"Of all the animals, the BOY is the most unmanageable!" ~ Plato

11.14.2008

Brennen's story

I realize some of you may not know the story so here it is....
I was 14 and my mom and dad had just left to go on a fabulous cruise. The older couple who rented what is now my house were to take care of me and my brothers and sisters. I left for school that morning, having a feeling that I should really be staying home. But I didn't. Later that day, I was called into the school office to find my aunt, crying. My brother had had an accident. From what I was told, Brennen, Breanna and Co (our sitter) were out on the back deck. Brennen got into the ashes under the bbq so Bre and Co went to find a broom. Co left Brennen out on the deck. That was mistake #1. She found the broom and went outside to find that Brennen was no longer on the deck. She started searching the house. Mistake #2. The last place she looked was where she found him....the pool. He was in the deep end and Co didn't know how to swim. Bre was almost 4 at the time and she recently has been having more memories return. She now remembers that Co waited for Brennen to stop struggling before fishing him out with the pool net. Mistake #3. 911 was called and Brennen was actually air lifted to Children's Hospital in Oakland. They were unable to revive him the water was super cold which was something working in his favor. My parents had to be reached. That took a long time. They FINALLY were able to get a flight home but it was a series of connections. Ultimately my parents had to make that decision. The one no parent EVER should have to make. Brennen spent 3 days in NICU but there were no signs of him ever waking up and at that point brain activity was minimal. My parents chose to let their baby go. The thought of him simply surviving but never being able to experience life in it's fullest was too much. I will never forget when my parents told me and my brother. We went into a tiny office with a nurse and my parents and they told us. We knew it was possible but I guess we never really thought it would be the outcome. It was absolutely the most devestating thing I've ever gone through. I remember distinctly that the nurse kept offering my brother and I a piece of candy because "candy always makes me feel better." WTF! It's not difficult to talk about it. I feel like it was another lifetime ago. Like maybe it was something out of a movie and not real life. I guess that's maybe a coping skill? His funeral was amazing. SO many people came together to celebrate his short but full life. There was standing room only and the plants that people brought were everywhere. At the cemetery everyone had a helium balloon to write a message on and we all let them go at once. It was beautiful. It was really hard on me though because I was so close to Brennen. I was 14 and babysat him A LOT! I was sort of a second mom to Bre and Brennen. Oddly enough, not even a week before his accident, I had decided to make a rather lengthy video where I dressed him up in various outfits and made him go through his vocabulary on tape. That was the last video of him. My mom still keeps it on a shelf right by the front door. In case there's ever a fire. I think Brennen was put here for a reason. Our extended family wasn't very close before then. All that changed after Brennen died. He was the baby of the ENTIRE family. He was a tiny peanut of a boy too. It's kind of strange....out of all MY boys, Brennen is the only one who was small at this age. I guess that means he got the right name. Needless to say, I was adamant about Brennen starting swim lessons at an early age. He started at 6 mos.
 


It took me a long time to even be able to call Brennen by his name. It was far too big for him at first. He's really filled the shoes well though.
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33 comments:

Dawn said...

Wow, Dana. That is such a sad story. Makes you really think twice about who you let babysit your kids.

Kelli said...

Thank you for sharing his story with us.

Jennifer said...

What an honour it is that your little son has to carry on your brother's name. Was it a hard decision to call boy #5 after your brother? Or did you have another name but then come to the conclusion to use Brennen?

I agree with Dawn, your story makes me think about who is caring for my children. what a horrible reason for your parents to be contacted on their vacation. Wow! thanks for sharing such a personal story.

Melissa said...

I am crying here :( Thanks for sharing that story. What a horrible tradegy. I can't believe the sitter waited for him to stop struggling before fishing him out, UGH! :.(

Julie @ blessedwithfive said...

I had no idea . . . such a sad memory!

You honored your brother by naming your son after him.

Rachel Ann said...

I was stopping by to congratulate you on being the SITS blog of the day. I read this about your brother and think it is wonderful that you were able to share about him and his death.

John Deere Mom said...

