Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How To Handle The Detailed Autopsy Results Of Your Child...

Today was definitely one of the more emotional days on my journey since losing Gavin.  I suppose the title I chose for this entry could be a bit misleading.  If you are looking for a "how to" or "tips on how to prepare yourself to look at your child's autopsy report" - I got nothing.

I feel so grateful (yes, I really do.  Still.) to have so many medical professionals that feel like "friends" at DuPont.  I wanted to see the autopsy report - but I really wanted someone to go over it with me and, hopefully, answer some questions.  Like my number one question:  


Dr. Gripp, Gavin's geneticist since he was an infant, met with me today in the hospital.  And what happened next I truly wasn't prepared for.

A tsunami of tears.  And they haven't stopped all day.

Every question I have doesn't have an answer.  Why did a febrile seizure cause him to go into cardiac arrest?  If he didn't have a seizure disorder, what could have caused that?  If all the tests for viruses, meningitis, infections came back negative - then what caused this?  Why, why, why???


Reading the details of the autopsy was devastating.  Dr. Gripp wondered why I wanted to see it - and said I was brave to even read it.  But, you know what?  Gavin and I have been through it all together - the good, the bad and the ugly - every single step of the way.  From the moment he was conceived.  I feel like I owed it to him to continue to know... to continue to see... to continue to ask questions and search for answers.  Why stop now?  It's not like I stopped being his Mom the moment he took his last breath. I just felt I owed it to him.

But I came home without the answers I was hoping for.

Part of me knew I wouldn't learn anything.  They had told me the autopsy was "inconclusive."  And most of me can comfort myself with my own romantic, positive, metaphysical thinking.  But sometimes it's nice to have plain and simple facts.  Sometimes it's wonderful when 1 + 1 = 2.

But that was never Gavin.

He was a mystery his entire life to everyone but God.  It is not a surprise that his death was a mystery, too.  I consider all of this more proof for my theory.  Gavin was a very special soul who came to Earth to teach and inspire... and then slip quietly back to Heaven until someone else needs his beautiful, wise old soul.
Like I said, my thinking comforts me.

But if you're wondering... I would still love to know why.

A very, very hard day, indeed.


  1. I don't think Gavin could be explained in any other way than what you have described. He was a very old soul who comes to teach and inspire & when his work is done, he goes home until he is needed again. I don't think anything has ever been more true. Peace be with you & your family :-) Love from NC

  2. I'm sorry Kate.

  3. Praying for continued love and peace and comfort for you all. What a difficult experience, that takes the words right out of my mouth and sends my heart straight into my throat. I'm so sorry Kate. You continue to inspire so many but I can only imagine that on most days, you wish you didn't have to.

    Gavin - you are permanently etched into my life.
    Thanks you for all that you have and continue to in showing us mere mortals what LOVE is.

  4. I'm so sorry you didn't get the answers you were looking for. My prayers are with you all. Prayers for peace for you, especially.

  5. Sending my prayers for peace and comfort. But I know what you want is to turn the clock back, and, barring that, at least to find answers.

    Many children have seizure reactions to injected medications, and those reactions often go unrecognized and unreported, because the reaction can occur days or even weeks later. I recently read something about aluminum in IV fluids being potentially harmful for at-risk pediatric patients. We also know that vaccines can and do cause seizure reactions. It's rare, but it's probably less rare in patients with other medical issues, particularly complicated medical issues.

    I know a couple who lost their child due to vaccine-induced seizure reaction--and they were assured over and over again by their doctors that the vaccines had nothing to do with it. And then they found out that that wasn't true. And their doctors weren't lying--they just didn't know that seizure reactions could happen several days after the vaccine.

    I wish I had a magic wand for you...

  6. I am so sorry that you didn't get any answers to your questions. (((hugs))) A couple of days ago, I commented to Anna Whitson Donaldson from AN INCH OF GRAY that i am always asking "why" and always saying "I don't understand how..." Thoughts and prayers for you.

  7. I received Zack's autopsy in the mail and cried as I read the details of him arriving with his blanket and Elmo. THAT was my son, not the details and measurements. I decided NOT to meet with the doctors to review it- the answers has no meaning to me. As you and I know, our lives were fighting for our boys- but I felt like picking at the details wasn't going to honour him the way I needed to, as his mom.

    Hardest day. Put the papers away and never look at them again.

  8. I'm so sorry there were no answers. Hugs.

  9. I am sorry Kate. I hope that tomorrow isn't as hard.

  10. I am so sorry Kate. I cannot imagine what you are going through. Your Gavin was a very special boy who touched many lives. You are in my prayers. Dianne

  11. Holding your heart tonight Kate. with so much love, Megan

  12. If you had an answer it would be wonderful but then you would have more questions. Why didn't I ..... Why didn't they......
    Gavin was so very very special becuase he made up the rules, he never let anyone know.

    I am so sorry. Sorry your heart will always wonder but even more I am sorry that you are going through this.

  13. Maybe it is okay that the autopsy couldn't tell you why - because if it had, you may not have shared your own beautiful explanation for "why."

    As much as I love the solidness of 1 + 1 = 2, and the simplicity of that fact, you've helped the world see that Gavin was so much more than that. In my world, love, learning and inspiration trump math any day.

    Sending positive thoughts your way.

  14. heartbreaking Kate, just heartbreaking. as an adult I requested my mother's autopsy so I could try and comfort myself with some details. (I was 7 when she died at 30 so had a lot of questions roaming around in my head still). reading it was heartbreaking.

    sending you some love today,

  15. Sometimes there are no answers shit just happens and it sucks.

    Praying for you and your whole family.

  16. You are so strong! It's so hard to read your blog, I love to read it because your family's journey is beautiful it's just that it makes my reality so real. It makes me face the facts and possibilities of my reality wher life can lead me with my special girl. Sometimes there are no answers and I am truly sorry for your heartache.

  17. I am sorry you are experiencing all of this Kate. I, too, wanted answers for the unexpected death of my Gavin. One of the hardest things for me to accept was that 'sometimes there simply isn't an answer.' That no one thing led to his death, and that it just was...a freak (though so much more common that we can imagine) occurence...

    Hugs and healing, Kate, and Brian, and Ed...

  18. http://metamurphius.blogspot.com/2013/06/at-ease.html?m=1.

    My autopsy experience with my son.

    Best to you and yours.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...