Grieving Dad Writes Heartbreaking Message After 8-YO Son’s Final Moment: “Spend More Time With Your Kids”
A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son’s death.
He explained that his son, Wiley, had passed away during his sleep as a result of complications from his mild epilepsy called Benign Rolandic Epilepsy that is most common in boys between 8 and 13. What took away the little boy’s life was “Sudden Unexplained D.e.a.t.h of Epilepsy (SUDEP) which is “generally seen to be unpredictable, unpreventable, and irreversible once it starts,” Storment explained.
Sharing his story he shed light on the importance of taking more time off work to spend with one’s family.
Many who know of my son’s death have been afraid to ask what happened. Others who don’t have wondered why I’ve disappeared. Here is the story: https://t.co/Egjzj4u5TZ
— J.R. Storment (@stormental) September 4, 2019
Speaking of the heartbreaks the family endured during the time of Wiley’s d.e.a.t.h, Storment wrote:
“Eight years ago, during the same month, I had twin boys and co-founded Cloudability. About three months ago Cloudability was acquired. About three weeks ago we lost one of our boys.
When I got the call I was sitting in a conference room with 12 people at our Portland office talking about PTO policies. Minutes earlier, I had admitted to the group that in the last 8 years I’d not taken more than a contiguous week off.
My wife and I have an agreement that when one of us calls, the other answers. So when the phone rang I stood up and walked to the conference room door immediately.
I was still walking through the door when I answered with “Hey, what’s up?”
Her reply was icy and immediate: “J.R., Wiley is d.e.a.d.”
“What?” I responded incredulously.
“Wiley has d.i.e.d.” she reiterated.
“What?! No.” I yelled out, “No!”
“I’m so sorry, I have to call 911.”
That was the entire conversation. The next thing I know I’m sprinting out the front door of the office with my car keys in hand, running ferociously across the street and muttering “oh F*ck. oh F*ck. oh F*ck.”. Half way down the block I realize I don’t have the opener to my parking garage. Running back into the lobby, I all but shout “Someone drive me! Somebody drive me!” Thankfully, a helpful colleague did.”
Storment made it home, but not yet knowing the cause of d.e.a.t.h, police were treating the house as a possible crime scene. The heartbroken father was unable to see his son for two and a half hours.
“It was 2.5 painful hours before I could see my boy. After an hour of waiting in shock out front, I told the armed police officers guarding the doors that I couldn’t wait any longer. They allowed me to go out to the deck facing the kids room to peer through the sliding glass window. He lay in his bed, covers neatly on, looking peacefully asleep. I put my hand on the glass and lost it.
When the medical examiner finally finished his work, we were allowed in the room. An eerie calm came over me. I laid down next to him in the bed that he loved, held his hand and kept repeating, “What happened, buddy? What happened?
We stayed next to him for maybe 30 minutes and stroked his hair before they returned with a gurney to take him away. I walked him out, holding his hand and his forehead through the body bag as he was wheeled down our driveway. Then all the cars drove away. The last one to leave was the black minivan with Wiley in it.”
As he remembers his son fondly he also urges other parents not to miss out on special moments because they’re too caught up with work.
“Over the last three weeks I have come up with an endless stream of things I regret. They tend to fall into two categories: things I wish I had done differently and things I’m sad not to see him do. My wife is constantly reminding me of all the things he did do: Wiley went to 10 countries, drove a car on a farm road in Hawaii, hiked in Greece, snorkeled in Fiji, wore a suit to a fantastic British prep school every day for two years, got rescued from a shark on a jet ski, kissed multiple girls, got good enough at chess to beat me twice in a row, wrote short stories and drew comics obsessively.
“Many have asked what they can do to help. Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time. I’m guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with. Do you have them regularly scheduled with your kids? If there’s any lesson to take away from this, it’s to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter. ”