After their young son dies, his parents discover a heartbreaking note he left for them.

The tragic loss of a child as a result of an accident, cancer, or another illness is a reality that many families must face. And bring some tissues because the story of 6-year-old Leland Shoemake is an emotional roller coaster.Leland Shoemake, 6, was your average Williamson, Georgia kid. His sunny disposition, sharp mind, and inventiveness left an indelible impression on everyone who met him.

“By the time he was a year old, he knew his abc’s, numbers, colors, shapes, and 20 sight words.” He was our little nerd, and we adored him for it. He enjoyed school and learning. “He loved the history channel, the weather channel, documentaries, and anything history,” his mother, Amber Shoemake, wrote on Facebook.Under different circumstances, Leland’s name would never have reached our ears, but fate had other plans for him.

Leland became ill unexpectedly in 2015 and was admitted to the hospital.His condition rapidly deteriorated, and it was soon determined that he had an amoebic brain infection caused by Balamuthia mandrillaris. It was unknown how Leland got the infection, but he could have picked it up while playing outside.”The one thing he loved the most was playing in the dirt,” Mrs Shoemake wrote on Facebook, adding:

“I never imagined it would be the thing that would take him away from me.” Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Leland at first and assumed he had meningitis. More testing, however, revealed that he had an amebic infection of the 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 mother explained on the family’s GoFundMe page.

Leland died on September 25, 2015, despite his best efforts.When his parents returned home from the hospital, where they had said their final goodbye to their precious child, they were overcome with emotion. Even as their hearts broke, the family’s attention was drawn to something on the coffee table. Leland had written a heartfelt note for his parents, carrying on his sweet tradition of sending them messages and photos.

‘Stil (sic) with you…’ read the note. Thank you very much, Mom and Dad… Love.’ He also drew a red heart with three words on it: mom, dad, and love. It’s difficult to imagine how much it meant to the bereaved parents and how much comfort it provided them during such a trying time. Leland’s note provided a bittersweet reminder of the love and connection they shared in the midst of their tragic loss.

“We have no idea when he wrote it, but you can tell he was always a special child,” said his mother. For your reading pleasure, we’ve excerpted extensively from The Leland Shoemake Foundation’s article: My name is Amber. This will be my last post on this site for a while.I was overly protective of Leland and did everything I could to keep him safe. Playing in the dirt was his favorite pastime. I never imagined that would be what would take him away from me.

He was my entire world. He gave me the role of mother. We worked so hard to get him. He was a premature baby who was born screaming and healthy. He was astute from the start. By the age of a year, he knew his ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, and 20 sight words. He was our little nerd, and we adored him for it. He enjoyed school and learning.

He was obsessed with the history channel, the weather channel, documentaries, and anything historical. He was fascinated by ships like the Titanic and historical events like WWII. He was flawless. Jaws was his favorite film. Steven Spielberg was his favorite director. Adam Sandler was his favorite actor. He adored his brother and his family. He was the life and soul of every party. His smile could light up the entire city. He was the smartest, most caring, and loving little boy ever.

He had the potential to achieve great things in this world. Without Leland, we would only have a few friends in this county. He knew no strangers and adored everyone. This was my only fear my entire life, and it came true. No child should ever have to be buried. I’ve always said that I hope I go first because I don’t think I’m strong enough to handle something like this.

It still doesn’t feel real. I find myself sitting here recalling things he would say and movie quotes he would recite. As in “check ya later” from a dazed and confused person. Or Jaws’ “you’re going to need a bigger boat.” Or all the million things Billy Madison used to say to him. He was the center of our family and the light of our lives.

I’m counting down the days until I can see his sweet face and hear his lovely voice again.This is the note we found on the table in the living room when Tim and I came home for the first time to get him clothes to be buried in. We don’t know when he wrote it, but it’s clear he was always a special child. We will always love you, Leland. Sleep tight and avoid being bitten by bed bugs!

Burying one’s own child is the most painful experience a parent can go through. Despite the immeasurable pain, we hope to continue sharing Leland’s story, ensuring he is never forgotten. Let us remember him as the great young man he was, and may his death serve as a wake-up call that we must seize the moment and appreciate every gift life has to offer.

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