• Kathy Cassel

A Rare Gift of Joy


It’s been a sad week. My next post was supposed to be about last year’s nanowrimo experience. Then Tuesday happened. So this post is about sadness. And hope. And all the things in between.

On Tuesday I saw that a dear 21-year-old friend of ours had posted that her 5-year-old son had been admitted to the local hospital with a fever and maybe a UTI.

Then things escalated, and he was put on a breathing tube and moved to ICU because he wasn’t breathing well. Shortly after, they decided to airlift him to a bigger hospital. Mom wasn’t able to ride with him so had to find her own way there.

On Wednesday it was found that he had an infection in his heart, and he was once again airlifted. This time he went to Shands Hospital in Gainesville which is part of the University of Florida and has a great pediatrics’ team. My own daughter Jasmine was airlifted there when she was born and put in observation for ten days. She has also gone through many surgeries there, and the doctors have been the best (with one exception).

Again Mama had to find her own way there. But thankfully several people were already working on getting there to be with her. One of them was my son, Adam. Even though they aren’t currently together, he and her 5-year-old have had a very special relationship for several years.

At 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Mama posted that her son was going into brain surgery because he wasn’t showing any sign of activity. Shortly after midnight, now Thursday, Adam messaged me that they weren’t seeing any signs of brain activity. So Thursday was spent waiting and testing to see if there were any signs of life.

On Friday they did one last test to make sure there were no signs of life, and then they begin the process of filling out donor paperwork. I strongly believe that everyone possible should be a donor. In that way at least some good comes from tragedy. Someone is given the gift of life. But I’m sure it’s hard to think that way in the middle of such a traumatic experience.

Now final arrangements are being made.

Although Keke had special needs, he was loved by everyone that knew him. I never saw him when he wasn’t smiling. He spread joy, and he had a rare gift of touching others just by being there. He didn’t have to walk. He didn’t have to talk. He just radiated love. And that’s the way I want to remember him.



It seems that God took him too early, but I believe God puts us here to accomplish something. And when that something is done, it’s time to go home to him. For most of us, it takes a lot longer to figure out what we’re supposed to do in life. For Keke, he got it right at a young age.



I am sad, but I am not sad for him. No, I picture him walking for the first time. Running even. Straight into the arms of Jesus. And his grandmother who was already there waiting. I think he’ll take his time exploring every inch of heaven. Walking, running, laughing and spreading joy. But I’m sad for those of us left behind. For the empty chair at the table and the empty Christmas stocking. For all the days we will go through without you.



I will see you again sweet boy, and when that time comes, you can be my own tour guide because by then everyone in heaven will know your name, and they will love you the way we do.

And on this side of heaven, we will all be better for having known you. And your life will continue to inspire our own as we too try to fulfill the plan God has for each of us.

Goodbye Keke. But just for now. One day I’ll see you again. And I know you'll still be smiling.

PLEASE feel free to leave Tara a comment below.

#keke #heaven #smiling #giftofjoy

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