Jeffrey was born in 1985 with Hurler Syndrome (MPS type I.) He was blessed to have an older brother, Tom, and an older sister, Melanie. When he was less than 5 months old, Jeffrey suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest, which left him neurologically blind and severely brain damaged. Although he never walked, sat up by himself or even talked the same as you and I, he was very present in the lives of our family, friends and home health caregivers. Jeffrey was usually happy, even when enduring the most painful of circumstances. He loved music, singing, stories, familiar voices and being patted on the chest. It was the day after Christmas in 1997 when Jeffrey made his flight to Heaven. Without a doubt, he was lovingly greeted by his Daddy, who preceded him in death ten years previously. Life doesn’t always go the way we expect, but in the end, love triumphs! I loved being Jeffrey’s mommy and I’m a better person because he lived.
Jeffrey’s sister wrote the following in her journal the day after Jeffrey died. It’s a beautiful glimpse into my daughter’s heart and into the final moments of Jeffrey’s life. Although my daughter did not give it a title, I call it FLY AWAY HOME!
“It’s hard to say what happened yesterday. A little life was called to come home, to leave the body which held it captive. I’m sure a struggle transpired, but what a choice to make. Glimpses of freedom and loving eyes and the surety of moving parts – things he could only dream of doing. We can only imagine what Jeffrey thought and felt, but this is what I think…
~~~Pain. How much more can I take? I wish somebody would come and turn my music on. What long days. Oh…wait! I hear mommy’s voice. I do! Oh, mommy, I missed you! Kiss me! Hug me! Make me feel better. Ow! My body feels so tired. I need to keep going though. I can be strong like my mommy. I love her so much! The way her hair feels on my face and how she touches me. (Sigh.) I always feel her love. Oh! The pain isn’t going away. How tired I am of it! Someday I will walk though, my mommy tells me so. Oh no! Something’s wrong…I can’t breathe! I hear mommy. Mommy, help me! It hurts! Oh wait…what’s that LIGHT? It’s beautiful! And those faces…my daddy and grandma and grandpa! Oh boy! Look at the place they’re at! I want to be there with them. It looks so fun! BUT… I want mommy to come with me – what do I do? I hear someone…”
“BE WHOLE! Be whole!”
“Oh, what do I do? My mommy would want me to go and be whole. I know she would. I’m going to go in. Bye Mommy. I love you!”
“Oh wow! I can run! And jump! And laugh! This place – there’s no pain! I can breathe! Wait…who’s that beautiful man?”
“Welcome Jeffrey! You have served me well. I want you to do everything you’ve always wanted to do…and more. Before you know it, your mother and the others will be here with you, so enjoy my Kingdom. You have many, many heavenly treasures stored up and a special place with me. Fear not for your family, for I will be with them.”~~~
–Written by Melanie Mills December 27, 1997