Wow. That's an amazing story. I'm here from SITS...will be back!

Brenda Jean said...

I lost a brother too, but he was 19. My parents had to make the same type of decision. I know how hard this was for you, and your entire family. It feels like another lifetime to me too. I wish my brother could have known my kids. He would have been a great uncle. {{{HUGS}}}

suzi said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. How special that your son now has his name. Such an honor.

Leah said...

so sorry to hear about your brother. tomorrow is my brother's birthday who passed away in 2007. if we are ever able to afford to adopt a boy, i would like to give him my brother's middle name.

lemonologie said...

That's an amazing story. It is through a tragedy like this that we really learn what is important in life. Thank you for sharing.

Mandy said...

I'm so glad you shared this. It broke my heart reading it but I'm so glad you told your story and are able to talk about it. I have no idea what I'd do if I lost a child, your parents are very strong!

Mrs. S said...

I'm so sad for you. I can't imagine losing a sibling.

Gaspegirl said...

Thank you for sharing this story with us...

(((hugs)))

Katie said...

What a tragic story. I think that's amazing how you've named your son in rememberance! I had a dream noce about my oldest drowning, and I've been very particular about pools ever since.

Blissful Babe said...

Wow.
I have no words.

Thank you for sharing such a special and important time in your life.

*hugs*

Eudea-Mamia said...

What a heartbreaking story. I can't imagine the pain for your entire family.

Pool safety has always been a worry for me as well. I honestly hate having a pool.

Em

Julie said...

Just found your blog through SITS. Such a sad story. Sounds like you have an awesome family though.

Paige said...

WOW--it just goes to show how quickly an accident can happen and change so many lives.

My mom too was a believer in swimming lessons as a tiny baby--I think I was about 14 months, and my neice was in the pool at 6 months as well.

It can make such a difference

Deconstructing Jen said...

What a sad story. It's rare that a blog post makes me teary but this one certainly did. Thank you for sharing.

Michele said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. It sounds like you have made some peace with it and that makes me smile.

merc3069 said...

wow--as a swim instructor and a new mom, I can really appreciate this. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing.

Kelli said...

Wow, what an heart tugging story! Thank you for sharing with us and happy SITS day. I will definitely be back for more... you are an amazing woman!

Kandice said...

What a heart wrenching thing for your family to have gone through. Thank you for sharing your family's experience which will help other families as well.

Leah said...

I'm sorry that you went through this but thank you for your story.

DiPaola Momma said...

Goodness... This has been one of 'those' days for me. I've been sick and the kids have been taking full advantage of this. I just started following your blog this morning after finding you on SITS... WOW one of those the universe is bigger than us moments eh? This post reminded me to cherrish every moment because you never know how life can change. I'm sure Brennen is looking down and smiling that his big sis has such an impact on so many. Thank you for sharing!

MammaDucky said...

Sorry you had to go through that. I am extremely hesitant to let my inlaws keep my kids at their house as they refuse to put up any kind of fence or even lock the doors out to the pool. They always tell me it could never happen to them/us. Ignorance, says I.

Dari said...

I found your blog through SITS and I am so touched by this story. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your baby looks adorable at his swimming lessons! I also feel it is very important to have children start swimming lessons very young. Luckily where I live no one has pools at their homes so it isn't "as much" of a risk as it is in other places. But it is still a worry. I'm sure Brennen is an angel watching over you :)

angie said...

I have tears in my eyes. How terribly tragic for all of you.......and so preventable. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for all of you to lose him.......and then reconcile the feelings you must have felt towards babysitter. The thought that he was fished out with a net really kills me. Slays me really. Sending you and your family BIG hugs.

Suzanne said...

That is such a sad story. But amazing at the same time. You and your family are strong people. That little boy of yours will be amazing and fill those shoes, you just wait.

Tiffany said...

Wow. What a tragic story. I used to teach swimming lessons.... so important.

Kara said...

What an adorable picture...and thank you for having the courage to share such a touching story.

Becky said...

my heart broke a little for you and your family in this story. I am so sorry.
What a beautiful tribute to name your baby after him.