Couple who lost 8-year-old urge parents to 'Hug your kids. Don’t work too late'
A couple in Oregon, US, is urging parents to "Hug your kids. Don’t work too late," after tragically losing their eight-year-old son in his sleep last month.
Tech mogul, J.R. Storment and his wife, physician, Jessica Brandes, were a busy couple living in Portland with their 8-year-old twin boys, Wiley and Oliver.
One morning last month, however, Brandes discovered that Wiley had passed away in his sleep. The pair shared their story in separate essays on Linkedin.
"My wife and I have an agreement that when one of us calls, the other answers," Storment wrote. "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."
Brades recalled that after calling the police, she had "approximately 4 minutes to explain to Oliver that his best friend had died."
After first responders confirmed the child's death - which is believed to have been caused by SUDEP, Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy - Storment and Brandes had a limited window to say goodbye to their son.
"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?'” Storment continued. "We stayed next to him for maybe 30 minutes and stroked his hair before they returned with a gurney to take him away."
"Our time was limited. It was not the way a parent should have to see their child, but it was all we had," Brandes corroborated. "I take solace in the fact that it was peaceful. Wiley was warm and happy and asleep in his favorite place next to someone who loved him."
“Out of these ashes have come many new and restored connections. And I hope from this tragedy you consider how you prioritize your own time.
When it ends, there’s just photos and leftover things and time is no longer available to you. It is priceless and should not be squandered. Take your vacation days and sabbaticals and go be with them. You will not regret the emails you forgot to send."