Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Unexpected Loss of a Child and Other Tragedies

Ian Burnet, as of this date remains missing without a trace.
    In life, we can prepare for many things. We can ease our family's passage through challenging times by making preparations and plans, and therefore make our own journey through life easier in the long run. There are however, events and circumstances that none of us can effectively plan for, and unfortunately, this discussion belongs in a preparedness forum.   This week a Virginia family with whom we have been in contact is missing their honor student son who is just a year shy of graduating with an electrical engineering degree. Ian Burnet, a 22 year old student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, visited New York City with friends, just after Christmas. He disappeared just before New Years Eve. A police investigation has revealed that they believe that Ian had a prior history of suicide attempts, but this was uinknown to his 25 year old brother, who by all accounts is his best friend, and was unknown to his parents, who are involved and loving parents who have proudly stood while their son has lived independently in an apartment for years now. I am not sure I believe the story about prior suicide attempts.    If you see someone who looks like Ian Burnet, please go to  where police contact information and full details are given.  Certainly by now, he could be anywhere.

Our youngest son Daniel,   The blog devoted to Daniel and his concerns.

           With Ian Burnet missing and his parents working hard to coordinate all they must do to get the word our to media, I can't help but recall what it was like to have our own youngest son die suddenly.  I have mentioned before, that three years ago, our youngest son, who had ostensibly no significant prior medical history, experienced a cardiac arrest which was resistant to CPR, and died here on the farm.  The medical ICU helicopter and local sheriff's office tried hard, following our own immediate CPR, but we could not save Daniel.  Daniel started the morning completely well planning Christmas shopping and asking us to get up in order to go. He ate cornflakes for breakfast, then walked into the bathroom, collapsed and died.  He heard the crash and entered immediately to help. Daniel had a negative autopsy and medical examiners surmise that Daniel experienced a sudden heart rhythm disturbance.  He had played soccer the day before, and seemed well, but a number of cardiac conduction disorders can produce death in a child who apparently appears healthy otherwise.  Of course, this will be a course of repeated sorrow throughout our lives as we miss Daniel, as our other children pass through the milestones of life.

         I mention both of these very severe and very different losses here on a survival/preparedness forum for a couple of reasons.  Each of us are here on this Earth in a somewhat precarious fashion, whether we choose to think about this, or believe it to be true.  Although each of us hope to pass through life without tragedies befalling our families, somethings they still do.   I would like to go over some practical things which could make differences should you or your family ever experience a tragedy from any source.

1.  Make sure that particularly fathers and mothers in your family have a Will.   Many families have lost a great deal or paid large sums to attornies when the laws in their nation favored the state, rather than their family following a tragedy or a sudden death.   My own aunt died intestate (without a Will) in England.  Her assets were divided by the state and included relatives she had not seen or spoken to(or liked very much)  in thirty years.  The final distribution would likely not have been her wish.   Any young adult with any assets whatsoever should have a Will.  It's fairly easy when your potential passing is imagined to be far in the future, to consider and to write one's Will.  Many US States allow a typed or handwritten Will, especially in a simple circumstance, which is simply notarized.

2.   Both fathers and mothers should have life insurance.  Unless you have pre-existing medical problems, term life insurance can be surprisingly inexpensive. When a mother or father dies, money for funerals, bills, college, and to pay off a mortgage can be a Godsend, especially for a family which may not function as smoothly as it once did.

3.   Make sure that everyone you love knows that they are.  Life's losses and sorrows are easier to bear when you know that the person you have lost knows how valued and how loved they were while you were lucky enough to have them with you here on Earth.

4.  Cultivate your faith. It doesn't matter to me which faith you embrace.  I have no particular interest in seeing to it that the world practices the faith I have chosen.  I do care that you have one however, because it makes surviving possible after a loss in which your continued survival is not necessarily assured. We once had friends who lost their three children in a fire. They survived as a direct result of their faith.  As older parents, they went on to have two additional children, but never to forget the three who await them later in Heaven.

5. Avoid financially overextending your family.  When we overextend financially, as in buy a home in a more expensive area than we can afford, or buy a more expensive car, we lock ourselves into a more stressful existence than we might otherwise.   When distracted or financially stressed, we are more likely to miss prompts to evacuate our region preemptively, or  take someone to a physician "on a hunch".  We need time, in this life, to listen to our positive impulses and intuitions, and we block these when we are financially stressed.

6. If you do experience a terrible loss of some kind, please know that the God who made us all, still loves you. He loves you whether you practice your regions favorite faith, or whether you have memorized stretches of scripture, or whether you are as perfect a person as God intended you to be.  Human beings are tremendously resilient creatures, and suicide by active means, or by default, is still a permanent solution to often temporary problems.

       I hope you have found some encouragement with regard to something said here today.

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