namey






Additional info on Michael Namey's passing:

 http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/story/news/2015/09/23/ucf-student-who-collapsed-hpa1-classroom-dies/72663216/


Read more about Corinne Ruiz, her daughter Olivia, and Olivia's Heart Project at:

  http://www.oliviasheartproject.org        





Friday, December 11, 2015

A Different Kind of Christmas

                 
For many, Christmas is not the season it once was.   (Rendering: www.eventbrite.com.au )


 

            Daniel departed like smoke the day after Thanksgiving at the beginning of the Christmas season, now seven years ago.   To anyone who has experienced particularly the sudden loss of a child of someone close, then you know.  We never simply "get over" life's cruelest losses.  We simply find a way to coexist and continue trudging along.

                     Particularly during the holiday season when the holiday music plays that I heard those seven years ago, I recall those first days and weeks without him.    There was no surprise greater than the sudden death of a child who was felt to be well and who had just had a clean physical.    But there were many other surprises afterward.  The first one is that a child who has died can have a perfectly normal autopsy at one of the county's best university medical centers.  Who knew that there are functional issues, particularly with the conduction system of the heart which don't necessarily show up on autopsy.  When such things happen, the detail of the passing, the position of the person, and details about the passing become important in the pathologist's best guess as to what happened.  Sometimes, learning all the things which didn't or couldn't have happened, is no help.  We wish to know what did.

                        Other surprises included the reactions of people we knew and our friends.   Our pediatrician, our allergist, and the cardiologist one of our other family members had were truly wonderful. The helicopter team from the University of Virginia who attended Daniel's code were highly professional and very kind. The sheriff's office was compassionate and professional. Their investigation was as respectful as was possible given the circumstances.   Surprises included the funeral home which handed me the bill for the funeral, two days after my child's death, just before the service. (What was wrong with afterward, or popping the bill in the mail ?)   Other surprises included some of the bizarre if not cruel things ministers of different faiths said in the intervening weeks.  Yes, it's true that a few of them were supportive.  However, am I asking too much for all of them to have some skill or training in bereavement ? After all, everyone dies, and all of us will experience the loss of someone we love in our lifetimes. Why is comforting someone in bereavement so difficult for ministers ?  Nurses navigate this, sometimes with more skill.     Most surprising were the responses of our friends and acquaintances.  Some people with whom we were acquainted, and in some cases that I did not necessary like much, were absolutely wonderful to us.  Anyone who knew the loss of a child or of a sibling went out of their way to send a kind word or to be available to us in some way in those first weeks.  Conversely, some of our closest friends at that time simply couldn't cope with the death of a child they knew, and we lost them forever.

                         We have an entirely new constellation of friends seven years later.  We do have friends we have known for thirty years who weathered Daniel's loss with us.  We also have friends we have acquired from that time or afterward. We also have a surprising number of friends who have lost children.

                          Remember as you navigate this holiday season that over time, most of us experience either an expected or a surprise passing during the Thanksgiving or Christmas season.  As you experience the joy of the season, please remember those families for whom the season is a bit harder.  For some of us, snow is seen as frozen tears, and cold days remind us of days huddled around the kitchen table eating casserole brought by a friend which tastes like our own tears, traced back to a day of loss.   Don't be afraid to include those who have endured a loss.  You can't fix it for them, but just the attempt to include them will help.

              Merry Christmas, my friends.
                        

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Loss of Too Many Young Children, and What We Might Do in Prevention

This post was originally posted this week on my other blog Rational Preparedness

           




            This month in the United States, there has been no shortage of egregiously bad news.   In Chicago, a young Muslim woman from Chicago who thought her parents might kill her over having a child out of wedlock, threw the newly born infant out of her eighth floor bedroom window. The infant girl died at a hospital later with a listing of injuries that would make ISIS cringe.   Another baby was found recently in the Los Angeles area, abandoned with umbilical cord attached and buried with construction debris.  Joggers luckily heard muffled cries.  This baby will survive.    I just read an article concerning an African American bail bondsman who is alleged to have beaten his seven year old son to death and then fed his remains to the pigs. Neighbors seemed to be well aware of a number of instances of severe abuse of children who were residing in the man's home.

