11 years, 9 months, one day, 5 hours, and 12 minutes is an incredibly short life. Logan was here with us for such a short time, but he touched the lives of everyone who knew him in some way. He was full of joy and laughter and shared both generously with those around him. He was a hand holder and a face patter, and he always made sure when he saw something funny that you saw it too.
Logan came into this world in the wee hours of the morning on June 14, 2003. He kept us on our toes from the very beginning- taking his time in arriving until they were ready to send us home, then, with a crack of thunder, deciding to rush into this world in just a few hours. He was a perfect little boy. He was calm and quiet and settled easily into our lives. When he was a baby, you could see wisdom in his big brown eyes. He didn’t miss a thing going on around him and he learned so easily. He adored his big sister, Avery, and watched her every move.
As a toddler, he would march through the house, arms swinging, chanting “Hut…two…three…four…” or “Mom-my…Dad-dy…Ave-ry…DODIN!” He sang constantly, often loudly and at inopportune moments. I remember him belting out, “Elmo’s Song” in the middle of a quiet restaurant while the other patrons looked on.
Logan loved hats of any kind. If he found one, he would plop it on top of his head, yelling, “hat!” joyfully. The hats he chose ranged from way too small baby hats swiped from Kara to his Supergramps’ hat- in a joyful game of “hat on-hat off”. He didn’t care if the hat had a big flower on the front or even if someone else was wearing it- if it was a hat, it belonged on his head.
Logan loved to eat. At the peak of his language, easily half of his words related to food. When he was hungry, which was all the time, he would use them all, one after the other, “Pizza! French Fries! Strawberries! Cereal! Yogurt!” and on and on. When we turned toward our house on our way home, he would cry, because he knew we weren’t going to a restaurant. He could wield a fork like a weapon- reaching with it across the table to snatch a tasty morsel off of someone else’s plate. His spoon left not a drop behind- even at the bottom of a yogurt cup.
Logan loved to color. Any chance he got, he would pick up a crayon, marker, pencil, or pen and scribble on any piece of paper that was handy. He never colored on the walls or in books, but his artwork was on every piece of paper in the house. He carried a small Magna Doodle with him and constantly scribbled on it, saying “Circle, circle, circle” or “Handy Dandy Notebook…right!”
Logan loved to pretend. Avery would dress him up in her princess dress, and he would flit through the house announcing, “I a princess! I a princess!” He played for hours on end with his Little People, moving them in and out of houses and cars and feeding them. Little People were everywhere in our house!
Between the ages of 2 ½ and 4, Hunter Syndrome began to take its toll on his mind, and life with Logan changed. There were two facts about Logan that everyone in his life needed to know during those middle years, but most people still underestimated him. First, Logan still loved food, and second, Logan was unbelievably fast. When he spied something that he wanted to eat, those hands could dart out, grab it, and put it in his mouth before you even realized he had moved. Birthday cakes were frequently marred before the candles were lit. More than one blueberry pie met its end with a large hole in the middle and blueberry filling dripped across the floor and down the front of his shirt. A startled couple in Pizza Hut one night had no idea what had hit them when Logan’s hand darted out and grabbed a piece of sausage from the middle of their pizza.
When there was no food to be found, Logan made it his mission to clear every surface within reach. The contents of tables, shelves, and even bulletin boards flew through the air as he raced around a room. Anything that he could get to his mouth became a chew toy. We were horrified by some of the things that he put into his mouth until the day he walked behind a shrub and walked back out with a dead bird in his mouth. After that, we just shook our heads and said, “At least it’s not a dead bird!”
Logan was LOUD. If Logan was around, everybody knew it. He shrieked happily as he moved through life. His footsteps were heavy, and he wanted to run wherever he went. Since there was always someone holding his hand, he often traveled in a side-ways run, held back on one side but not the other.
Logan chewed. The green chewy hanging around his neck was a constant. He could keep it in his mouth and move it from side to side without using his hands. There were days where he would find another chewy and pop that one in his mouth too. Sometimes he would even add a third. If he didn’t have a chewy, his clothes, his fingers, and sometimes our fingers were at risk, so a chewy at all times was essential.
