As much as I now hate Facebook, I will admit that there are times when it comes in handy when you need to get a message out to a lot of people at once. And sadly, that still applies even in times of tragedy.

My sister-in-law Michelle (her sister is married to my brother) is a wonderful, warm, funny person, who is also the loving grandmother to an 8-year-old boy, Tyler, who lives in rural Manitoba with his mother.

I found out yesterday that she had posted to Facebook on Wednesday, December 19th:

why… Why… WHY!!! 🤬

My grandson choked on a carrot at school yesterday morning and went into cardiac arrest, several times. He had 33 minutes of CPR performed on him in about an hour and a half because his heart kept stopping. He was air lifted to Winnipeg by STARS and is fighting very hard in PICU at Children’s Hospital. I’m trying to stay positive but tonight I’m so very very angry. This is not right.

Yesterday, she posted an update with a photo of Tyler:

Thank you everyone for your incredible support, kind words, and prayers during this sad and difficult time. Tyler’s MRI results have revealed that there is severe damage and swelling in his brain. Sadly he will not be able to recover from it. He is still on life support and is slowly slipping away from us in his own time. We had him for almost 9 years and every one of them was a wonderful life changing gift. My little buddy is leaving us but he will never be gone; he will live on in our hearts and our memories. Thank you Tyler for teaching me how to be brave, have hope, and for loving me unconditionally. For all the loved ones waiting for him on the other side, give him a kiss and tell him his Lola loves him! 💝

Tyler 1

Her family—our family—are reeling at this time. Tragedy can strike any family out of nowhere; there is no preparing for it. You just have to live through it, day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute as necessary. Michelle’s family is now gathering in Winnipeg from far and wide, and they are going to be facing some extremely difficult days ahead, as they make decisions no (grand)parent should ever have to make about a child. This is heartbreaking.

If you believe in God, please keep Michelle and her family in your prayers. If you don’t believe in God, then please do something concrete (and do it even if you are a person of faith): tell your family members how much you value and appreciate them. You never know when a tragedy like this could happen and rob you of an opportunity to mend fences, build bridges, say “I’m sorry”, or say “I love you”. Christmas is always a time for people to get in touch with relatives and friends they have not spoken to in a while. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: Michelle posted this message to Facebook:

Thank you Ryan for this beautiful blog post and to everyone who has kept us in your thoughts and prayers. Tyler passed away peacefully today at 12:28 pm. He will always be with us in our hearts and memories and for some very lucky people he will make a life changing difference by being an organ donor.