                   There has always been wickedness upon the Earth, often bordering the homes of those who do very great good. There have been occasional babies born in toilets since there were toilets.  However, even if we adjust for the ability of the internet to bring all the egregious news of wickedness to us, there is still great evil perpetrated against babies and children, and this appears to be increasing.

                  We cannot always know of the suffering of babies and small children which occurs in our world. Sometimes, such things do occur in relative isolation. Sometimes, other individuals are complicit in such acts and cover for someone who is profoundly ill, or perhaps simply profoundly evil.  However, we must try as a culture, and as a world to do better.  When you are out and around, work on your situational awareness. Don't simply be aware of the man who is watching your purse.  Notice more than that.  Notice the sick infant in a carseat locked in the Altima in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Maybe the misguided mother will be back in three minutes with tylenol, but maybe she won't.  Maybe that child's only chance at survival is your sitting in your car, noting the time, and calling police when no one returns.   I am a big believer in parent's rights, but there are a number of people who are pervasively neglectful and abusive to small children.  If decent people don't notice things and bring them to the attention of social services and police, then a percentage of these children will in effect, be tortured, and will die.

                 Some years ago, a woman who'd had recent surgery died in a neighborhood I lived in, and her newborn died in the crib in the same room, the result of no one knowing the child was there without being attended to, post the mom's sudden death. No one noticed they hadn't seen them !   I didn't know this woman, but I have felt badly about this ever since.    It may not be wise to intrude in the business of others, but we need to keep an eye on those with young children. Sudden deaths occur, even in young people, and a baby alone may not live more than a couple of days without care. We also know that even young children can carry the scars of a couple of days of neglect which most of us believe they would not remember.

                A child is always a blessing...............not an obligation, a millstone, a killjoy, an expense or an albatross.  Each child is blameless as he or she enters the world, and knows nothing of the circumstances which brought them here.   Each one of them is chock full of human potential and we should all conduct ourselves accordingly.   To those who are bringing a child onto the Earth that they do not wish to raise.....seek an adoption agency immediately.   Hundreds of couples who are carefully vetted would be elated to have the opportunity to love, raise, and educate that child.   Of course, there are less than perfect adoptive parents in the world, but most are incredible parents and will raise incredible children. One of my dear friends was adopted by a wonderful family.

               Especially at this time of year when we throw material goods at one another in Jesus' name, we need to recall that every birth whether legitimate, planned for, wanted, or an infant well, or ill, is proof of the opinion of God that they should overcome incredible odds to join us here on Earth.    When we can, let's start noticing the children at risk, and reporting what you saw to the correct authorities.  Lets save some young lives.





Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015


Remember that whatever the situation, we need to give Thanks.   (Photo bostoneastindia.blogspot.com)





  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this challenging holiday season.

Try to find the happiness, fellowship and joy where you can !




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:

 http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/11/04/kansas-football-players-who-collapsed-on-field/


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.




https://www.gofundme.com/jt7hwr9g



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.

https://www.gofundme.com/c58anjf9
  

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.
 
http://lifeaftertherescues.blogspot.com/2015/09/goodbye-sweet-prince.html


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:

http://www.gofundme.com/zjfcbs


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.



Photo: www.ikocommunitymanagement.com




          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.





        

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Recommend Danish Series "The Legacy"

         

The actors who play the siblings and half siblings from "The Legacy"




    I write a fair bit about bereavement and the many aspects of loss.  I am mindful that the loss of a family member is a permanent one, and is often grieved in many different ways at different times throughout the remainder of our lives.


Key characters of "The Legacy".    I have not cared this much about the characters in a series and where the author/creator of the series takes them since BBC's Monarch of the Glen.




