It is a heartbreaking reality that people sometimes face the loss of their little ones in tragic accidents, cancer battles, or other diseases.
And it might be a good idea to grab some tissues for this story, the of 6-year-old Leland Shoemake – because it’s definitely an emotional ride.
Leland Shoemake was an ordinary 6-year-old from Williamson, Georgia. His infectious happiness, sharp intellect, and creative spirit left an indelible mark on those who knew him.
”He knew his abc’s, numbers, colors, shapes and 20 sight words by the time he was a year old. He was our little nerd and we loved that about him. He loved school and loved to learn. He loved the history channel, the weather channel, documentaries and anything about history,” his mother, Amber Shoemake, shared on social media.
Under different circumstances, his name might never have reached our ears – however, fate had different plans in store for Leland.
Everything began in 2015, when Leland suddenly fell ill and was swiftly admitted to the hospital. His condition rapidly deteriorated and soon, the doctors found out that he had a brain infection caused by the amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris. No one really knew how Leland got the bacteria, but he may have come into contact with it while playing outdoors.
”The one thing he loved most was playing in the dirt,” Mrs Shoemake wrote on her Facebook post and continued:
”I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me.”
Initially, medical professionals were perplexed by Leland’s illness, suspecting meningitis as the cause. However, upon further investigation, they confirmed that he was indeed suffering from an amebic infection in his brain.
”He has had bad headaches, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and now his eyes are crossed and he can’t focus on anything without his eyes moving and seeing double,” his mom on the family’s GoFundme page.
Leland fought hard for his life, but on September 25, 2015, he passed away.
As his parents returned home from the hospital where they had bid their final farewells to their beloved son, waves of sorrow engulfed them. However, amidst the overwhelming grief, their attention was drawn to an object resting on the family’s living room table.
Leland, known for his endearing habit of leaving notes and drawings for his parents, had left one last heartfelt message.
The note read: ‘Stil (sic) with you… Thank you mom and dad… Love.’ He also drew a red heart that contained three words: mom, dad and love.
It is nearly impossible to fathom the depth of meaning and comfort it must have brought to the grieving parents during such a trying time. Leland’s note served as a bittersweet reminder of the love and connection they shared, offering a glimmer of solace in the midst of their heartbreaking loss.
”We have no idea when he wrote it but you can tell he was always a special child,” his mother said.
For your convenience, the entire story from The Leland Shoemake Foundation has been quoted below:
This is Amber. This will be my only post on here for awhile.
I was over protective of Leland and tried my best to keep him safe. The one thing he loved most was playing in the dirt. I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me. He was my world. He made me a mother. We struggled so hard to have him. He was a preemie baby but came out screaming and healthy. He was smart from day one. He knew his abc’s, numbers, colors, shapes and 20 sight words by the time he was a year old. He was our little nerd and we loved that about him. He loved school and loved to learn.
He loved the history channel, the weather channel, documentaries and anything about history. He loved ships like the titanic and learning about things like WWII. He was perfect. His favorite movie was jaws. His favorite director was Steven Spielberg. And his favorite actor was Adam Sandler. He loved his brother and his family so much. He was the life of every party. His smile could light up a city. He was the smartest, most caring, loving little boy there ever was.
He could have done great things in this world. We would only have a few friends in this county if it wasn’t for Leland. He never met a stranger and he loved everyone. My whole life this has been my only fear and it came true. No one should ever have to bury a child. I always said I hope it’s me that goes first bc I don’t think I’m strong enough to handle something like this.
It still doesn’t seem real to me.
I find myself sitting here remembering things he would say and quotes from movies he would repeat. Like “check ya later” from dazed and confused. Or “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” from jaws. Or all the million things he used to say from Billy Madison.
He was the light of our life and the center of this family.
I count the days until I can see his sweet face again and hear that beautiful voice.
When Tim and I came home for the first time to get him clothes to be buried in, this is the note we found from him on the table in the living room. 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!