Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter, Daniel


I think the chocolate buttons are your favorite.

  When I think of Easter, I think not only of the religious significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I think of you.  I don't think any of my children enjoyed Easter as much as you did.  Each year, the snowy Winter would give way to crocuses sometimes peeking out in the snow, and then to seeing bursts of forsythia.  Then, the rural tradition of ducks, rabbits,  and chicks that would appear in each hardware or feed store.  We had rabbits when you were born and since we always had them, they weren't a driving force for you. Each year you wanted to take some ducks or chicks home.   Thank Heaven one year we brought home ducks, and another year a couple of years later, we brought home chicks.  I am glad you had the joy of these experiences. We still have some of the more long lived creatures that we bought when you were still on Earth, and we certainly still have many of their descendants. Of course, some of them have already joined you at Home.

I love you and my Dad wider than the oceans and deeper than the seas, and I always will.

            I remember our annual family Easter Egg Hunts.  We would have these on the Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday.  I would arm each of you with an Easter basket, and hide plastic Easter eggs, filled either with wrapped treats or with coins.   You loved the hunt probably more than the others. I still remember your bubbling enthusiasm for the annual hunt.  Did you know I have kept all those baskets ?    Last year, I saw some plastic Easter eggs that were fashioned as dinosaur eggs !   I thought of you as I snatched them up.  The outer shell is fashioned in green with a tough textured exterior.  These would be very tough to find in one of our hunts, against the green grass !   I will hold on to them. Eventually I will discover what to do with them.

           This year there will be no hunt.  With each of your siblings in their twenties except for our beloved adoptee, who is almost there also, there are no children or even teens to celebrate in quite this way.  Still, with the cool air, pollen, verdant grass, I remember so clearly, as if it were yesterday, or the day before, your joy in the celebration of Easter. And if I haven't said it recently, thank you for coming to Earth to be my youngest son. I wouldn't have missed it for the world, despite the fact that our time together ended sadly.   I love you wider than the oceans, and deeper than the seas.

The grass is deep enough for the hunt !

Our posts on prior Easters:

Concerning Daniel's ducks:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tomorrow Might be Too Late

(Photo:  )

          Yesterday, I drove a relative to a major urban medical center for some specialized health care. We were there for most of the day, and there was a great deal of waiting involved.  At one point, I saw a large family with a boy who reminded me a bit of Daniel, at least physically.   He looked to be about ten, and his family had been to one of the clinics and were making their way through the maze that is the medical center, for the long trip home.  The sprawling hospital complex is adjacent to a number of trains, and the boy wanted to go to see the trains. Of course, the boy should be able to take twenty minutes to see the trains come in and go out. Of course, the family wishes to get out of the city and have the bulk of their own long travel done before rush hour hits.  So many times, we as adults, forget how fragile our lives and the lives of our children really are.  So many times, we are embroiled in what we think is the real work of the world, when in fact, the stop and small the roses moments our family member needs, might be their last chance.  The boy kept asking.    Eventually, he said, "Can't we just look at the trains ?"   They kept walking.   I wanted to cry. I remembered in that moment, times when Daniel had exactly that tone.  There were so many things he wished to do, and although we did some of them, there were many things as simple as trains at the medical center that were left for some future time, and then, of course, his future, and our own was simply suspended.

       I am not suggesting we turn all of our children into indulged brats, but I am suggesting that when time is all you have to lose, that we hear their cries to do a particular thing, and try to make time when we can.  Tomorrow might be too late.

Steven Curtis Chapman                                  More to This Life


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Olivia's Heart Project


  I first saw a picture of Olivia Hoff on a webpage which memorialized the sons and daughters, sisters and brothers who passed  due to QT syndromes, a sudden and unexpected heart rhythm disturbance, often in an otherwise healthy person, which all too often produces a sudden death.   Olivia was only fourteen years old at her passing in 2004.

    Daniel joined Olivia on that same memorial page in 2008.   As I looked at each of the pictures of these people, I felt sorrow.  I knew only too well that the departure of each of them will leave a permanent hole in their families, an awful lot like a sudden sink hole.  Regardless of the faith of these families, the loss from their families lives on Earth will be palpable and permanent.

     I was fortunate however to have contact this year with Olivia's mother,  Corinne Ruiz.   Corinne has worked hard to create a living and working memorial to Olivia which may well help to prevent some of the additional losses of children, teens and adults to undiagnosed heart rhythm disturbances.

    This is the story of what happened to Olivia, in her mother's words.

     Corinne Ruiz founded Olivia's Heart Project, which exists to raise awareness of the 400,000 deaths each year from a sudden cardiac death.  10,000 of these annual deaths are children.   Corinne works hard to educate the public, be an advocate for learning CPR, and also to place AEDs (automated emergency defibrillators) in as many public places as possible.  She is also a co-organizer of heart screenings in her community and beyond.   An arrhythmic death is not a heart attack. It is a disturbance in the rhythm of the heart which may be due to malformation, an undiagnosed physical condition, or sometimes only an episodic or hard to catch alteration in an EKG.

      Olivia's Heart Project

        I have tried to bring awareness of this issue following Daniel's passing.   I think that Olivia's mom, Corinne has done an incredible job in terms of bringing awareness of this issue and of bringing AEDs starting in her own community,and reaching beyond.    I know that Olivia would be so proud of her, just as I am sure Olivia's brother is also.

Olivia's Heart Project Newsletter for April, 2014---  Good information here