Parents mourning the loss of their six-year-old son discovered the boy had penned a heartbreaking goodbye letter.
After Leland Shoemake passed away from a rare brain infection, his parents, Tim and Amber, returned to their Pike County, Georgia home to select clothes for him to be buried in.
Entering the home for the first time since he had been hospitalized, they discovered a piece of paper with a note written in red marker on their living room table.
“Still with you,” read the handwritten note in red marker. “Thank you mom & dad.”
Below, Leland had drawn a red heart with the words “mom,” “dad” and “love” written inside. “Good day,” he added in purple marker.
“We have no idea when he wrote it but you can tell he was always a special child. We will love you forever Leland,” wrote Amber, who shared the photo and note on Facebook.
Little Leland was hospitalized after he contracted balamuthia mandrillaris, a rare and deadly amoebic infection, his mother said.
“I was over protective of Leland and tried my best to keep him safe. The one thing he loved most was playing in the dirt. I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me. He was my world. He made me a mother,” the heartbroken woman wrote, calling the boy that she and her husband had struggled to have “perfect.”
“He was smart from day one. He knew his abc's, numbers, colors, shapes and 20 sight words by the time he was a year old. He was our little nerd and we loved that about him. He loved school and loved to learn,” Amber noted, going on to detail his hobbies and interests. “He was the smartest, most caring, loving little boy there ever was. He was taken from us too soon.”
Leland lost his battle with the disease on September 25.
“Today sweet Leland went to be with the Lord. He fought so hard, but ultimately the sickness was too much for his body to handle,” read an update at the time on the Facebook page ‘Prayers for Leland.’
On Wednesday, Leland’s parents picked out their child’s headstone, his family wrote on the page.
“Reality still hasn't set in that he's not here with us. We miss him terribly. I'm not ready for this either. I'm not sure how I'm going to go on without him. How do you not only say goodbye to a child but your best friend.”
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