Letter to the Editor

Boy describes life without his deceased parents

Monday, February 5, 2018

About 5,000 kids or more in Arkansas have at least one or both of their parents deceased. Unfortunately, I am one of those kids in Arkansas. It all happened in late 2014, two days after Christmas, I became one of those 5,000 kids.

I lost my dad due to a massive heart attack and trust me it wasn't easy for my family. My brother is autistic and he didn't understand that dad was gone and wasn’t coming back. I can't even imagine how he felt after he was unable to wake my dad. My mother was depressed; they were married 20 years and he was her best friend, her everything.

My mother had her own problems also. She was paralyzed on her right side and had been since late 2012, plus she had other major health problems. My dad helped take care of her so she wouldn't end up in a nursing home.

To be honest, I always thought my mother would be the first to pass due to her many health problems, not my dad. But it was his time to go not hers.

Life got harder after he died. We had to put my mom in a nursing home in Searcy, Arkansas. This was three hours away from Blytheville, Arkansas, which is where we live.

Not only did we have to put our mom in a nursing home, my brother and I were unable to stay in our childhood home. All the furniture was put in storage. My 64 year old grandmother that lived next door was awarded full custody of us. My sister was only 18 and was unable to get custody of us, so sadly she moved out to South Carolina.

It was really hard for us to move on and my mother´s health kept going down hill. Every month when we would visit, it seemed like she always had pneumonia. Due to three strokes, which damaged something in her throat, she was unable to swallow food or liquid. When she did swallow, it would go directly down her windpipe which caused pneumonia.

The doctors decided that a feeding tube was needed for the rest of her life. I honestly can't imagine not being able to eat or drink. Nothing made me more sad than visiting my mom and seeing her beg for real food and drinks. I hated not being able to help her, I honestly did. Her health continued to decline over the next year.

While I was on my way back from Chicago with my god-family on June 20, 2016, my mom passed away. It was just nine days before my 16th birthday and it hurt me so bad. Knowing that my mom was alone when she passed still haunts me. I was mad at God and everybody for weeks.

My mother was my twin; we acted just alike and goofed off 24/7. We were so close. What can I say, I was a momma's boy.

It kills me knowing that both of my parents are gone and I'll never be able to see them again. There are so many things I´I’ve missed doing with my parents. I miss watching movies with my dad and being able to talk to him about everything. I also miss talking to my mom and making her laugh.

Ever since she passed, I've used my sense of humor as a coping device. Since her passing there has been many times I have done hilarious things I wish I could tell her about. I can almost hear her funny laugh and see her smiling.

Man, life is so hard without my parents, however, at least they are not suffering anymore like they were on Earth.

Today, I´m 17 years old. I will be turning 18 in five months.

Being without my parents hasn't gotten any easier and probably never will. Even though they are gone, I will always remember the lessons they taught me. ¨Do your best in life,¨ and, ¨Get your education and become successful.¨

I can make them proud of me by living up to these expectations. I live everyday knowing they´re watching me. I understand what those other kids are going through because I'm going through it as well. I hope one day soon the numbers will drop because I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

— Rhett Viens