                   Quite accidentally, I stumbled on a television series from Denmark which is captioned in English.  In English, the series is called "The Legacy" although the translation of the name in Danish is actually Arvingerne, "The Inheritors".    The Legacy is a brilliantly written and developed story of the four adult children of a famous Danish artist who lived a rather free life from the sixties on.  Her sudden death leaves her three children reeling.  Before her passing she reveals to her fourth child, who has been adopted and who does not know her, that she is not only her mother, but that she wishes to leave the estate home and acreage she owns to her.   "The Legacy" is a beautifully acted series of this family.  Each of these adult children have damages from their family of origin. Each of them occupied a different place in the family constellation and therefore their damages and inabilities differ.  Each of them in the face of such stress are doing things they should not, and yet each of them are grieving in their own way and trying to get needs met which were apparently long unmet in their families of origin.  They simply don't get that not only was their relationship with their mother a time limited proposition, but their relationship with one another is as well.



Some of the key actors in "The Legacy" during a break.


                      The series is complex, well acted with some acting veterans  familiar even to myself.  The character development is very strong which adds to the realism.  "The Legacy" is a picture of how a family hopes they might not act toward full or half siblings, yet when property which means something to each of them is up for grabs, they find themselves acting in a manner in which most of us would not be proud.  The series has been produced by DR and written by  creator and chief writer Maya Ils√łe, who has said “You don’t know your family until you inherit with them.”  True enough !

                      I highly recommend this series especially to anyone who has ever settled an estate or been excluded from one.  It will leave you both nodding your head and shedding a tear of understanding what it's like to be left after a sudden death, with some key and pivotal questions.

                       Daniel may actually have watched this series had he remained on Earth.  I think his observation may have been that the legacy spoken of, is not,  in fact,  the ten million kroner house that everyone is fighting over in the first half of the first series. The legacy may actually be the damage and the dysfunction taught to them in their childhoods by the actions of their talented, creative, but extremely self centered mother and their fathers.



Update:

    To those of you who wrote me to ask, I am told there are ten episodes in the initial season and seven more episodes coming in the second season.   I am told that an inferior attempt at an American remake is coming to the US soon.  I think I'll skip it and buy this one on DVD.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lonnie Passes






              This week, one of Daniel's favorite alpacas passed.   It is never easy to lose an animal who has been with us for sixteen years, and who was important to Daniel.     I am comforted by the thought that Daniel will be there for him.  The link below tells of the story of the life of Lonnie.


http://lifeaftertherescues.blogspot.com/2015/05/thank-you-lonnie.html






Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sometimes, There is a Sliding Back

          






 Most of the time I move through life fairly well. I enjoy the growth and the achievements of my remaining grown children.  Most days, I remember the cherished memories we have with Daniel, and I don't look too hard or dwell on that last difficult day in which he departed Earth.   Most of the time I can take care of Daniel's few remaining elderly dogs and the descendants of his rooster.  I take very good care of the alpacas we have, all of whom knew him well.  He cared very much about them and would want them to receive excellent care during their own remaining time on Earth..


               However, once in awhile, particularly in Spring, something reminds me of the simple ugly unfairness of it all.  It's Spring !    The trees that wither and appear to die in Winter, most often return.  Daniel, of course, cannot return stating that "a mistake was made".   We can't appeal his passing simply because he was removed from our home after being pronounced dead, by a minivan rather than a hearse, although the thought had occurred to me. The loss of a child is a loss of part of the future for a family, always and forever during our time on Earth.




   This week, one of my kids sent me a video to a song online.  It's a good song, and a good group and I think we will all be hearing more from them.  However, my jaded heart saw something different.  Daniel would be nineteen now.  He would be starting the process at college somewhere learning how he fits into the world.   He would be dating.  He would likely be experiencing the emotions of this song, and somehow through some cosmic unfairness that his mother cannot understand, he is not here on Earth to do it.









