Leland Shoemake died playing in the dirt. There’s a lot that can kill you out there: snakes, flash floods, heat, dehydration… anything that upsets either your respiratory, your circulatory, or your nervous systems. And young Leland was fighting a nasty disease that can cause brain swelling. Balamuthia mandrillaris. This bacteria can infects the brain cavity and ultimately leads to increasing pressure within the skull. The young boy fought fitfully for days in the hospital before his death.
His mother first noticed that he had a fever. Then that he the boy started vomiting, having diarrhea, and sever headaches. Then his eyes crossed and his mother rushed him to the hospital. Leland was unable to focus on anything.
Amber and Tim Shoemake – Leland’s parent’s – fought alongside their son for several nights in the hospital. But only days later they were returning home to determine which clothes Leland would be buried in… That’s when they found something surprising and interesting.
Lying on the table in their living room Was the following note:
Amber went to Facebook – and to the page she and Tim had set up, “Prayers for Leland”. In a lengthy post, she explained his story. She told about his love of the movie Jaws and Steven Spielberg and his love for great Adam Sandler. How Leland would quote various movies all the time. He loved to learn and was fascinated with history and weather channels.
It is very clear that Amber lover her son very much. She said she hoped it would be her that went first – although I suppose all parents hope so. Amber even notes that she doesn’t feel like it’s real, that she doesn’t feel that she is strong enough to deal really deal with it.
“We have no idea when he wrote it, but you can tell he was always a special child. We will love you forever Leland. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” They will always treasure their boy’s note. It will be constantly remind both of his parents how great their little boy was and