Grieving Dad's Heartbreaking Message Of Regret To Other Parents
A father has written a heartbreaking open letter to other parents after the death of his own son.
J.R. Storment was in a work meeting when his wife called to tell him their eight-year-old son had died.
Wiley, a twin to his brother Oliver, was found dead in his bed by his mother, Jessica Brandes, in August.
The death was unexpected and sudden.
In an open letter posted to his LinkedIn page, Storment details the regret he feels for the time spent away from his family prior to Wiley's death.
Titled 'It's later than you think', the letter calls on parents to spend time with their children.
"Hug your kids. Don’t work too late," Storment said.
"A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time."
Last year, Wiley had been diagnosed with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, a condition that usually goes away when a child hits their teenage years.
Storment and Brandes had only ever seen one confirmed seizure about nine months before Wiley died.
"All of the multiple pediatricians and neurologists with whom we discussed his condition said there was little to be concerned about," Storment said.
"He had the 'best' type of epilepsy and we should let it run his course."
But the parents were never warned about the condition that would take their son's life -- Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy.
SUDEP occurs in just one out of 4,500 children will epilepsy, and essentially shuts the brain down. There is no known cure.
In the weeks that have followed, Storment and Brandes have encountered a number of difficult moments. One of those was signing Wiley's death certificate.
"Seeing his name written on the top of it was hard. However, two fields further down the form crushed me," he said.
"The first said: 'Occupation: Never worked' and the next: 'Marital Status: Never married'. He wanted so badly to do both of those things."
Storment said his regrets can be divided into two groups -- the things he wished he had done differently as a father and the things Wiley never got to do.
"My wife is constantly reminding me of all the things he did do," Storment said.
He now has a different outlook on life as a father. Storment said one "silver lining" from the tragedy is the improving relationship he has with his other son, Oliver.
An example he gave, was Oliver asking for 'screen time', and instead of Storment answering his usual 'no', he asked to join his son.
"He was happily surprised by my answer and we connected in a way I would have formerly missed out on," he said.
Another lesson from his family's tragedy is "to stop waiting to do the things the kids ask for".
When Storment sold the family business months before, he gave each of the boys a $100. The twins decided to pool their money and wanted to buy a tent for the family.
Wiley died before they bought it.
"Another regret," Storment said.
The family has since bought a tent and have gone camping, and Wiley was looking down on them when they realised they didn't have cash to pay for the campground fee.
"Jessica then realised that Wiley’s $100 bill was still in his seat pocket," Storment said.
"He got to spend his money on camping after all."
In the wake of his son's tragic passing, Storment's message to parents is clear.
"I hope from this tragedy you consider how you prioritise your own time."