Daniel, it's just that the feelings talked about in this song, you will not know while here on Earth. I know that we are to have faith that all that happens here during our time here will be amended or redeemed in the next plane, but it is oh so hard for the people who knew you here and who brought you to Earth to know that you won't continue here. Most days I have that faith, and then sometimes, there is a song like this which reminds me that life goes on for your friends, their families here on Earth and that yours continue elsewhere........for a time away from us.     I will try to do better.    I think of you with love always.




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To Daniel, Who Would be Nineteen, This Week






Daniel,

       I can hardly believe that this would be your nineteenth birthday if you had been able to remain on Earth. You would likely be in college working on, goodness knows what degree by now.  You would have a cluster of friends who no doubt would be important to you, and I would probably see you most often when I drive to your college to have lunch with you periodically, just as I did with your siblings. You would probably be playing the "Magic" strategy card game with your friends, and when you had a chance, you would be working for a local food bank as I know this was important to you when you were younger.  Sometimes, to stay sane, I pretend that you are "in college" in Heaven, and that my Dad and Jesus guide you there. It gives me a temporary framework of normalcy, so that I don't have to tell myself you are simply gone from Earth.

       Here on the farm, all the animals you knew are aging.  One by one, they pass and then I am sure, come to you.  We have several farm animals who are deteriorating in the face of extreme advanced age, and will be coming to you soon. Jared, the Siberian Husky you knew so well, fights hard to remain here as long as possible, but at fifteen and a half, he is failing, a little bit each day.

      I have come to think of myself as the "clean up crew" and support staff to your life here on Earth.  I will continue to care for your animals, and be a loving and supportive parent to your siblings, and to your little nephew who smiles at your picture as if he somehow knows a special secret between the two of you. I will have faith, and I will continue to believe in the loving Father who not only keeps your soul safe now, but who lent your wonderful spirit to me in the shape of a wonderful son, in the first place.

       Happy Birthday, Daniel.   Today, I will bake you a cake, share it with your siblings, care for your animals, take care of your nephew, and your siblings, and I will dust your room and clean a little. You have been gone from Earth for six and a half years, and yet, I love you just as much as I did that day, if not more.



   
Happy Birthday, Daniel

  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's Easter !

        




      Easter Sunday used to be a big holiday here when Daniel still lived in Earth.  It seems, that as each year passes and our other children become older and dwell in adulthood that it becomes less and less a holiday here on the farm.      It's not that I don't appreciate the magic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but rather that we celebrate the miracle of the resurrection each day, and therefore we do not restrict the focus of Christ's birth or his resurrection to one, two or three days a year.  We are mindful of Him every day.

              This year, rather than eating chocolate eggs, my husband and I visited our daughter and helped her with some chores she cannot do at the moment.  Daniel and my Dad would have appreciated that.   We also worked on animal care.  Some of Daniel's animals are exceedingly elderly and need some specialized attention and care, even in lovely weather.

                I hope this day was a calm, comfortable and joyous one for you, as well.





Daniel never heard this music, but I like to think he would have enjoyed the music and the video.   Daniel's response to the video would likely have been, "Look at how important diction really is !"


Friday, March 27, 2015

"I Pomice"





 Daniel,

       When you were a very small boy and you wanted to touch something fragile, you used to ask very nicely, and then you would say, "I won't break it, I pomice".    The first time you said it, I think you were about two, and your brothers and sister laughed, not at you, but with you. They too were enthralled with your use of language and even your missteps with it, which were often simply adorable.  Of course, one correction was about all it took for you to promise in the future, but pomice entered the family lexicon of adorable malapropisms you used at least once.  Somewhere I have a listing of all of them, and when I wrote the book about your life and times, I included a few of them interspersed with various chapters and events.  You brought such joy to all of our lives, and in the remembrance of those times, you still do.

         I have been remembering a lot of the things you said lately.  Thank you for coming to our family.  Thank you for your gentleness and kindness.   Each time you promised not to drop the glass ball, not to crush the tiny kitten or frighten the tiny puppy, you kept your word.

