It's sad to think that the best years of my life were lived when my son Daniel and my father were still alive, but I believe this to be true. Daniel was the youngest of our four biological children and very much enjoyed time with all of our family, our farm, and especially animals. While he was on the Earth, we rescued as many animals as we could and either found them homes, or kept the ones with ongoing issues ourselves throughout their lifespans. At first we had only dogs. Then later we rescued a few cats but found that we had to relocate those directly to new homes as Daniel was allergic to them. We also raised alpacas, and ducks and chickens.
In November of 2008, just after the death of my father, Daniel walked into the bathroom and collapsed. He had not been unwell in any way, and we intended to go Christmas shopping that morning. Despite CPR, two doses of epinephrine, the use of an AED by the deputy sheriffs, and top flight care from a fully staffed helicopter ICU which landed on the front yard of the farm, Daniel never took another breath. His heart never beat again, and he never awakened. He was briskly called to Heaven while the rest of the family stood dumbfounded.
The autopsy revealed a healthy young man of 12 1/2 with completely clean coronary arteries, and no discernible reason for a sudden unexplained death. Eventually, pathologists decided that the absence of anything structurally wrong meant that the problem had been functional and not structural. They believed that Daniel had endured a sudden heart rhythm disturbance or arrhythmia, and that his particular arrhythmia had been incompatible with continuing life. It did not comfort me to hear how many children and teens had collapsed and died on soccer fields, or playing baseball that year. My youngest son was gone.
In those early days, all I could do was continue to take care of the people he loved, and the animals who were so important to him while he was here. All of Daniel's animals were rescues, and these are their stories, and the stories of this farm.