This is a story about child abuse and loss. It’s an important story, but please skip today’s post if it is an especially sensitive topic for you.
Before Facebook was around, when I was pregnant with Molly I was seeking friendship and support online. I had found an online baby group back when I was grieving the loss of my first pregnancy. I think I was always one of those lurkers, and I’m not sure I even chimed in until I was pregnant with the twins. But I felt like I knew the people who were having babies at the same time that I was having Molly, and I loved reading the stories about their kids. I swear I never stalked anyone. I was too tired to leave my house, and that sounds like work. One of the people in this birthday club was Sherri. I can’t remember exactly when I got to know her because it has been so long, but through the wonder that is the internet I have been lucky enough to keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram. She’s been through a lot over the years and although she is one of the strongest people I know, she could use some extra good thoughts and prayers right now I am sure – even though she would never ask for them.
Her son Dwight (we all call him Dee) was violently shaken and thrown onto the couch at three weeks old by his biological father. He had a grand mal seizure and a stroke and has damage to more than 50% of his brain as a result of the abuse. Due to the Shaken Baby Syndrome he has had many surgeries over the years, has epilepsy, is fed by a feeding tube, is blind, and cannot stand or walk.
But he survived.
He is a tough guy with the sweetest smile.
He has won all of our hearts. Especially that of his little brother Luke, who is five.
Last week Sherri had to tell her five year old that his big brother is going to pass away soon.
Dee has been suffering from pneumonia for a month now. It cannot be treated with antibiotics and has done irreparable damage to his lungs. He is suffering, and Sherri and her husband Lorn (the man who knows what it is to be real father and is the dad that Dee deserves) had to make the excruciating and selfless decision to switch him to comfort care. All of our hearts broke at this news. I can’t imagine how they are feeling.
Sherri has never whined or complained about the exhausting life of being a special needs mama. She tirelessly fights for Dee, from making sure that the person who hurt Dee was punished, to getting the best care for her son. Even now, as we’re all wishing we could will this horror away for them, and if we can’t do that at least give the family a little bit of financial support to help them through. They are full of grace and appreciation, and choosing to donate the money toward preventing future child abuse. That’s how passionate they are about making sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.
The link for donations is here. Our friend Cathy has also created a special pendant in honour of Dee, with the profits going to the family.
It can be ordered at Cathy’s Creations Jewelry.
Please help us to honour Dee by spreading the word on the dangers of shaking a baby. It’s not something that can be undone. Share Dee’s story with everyone you know who cares for a baby. Help out new parents that are exhausted by watching the baby and sending them for a nap.
If you’re expecting a baby, make a plan ahead of time of things you can do when the baby won’t stop crying. When you’re exhausted and not thinking clearly, it’s helpful to have that list posted. Write the numbers of friends and family on there that can help when it gets overwhelming, and promise yourself that you will call them. When the twins were born and had colic and never slept, I remember the feeling of extreme exhaustion and desperation. Putting the baby in her crib and sitting on the front porch for five minutes was enough to get me through the rest of the crying spell.
Here are some additional resources to help:
Thank you for reading, and please keep Dee and his family in your hearts