        Now it's my turn to promise you something.  I promise that I will remember your legacy.  I will remember as long as I live on the Earth, and likely beyond, my own days on Earth.  I will also try my best to be there for your siblings whom I know miss you very much.  Some of your dogs and your cat are still alive, and I continue to do my best to keep them healthy and happy, before those you love also move ahead to you. I will do my best to be the person you knew, only better.  I pomice.










Friday, March 20, 2015

The Loss of Sierra Jaid Sims

      
Sierra Jaid Sims





           It never seems to stop.  Yesterday, eighteen year old Sierra Jaid Sims attended her high school and complained of chest pain near the chorus room at her high school.  Sierra was in good shape, and plays three sports, including volleyball.   An ambulance was called as she collapsed upon entering a classroom.  EMS said that she was having some type of distress and that she was able to respond prior to going into a cardiac arrest.   When she arrived at the hospital she experienced a final cardiac arrest where she died yesterday afternoon. Of course, an autopsy will be done in order to get as much information about the cause of death as possible.  My prayers are with her parents, her family, her friends and her classmates today.




         I no longer accept that sudden arrhythmic death syndrome in teens is rare.  I still don't understand why every student who wishes to play sports doesn't receive an EKG.   This would not detect every case of Long QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome or ventricular tachycardia from other arrhythmic syndromes, but it would detect some of them in advance of a cardiac arrest, and it would save some of them.

         I miss Daniel as much today as I did in that first year since his departure from Earth, now six years ago.  Sierra was also the age that Daniel would be now, if he had lived past twelve and a half.
I pray that a day comes in which cardiac arrhythmic death syndrome in youth becomes truly rare, or the predilection is detected through screening after birth as is the case now with cystic fibrosis.

         Please pray for Sierra's family and friends for whom the journey of missing her has just begun.  By all accounts, people knew Sierra to be a lovely outgoing young woman who was well known in school for her role in multiple sports, and also for her playing the lead in the upcoming school play "Alice in Wonderland".




Update:    Just after I wrote the original post above, the medical examiner's office released a cause of death.  The medical examiner believes that Sierra died as a result of a large blood clot in her pulmonary artery.    This was therefore not a sudden arrhythmic death per se, however, it is yet another sudden and unexpected death in an otherwise healthy young person.    It remains sad and devastating to her family, her friends and her community nonetheless.



To assist Sierra's family with funeral expenses, you may click this highlighted link


Thank you.....




        

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Prayers for Mark Hall, His Family and for Casting Crowns


Mark Hall and Family


Living in such a profoundly rural place, Daniel and I spent a fair amount of time in the car while traveling from time to time. We would often listen to the radio. Mark Hall is the lead singer to a Contemporary Christian music group called Casting Crowns. I can remember listening to a lot of their music with Daniel. The group has a varied series of consistently good works.

 This week Mark and his family learned that he has a solid tumor on one of his kidneys which is 90% likely to be cancer. The plan is that Mark will have this kidney removed as soon as possible, and that the pathology examination of the tumor will give doctors the information they need to plot a course through the rest of his treatment.

 Please join our family in prayers for Mark, his family, and the group. May Mark come through the surgery and recovery safely. May his treatment which follows be speedy and effective. May he and the group return to bringing all of us inspiring and heartening music through all the trials of life for which they have been present for us. Amen.


 Please send your own prayers for Mark and his family. Just a few of the songs which have been the backdrop of all our lives include:

 The Voice of Truth
 If We Are the Body
 Who Am I Does Anybody Hear Her?
Thrive
 Lifesong
Praise You In The Storm
 Everyman
Slow Fade
 East to West
 Until the Whole World Hears
 Courageous
 Already There



 Of course, since Daniel was called home to God in 2008, he was not here to tell us what his favorite Casting Crowns songs would have been after 2008, however while he was here, this was his favorite Casting Crowns song.:










Link to more complete listing of Casting Crowns songs




Update:   Mark came through the initial surgery exactly as expected, and is taking time to recover before starting the next phase of treatment.  His wife Melanie has indicated that he and his family are very humbled and grateful for the prayers and the outpouring of concern for him.


