R.I.P., Dear Daniel

Son had a friend that he went through school with, kindergarten through 12th grade, whose name was Daniel. Daniel’s momma was a widow. Her husband, older than she, had been in Vietnam. He eventually died from complications of cancer suspected to have been caused by Agent Orange. His first son, born before his exposure, was normal. His second son, born 20 years later in another marriage, was not.

Daniel was born with multiple birth defects. He was left with short stature from his multiple illnesses and surgeries when young. His doctors didn’t believe that he would live to reach adulthood. He was always, through it all, a wonderful young man who never complained about his problems. He and his mom, though, were left in deepest poverty. They made the best of what life had dished out for them.

His mom died this past February, two weeks after gallbladder surgery. They still haven’t heard the cause of death of mom from the medical examiners. It may be another 30 days. Daniel was found dead in his bed by his brother, who could not reach him by phone, and went to his house. His brother, 20 years older, is the survivor of a massive heart attack and is now totally disabled due to his cardiac condition. This is devastating for him. The medical examiners told him that it would be 90 days or more to find the cause of death for Daniel, too.

Our telephone number was the only one in his phone for his friends. His brother told our son that he always knew that we would get word to his friends if he needed them.

Daniel, when he reached adulthood, had problems. Intractable pain from his birth defects led to narcotic pills, and his friends from school disapproved. They fell away. What Daniel hadn’t told any of his friends, even when they chided him for his pill use and told him that they would not speak with him again until he was clean, was that he had had cancer of the jaw and had to have his jawbone removed and reconstructed. Daniel never complained about the pain from his conditions, so I don’t suppose he’d bring up something like cancer, either. Whether the death was from cancer that came back, the narcotics to combat the pain, or whether his birth defects had finally killed him, nobody can say yet.

Needless to say, son is pretty broken up about it. And try as I might, I can’t remember the young man as an adult. Whenever I think of Daniel, I remember a little boy with a big grin that worked so hard to keep up with his bigger friends. I hope that there is such a thing as heaven and Daniel is there now, pain free, with his mother that loved him so much.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kcduffy said,

    I’m hoping the same, Swampie. Please consider yourself hugged…and here’s a tissue.

  2. 2

    no2liberals said,

    Danged ol’Box of chocolates.
    I hope he didn’t suffer in his final hours.


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