Logan loved to watch TV. His favorite shows were those that he first watched as a toddler or preschooler. The Wiggles and Mickey Mouse, especially, brought him hours of joy. We took Logan to see the Wiggles in concert three times in his life. When he was a toddler, he reacted with joy- when he spotted the Big Red Car on stage, he said, “Widdles…Widdles…Widdles…RIDE!” and tried to run to the stage. His second concert was the most memorable. Logan got to meet the Wiggles! We dressed him in his Captain Feathersword costume, and he sat next to the real Captain for a picture, holding (and even chewing) the feather sword. During that concert, he joined other children in front of the stage to dance. I took him to one final concert when he was 9, and he still loved every minute of it. The smiles on his face made each concert well worth it!
Logan’s Make a Wish trip was to Disney World to meet Mickey Mouse. He enjoyed the rides, the characters, and especially the shows. It was a week packed with memories that we will cherish forever.
Even when Hunter Syndrome fogged his mind, Logan still loved people. He expressed his love by patting your face with one hand on each cheek. Logan’s expressions of love often left you seeing stars! Logan loved all people, but he knew who his favorites were, and he expressed his love enthusiastically.
During the last few years of his life, Logan became much quieter. He was content to sit in his wheelchair or lie in his bed and watch the world around him. In spite of his quieter disposition, Logan continued to smile and laugh through his later years. He loved to be sung to and never failed to grin when Mickey Mouse walked up the path at the beginning of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. His interest in toys returned, and he liked to sit and quietly roll a ball or stuffed animal in front of him. He would sit and shake his maracas for long stretches.
Logan loved holding hands with anyone nearby. Many unsuspecting friends and strangers alike suddenly found themselves holding his hand. During an elevator ride at the hospital one day, Logan reached out and took the hand of a corrections officer who was transporting a prisoner. The man graciously held Logan’s hand until we reached our floor. I’m willing to bet that he has never forgotten our sweet boy!
The final years with Logan were an opportunity to snuggle and shower him with hugs and kisses. Although he spent more and more time in his bed, he frequently had a family member hanging out in there with him. He loved to be read to and to hold his stuffed animals, or just to sit and watch his favorite shows.
Our wheelchair van allowed us to take one last trip with Logan. In December, we drove to Florida to attend a National MPS Society Family Conference at Disney World. The trip was a little hard on Logan, but he held up like the trooper he had always been. He met Mickey Mouse again, and he rode his favorite ride, “It’s a Small World”. He enjoyed an afternoon in the pool and spent Christmas day with his grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins as well as our immediate family. We visited Give Kids the World, where we stayed for his wish trip, and we saw his star on the ceiling. We all spent time with MPS friends. Most importantly, we had one last trip as a complete family, and we made memories to last us a lifetime.
The last six months were difficult. We watched helplessly as Logan’s health declined and he started slipping away from us. As we watched one body system after another start to fail, we knew our time with Logan was running out. As hard as it was, that knowledge, too, was a gift. We had time to say our good-byes and adjust to the idea that he would be leaving us soon.
Logan’s final decline began about two weeks before he passed away. He woke one morning in respiratory distress which did not respond to any of the usual treatments. When we had tried everything to no avail, we knew that the end was near. With the help of Hospice and some fantastic doctors, we kept him comfortable at home, in his own bed, surrounded by our family. His departure from this earth began on Wednesday, March 11. Nobody expected him to make it through the night, but our brave boy fought hard for 4 days. During that time, our home was filled with family who loved him. Everybody who was here had a chance to say good-bye. On the morning of Sunday, March 15, Andy and I held our sweet boy and sang to him as he took his last breath. Our beautiful boy is at peace.
Our family was forever changed by the gift of Logan. His smiles and sweet nature taught us to love unconditionally. He taught us to love and accept all people, regardless of their differences. He taught us patience, flexibility, and the ability to think on our feet. Our girls are growing into compassionate, caring young women who want to make a difference in the world thanks to their experiences as his sisters.
As we all move forward in a world without Logan, we ask you to remember the lessons he taught us and help keep his legacy alive. If you see a child with special needs, give them a smile and say hello. If you see a mother struggling with a child who is melting down in the grocery store, remember to be compassionate. Above all, remember to show the people you love how much you care.