 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Dance With Ondansetron (Zofran)

         




        Zofran is the brand name for a drug whose generic name is Ondansetron.  It is a prescription drug often used for severe nausea and vomiting as often seen in viral illnesses of the stomach or "stomach flu". It may also be used in conjunction with cancer chemotherapies which can produce severe nausea and vomiting.
It is occasionally used to treat hyperemesis gravidarum or the severe abnormal exaggerated upper gastrointestinal response to the hormones of pregnancy.  It is not indicated in the treatment of normal nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.  There are some occasional other uses particularly in the field of addiction and withdrawal. The drug is available as an injectable and also in an orally disintegrating tablet.


              In general, this is a good drug. It can help to prevent the admission of a patient to a hospital for overnight intravenous hydration by quelling the cyclic severe nausea and vomiting of certain viral illnesses. It can help to advance the settling of one's stomach sufficient to allow some fluids taken by mouth and this is a largely positive thing. It can help to make chemotherapy more tolerable for a patient who requires it. It can allow the patient to complete a recommended course rather than to electively abbreviate or terminate it.


              However, there are a subgroup of people who need to be particularly careful prior to using this drug. Ondansetron is noted to have the capacity to lengthen the QT portion of an otherwise normal EKG. In a susceptible subgroup of patients, this can lead to arrhythmia and potential for sudden death. Certainly anyone who experiences a rapid heartbeat or any noted change in heartbeat while taking Ondansetron should return to the hospital emergency room.




              As the parent of a child who died of a sudden arrhythmic disorder which had been unknown to his doctors and to us, why would I mention it ?   Daniel did not use Ondansetron prior to his sudden passing.  However, this may be of issue to those of you who have lost a child or family member and who have other children or family members who may have the same proclivity to arrhythmia, which may be as yet undiagnosed.   Two of Daniel's brothers have in fact, used Ondansetron for a day or so following a stomach flu on two separate years.  We did use the drug knowing that arrhythmia was a potential side effect, but the emergency room physicians ordering the drug made the decision that the benefits outweighed the risks at that particular juncturet of the treatment. Both young adults were well enough to be able to discontinue  the drug after the initial 24 hours of use.


               My reason for letting all of you know about Ondansetron is that even among the population of those who have lost a sibling to a sudden arrhythmic disorder that  there can be an appropriate short term use for the drug. You should also know that a sibling of someone who has died of presumed Long QT Syndrome should not receive this drug in the longer term.

  Make sure that any physician ordering drugs for your family or your children know that you have lost a family member to Long QT Syndrome, if in fact, you have.

              As always, just as my thoughts and memories are always with Daniel, my thoughts are also with the other parents and families who suddenly and inexplicably lost a healthy child to a sudden arrhythmic death of which there is most often, no warning.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

While Sweeping and Mopping

          





