January 3, 2010

A Heavy Heart

I don't even really know where to begin here, so I will just go for it.

My dear friends Tami and Sloane Stricker lost their beautiful baby boy Reed in the early morning hours of New Years Day.

At this point, I can only regurgitate facts since I am having the worst time processing this. Tami and Sloane are the most amazing people, and it is beyond my understanding how something like this could happen to them.

Reed Stricker was born with a rare DNA mutation called Dravet's Syndrome. This caused him to suffer from seizures on a daily basis. From what I understand, there is little knowledge of how to treat this disorder, and Reed had a difficult road ahead of him. Being only 20 months old, he really had no idea that anything was wrong with him; he DEFINITELY was the flirt of the year!! Happy, bubbly, silly, active, creative, ADORABLE.

On New Years Eve, during a normal afternoon nap, Reed suffered from a seizure that his body could not recover from. In the wee hours of the morning on New Years Day, surrounded by his parents and grandparents, Reed passed away.

It's so very difficult to accept the fact that nature creates some things that just can't be fixed. I always whole heartedly believed that they would find a way to manage his condition. Whenever Tami and I would talk about it, I would ALWAYS reassure her that this was temporary, and even though it is really tough right now, things would get better, and she would BARELY remember this awful time. Now I feel horrible that the future I assured her would come, won't.

The reality of the situation, as easy as it is to ignore it, is that he had very little chance for a normal life. To my comfort, his parents realize that he now does NOT have to go through a childhood where he can't go out and play in the snow with the other kids, or he can't go to the swimming pool to play in the sun. At that point, he would have known that he was different from everyone else. But, at 20 months old, Reed Stricker only knew LOVE.

That is my silver lining. I search for comfort, and find that. Although Reed was my little buddy, and I miss him, my personal pain from this loss is so small and insignificant to the pain I feel for my dear friends who are lost without him. It simply breaks my heart to see them going through this.

New Years will never be the same. Someone in the grocery store yesterday told me 'Happy New Year' and I wanted to punch them in the face. I know time will heal, and we won't all feel like that after a bit, but none of us will ever forget.

To Tami and Sloane: You are the most amazing, dedicated, loving, selfless parents I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Reed could have been born any parents, giving him who knows what kind of life, but he was blessed with the two of you. His happiness and complete ignorance of his condition was solely your doing, and I am in awe of the quality of life that little boy had while in your care.

To Burke: I am going to chase your little butt down the next time I see you and give you a big fat kiss. I know you don't understand why your little shadow is no longer here, and I can only hope that the memories of your little brother comfort you as you grow.

To Reed: My buddy, you will always be my favorite little lunch date! I am deeply honored that I was able to be a part of your life. You have touched so many people, and blessed their lives. You are a brave, brave soul, and the teacher of many things. I will miss your laugh the most. I know that you have found peace, and for that, I am joyful.

Its so incredibly hard to watch people you love in so much pain, and be helpless to console. The only thing that I can do is open my arms, and hug my friend.

And so I will.


  1. This makes me so incredibly sad. I would never, ever be the same. There are no words. :(

  2. As a fellow parent of a child with Dravet syndrome, my thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

  3. Tami is my cousin. Sadly I must say that I have not seen her in several years. I never had the privilege of meeting Reed. Thank you so much for your kind words and for comforting my dear cousin in this difficult time. I lost a step son to the same cause in Nov 08, and I can honestly say that she will need her friends now, more than ever. Thanks again!

    Garnet Pierce