Heavenly birthday is September 14, 1979
September 14th, is
an anniversary date, but I do not celebrate it in a happy fashion. Each year as
it comes around, I take inventory of that day and recount the memories of how
that day and night changed my life forever. We as parents never expect to out
live one of our children. The moment we are told that our precious child has
gone on before us, we experience total shock, disbelief, anger and guilt.
I speak of guilt because after Kelly passed, I thought about the week before when at the market, he begged for a package of gum and I would not buy it for him as I worried about his teeth. I remembered how he cried. I felt guilty for being alive to eat a meal or buy an ice cream cone. Naturally, I had two other children to live for and I had to get on with the business of living, in spite of the fact that the life had been knocked out of me.
Well, I'm getting ahead of my self here so I will go back to when Kelly was born.
On December 22, 1975 Kelly came into this world a healthy beautiful bouncing boy.
He was a loving little boy with a big sensitive heart and loved to be around people and respected even the little insects he would find when playing in the yard. He loved all of God's little creatures. One of his sweetest traits was his sense of humor and he also had one of the best imaginations I ever saw in a child his age.
Kelly was the youngest of his three siblings and would get somewhat lonely for playmates after his brother and sister went to school. He was over three and a half by this time and I decided to put him in day care a few days a week so that he could be with other children. It was there at day care that he got sick. I couldn't understand this as he was feeling so good that morning.
I rushed to the daycare to get him and made arrangements to take him to the doctor. So far, he was only having a temperature and complained that he had a headache and his back was hurting too. The doctor assured me that he only had the flu and said to just give him baby aspirin and fluids. As the day progressed, Kelly started to vomit off and on and his balance was not too good. I spent most of the day holding and rocking him. Later in the evening, his temperature began to shoot up. There were some small spots breaking out on him. He had one spot on his leg that I showed the doctor earlier, but he dismissed it. I called the doctor again and told him what was happening and he still insisted he had the flu. I worked frantically getting his temp down by bathing him in cool water and it would come down for a while but then it would go up again. I called the doctor and again he insisted it was the flu. All through the night I worked with Kelly and watched him as he got worse not even knowing what he had was Septicemia Meningococcal meningitis. The most rare form of meningitis.
This too is where the guilt comes in as I felt as though I should have taken him to the emergency much sooner than I did. I felt guilty for putting to much trust into his doctor. If only!
I remember how cold Kelly's feet were that night, as if someone has put ice cakes to the bottoms of his feet. Finally, as time passed his whole body began to turn purple and my husband and I rushed him to the emergency room. Kelly couldn't even speak by this time, but there were just little murmurs and his little mouth clinched shut. The emergency room doctors hadn't seen anything like this and didn't know what was wrong with him.
As I paced and cried hysterically, our pastor was called and he came to support us in those early morning hours. Finally, we were taken into a small room where two doctors were waiting to talk to us. I knew what the outcome would be before they even told us and I tried to prepare for the bad news.
This is something you can't do no matter how you try. I could not believe that our Kelly was gone. Just an hour before he was alive and now he was gone.
If it hadn't been for our pastor's support and the love of God that night I don't think I would have made it through those first hours after he died. We left the hospital to come home and had the terrible and painful task of telling our older children that their little brother was never coming home.
How could such a terrible disease attach itself to a child and nothing is done to prevent it? I asked all of these questions soon after all of this happened. We inoculate them for everything in the beginning of their lives and yet this silent killer sneaks in and robs a child of its precious life and parents of a child they cherish. It hurts mostly to see a child suffer through this terrible painful disease and to see what it does to them before it takes them out of this world. If only!
Well, it has been twenty three years now and Kelly would be going on twenty seven in December, but I still remember as though it were yesterday and although the pain is not as bad, it still hurts a great deal.
The wonderful memories he left behind are still as fresh as they were back then.
There is that memory of his laughter and the tone in his voice when he'd say "I love you mom" and the witty way he could talk me out of extra cookies.
I recall when he came into the kitchen with two of his imaginary playmates. He introduced them to me and then asked for cookies for them all.
I even had to set a place at the table for one of them nearly every day.
On his last vacation with us to Texas just weeks before he died, he had taken one of them with us and forgot to bring him back home.
He was not happy about that, but after two weeks went by he flew into the house and announced that his friend had just arrived. Naturally, we all had to pretend to see and greet his imaginary friend. I was so sure we had seen the last of his friend and he would forget about this fantasy.
He could also do a bang up job of imitating our Pastor on a Sunday . Although he was very young, he did know Jesus and said he was going to fly to heaven one day to see him.
For a fact he did just that and for that I am grateful.
I have not told everything in full detail as it happened, as it would take writing a book, but the out come is obviously and painfully the same.
After all the years have passed, I think on all of the children that I have read about that have also had the misfortune to contract this deadly killer. Once again, I ask why wasn't there a vaccine for this like there are so many other diseases? Now there is and only a certain age group is allowed to have it. This just makes no sense, as all life is precious. All children are treasures from God and all deserve the right to live to be healthy and strong.
Well, I sum it now as a trial in life that we as parents have gone through, hoping and praying that we have learned something from it and have become stronger and better in life because of it. I'm sure of one thing; I would never have given my son's life over freely to death for any reason. God gave His only son to die because He loves us so much. He knows our heartache as he grieved for a child too.
I am now involved with another disease that attached itself to another one of my children. Multiple Sclerosis. Tracy was 15 when she started having symptoms.
Now just 21, she is doing well and I am thankful to God and pray for a cure for it. At least there is medication to help this condition and I give injections to her weekly.
Into each life some rain must fall, so catch it in a barrel and water the flowers God sends when they thirst. May God bless each one who has taken the time to read about Kelly.
Port St. Lucie, Florida
To Neva Jane Casselman , and Kelly
We know you're up above shining you're
you're love and happiness, with those who have come to
join you there in heaven , why mom and you are having
a blast , I understand life is short ,so us who remain
,must help thoughts which need our help , after all ,we
are all one big family ,may we find a cure for
meningitis and all the other illnesses that
threaten are lives ,may we learn from others and share
our time to help thoughts in need , I want to thank the
Frankie Milley family,as she was such an
encouragement to my mother , for many years ,
continue to bless this family and those who support it
I love you, and we will meet again,
you're son ,love Jay Paul Casselman
John 15 ;12 and Jesus loves me , that's from Kelly
Eugene , GOD BLESS YOU and this website.
Happy Birthday Kelly
In Memory Of ...Kelly Casselman
Earth Bound Angels
In Memory of Jane Casselman, Kelly's Mom
Kelly Casselman, You have been waiting
for your Mommy, Now she is with you,
I hope you were there with open arms, please give her a hug from the whole
family, We miss the both of you so very much.
We miss you Neva Jane Casselman.
Home to Heaven December 2003