             Yesterday afternoon I was working with the horses and the alpacas. I was moving alfalfa, sweeping out stalls, rinsing out water buckets as I listened to the radio I tend to keep on in the day for the animals.  Only one station stays on playing calm music and interviews all through the duration of the day.  It's not my favorite station but it goes a long way to keeping animals calm especially when there is bad weather which is amplified by the tin roof.   Yesterday as I swept I listened to the story of a young boy who had a serious cancer at age ten. His mother had moved Heaven and Earth in order to get him into some experimental studies.  From the interview he was a precious boy and for a moment I understood his mother's quest to do almost anything to keep her son alive.  As I listened, swept, mopped and distributed a coat of thin pine shavings to a shiny stall floor, I was hopeful.  Certainly such a promising drug regimen would work on children as well as adults. I expected to hear good news, and so I slowed my work for a moment to listen. I was unprepared for the news that the boy, Joey, had not responded to the drug and had died the day before Thanksgiving.  All at once I recalled that Daniel had departed from us the day after Thanksgiving.   The feeling sat there in my abdomen as if I had been gently kicked by a short horse !    I was especially saddened to hear the interviewer ask the mother if she had regretted continuing treatment when the doctors had given them the option to go home to die and to see his friends.  She had decided to stay the course waiting for her miracle, and this time, it had not paid off.  At first she said she thought she made the right decision, and then even within the same sentence, she changed her mind.  This is a doubt I think she will have all of her life.  Sadly, when we lose a child every choice we ever made will be periodically second guessed.   Why did I not take Daniel to a cardiac electrophysiologist at twelve ?   Because I had no idea he would develop a cardiac electrophysiological issue.  Why did I not let him stay out later a couple of days before his passing ?  It would have been unlikely to have made any difference, and he would have enjoyed it.  Why did I not divert money from other things we did here, and take Daniel to Europe ?    Because, at that particular juncture of his life,  he would rather have stayed here on the farm with his siblings, his animals, and his computer !  Parents who have lost children will always second guess the choices we made with them   I suppose this comes with the territory.  There is something we can do though. When we hear of someone who has lost a child, we can support them in the choices they made.  We only have limited information when we make some of the choices for our children. We don't have a crystal ball. We don't know all that will happen in their future lives or in our own.  We need to work to understand and accept that we made the best choices for our children with all of the information we had at the time. We would have done nothing less for our beloved children.  My prayer yesterday is for Joey's family and particularly his mother.  May she come to know that she did everything she could for him in a difficult situation, and that he knew that.  This is what I wish for all of you who come to Daniel's blog for some crumb of wisdom.


This is a link which would allow you also to listen to the story of Joey Xu





Sunday, February 1, 2015

Please see: Remembering Kenji Goto


           Please see my post for today on one of my other blogs:

 Remembering Kenji Goto


     Daniel would applaud the many efforts of this brave humanitarian during his 47 years on this Earth.








  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Found: A Picture of Daniel in a Blond Wooden Frame

       

Even in grief, the happy memories should never end.




           This week I have spent some time taking care of my new infant grandson while his mother has been working, ensuring excellent insurance coverage for his cystic fibrosis.  A great deal of his care is nursing care, rather than simple infant care.  Much of it is also time consuming.  Toward the end of the week while he was sleeping in the afternoon I had a chance to go through some things I've had in boxes.  It is time to either decide to give some of the more lovely momentoes of our children's babyhood to my daughter, or to donate them. We simply can't keep everything, although believe me, sometimes I have tried !   It's time to free up more storage space, at the very least.


           In one box I found a china half moon lamp which sat in my eldest son's nursery during the first year of his life.  I found some pewter banks shaped like a carousel which were baby gifts for one of our children when they were tiny, although I am unsure who gave it to us, or which baby was the lucky recipient. I found all manner of child safe night lights. At the bottom of the box I also found a perfect framed picture of Daniel which oddly was taken at about the same age my daughter's baby is now.  It was almost as if Daniel was wishing to say, "I remember when we were together and you were taking care of me at his age !" This framed picture sat in Daniel's nursery on the dresser in our home in the suburbs,  until we moved to our first farm, and then, for a time, Daniel shared a bedroom with our other son Matt.  Many of the things in his first room were simply never used again, and then so quickly weren't really age appropriate any longer.


            I thought that perhaps in taking care of my grandson that the moments of caring for Daniel as a baby might blur, and I might forget details of Daniel's babyhood.   Strangely, this has not at all been true.  Just as my other children were, each of them are distinctly different individuals. In fact, caring for my daughter's baby has actually helped me to remember Daniel's babyhood in detail as well as the distinct differences between each of my children in babyhood  just a short time in much more detail.


            I am not yet sure what to do with some of the articles I found in the box, but the blond framed picture of Daniel at four months will have to go in a position of honor where I see it from time to time. Daniel, your beautiful flesh suit may not be on Earth now, but it was, and I plan to remember each of those days as best I can, through the remainder of my own days here on Earth.