My Hero – CJ Hoffman 10.02.97 to 11.29.12 – RIP

This is unequivocally the hardest post I will ever write in my life. Some of you already know from being on my Facebook, but I felt it was time to let those not connected there to me know.

Last night, my son CJ, the reason I even have my career and the driving force behind my stroke walk efforts entered the hospital with Pneumonia. I booked a plane ticket minutes later to go to him, knowing full well it might be to say goodbye — but I got another call shortly after from his Dad…

CJ had lost his battle with Pneumonia. He drew his last breath – peacefully – at 9:45 PM. I received the call at 9:55 PM as I packed to head to Tampa to be with him. Less than 90 minutes after he entered the hospital and appeared “stable” as they said it. I then had to tell my other children the news that their brother had decided he’d had enough and that it was time to go to sleep, one last and final time.

This morning, I landed in Tampa – except that rather than see him, I spent the day booking his funeral arrangements and writing his obituary. No one should ever have to bury their child. I knew this day was coming. We always knew it was coming. I thought I was prepared for it. But no amount of preparation can ever truly prepare you for that moment – that single moment – when you realize THIS SHIT IS FUCKING REAL.

CJ was, is and always WILL BE my HERO.

The difference he has made in this world – from furthering stroke research, to being the driving force behind creating an organization that helped over five thousand families around the world, to helping to raise over twenty five thousand dollars to fight stroke with the AHA.

Without him, I wouldn’t have had this career and anyone I helped wouldn’t be in their situation either… he may not have been able to talk, walk or even recognize that I was his mom… but he made all the difference in the world in the fifteen years he spent on this earth.

CJ had a RIPPLE EFFECT that will NEVER be able to be measured or given true value.

His smile, his light, his courage – it will forever live on in the hearts of myself, his Dad, his siblings and everybody that has ever had the absolute pleasure to know what an innocent, courageous, happy, tough little man he was.

CJ’s memorial service will occur on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 starting at 5 PM at the Merritt Funeral Home in Spring Hill, FL.

Addendums

I wanted to update this post to thank several people. For all of my colleagues and friends who sent flowers to the service, please know that I appreciated it more than you will ever know. It went noticed by everyone in attendance and was an amazing tribute to how many people CJ had touched in his lifetime.

CJ's Service

I’d also like to thank BlueGlassX for holding a fundraiser for the AHA in CJ’s honor after learning why I had to cancel out of the show. The fundraiser raised over $9000 since CJ has passed. Thank you to every single person who made that happen and who contributed to showing that CJ’s legacy and impact on this world is far from over. The same goes for those who contributed almost $3000 during that same timeframe to my personal stroke walk page with the Houston AHA.

Outside of the priest, I was the only person who spoke at CJ’s service. I read two letters to him from two of my other children and then did his eulogy which I had written for him. My husband, Sean, suggested that I share the eulogy with the so many of you who showed your support for my son but weren’t able to attend. The eulogy is below.

Thank you again for showing what meaning he had on life. It will always mean the world to me.

CJ Hoffman’s Eulogy

On October 2, 1997 Chris and I were given one of the greatest gifts anyone could have ever been given – our son CJ. Two weeks later, our perfectly healthy baby boy had a massive bilateral stroke that damaged over 85% of his brain. The doctors told us he’d never walk, never talk, never smile – he’d never even know who we were.

The doctors weren’t completely right. CJ had a smile that lit up the room. He may not have known we were “Mom” or “Dad” so to speak, but he knew our voices and our faces. He knew we were the people that made whatever was wrong at the moment ok. CJ was our first child. We didn’t know how much easier it “should have been” – we simply knew he was our boy and that we loved him.

CJ is the absolute definition of a lot of words. Strength, innocence, light, determination, kindness, love, purity. But the one word I’d use to ultimately describe our son was courageous. He never “complained” throughout his life. He wasn’t an unhappy child. In fact, he did nothing but smile through most of his 15 years. Through the hospital visits. Through the seizures. Through the medications. Through every ailment. When Chris and I were feeling down or feeling like we’d had more than we could take – one look at our son’s smile – his pure courage – gave us the resolve we needed to be able to continue on.

On November 29, 2012, CJ made the first decision that he’s ever been able to make for himself in the 15 years he spent on this earth. The decision to let go. It’s not one to be sad over or one to be angry over. It’s simply one we have to respect and understand. Wherever it is that we go when we leave this earth, it’s a place where he undoubtedly has a hand better than the one he was dealt here.

He’s with his Grams and Grandad, Uncle Brian, Grandma Kay, his Great Aunt Susie and all of the other family that has gone before him. In fact, I’m sure the first words he uttered after finally being able to speak the words that had been trapped in his mind for so long were to tell my Aunt, who talked even more than me, to “Shut up Susan” with an approving nod from my Grams.

Most people may wonder what a child trapped inside his body could have possibly contributed to the world. But everyone in this room knows otherwise. Our son contributed more to society in his 15 years than most people will in a lifetime – myself included. CJ had a ripple effect on this world that will never truly be able to be measured or given an accurate value.

CJ’s life was the driving force behind the creation of the first national support group for parents and families of pediatric stroke survivors to ever register with the American Heart Association – a group that has helped over 5,000 families worldwide since it’s inception over a decade ago. He has appeared in national newspapers and national TV shows inspiring awareness and research for pediatric stroke.

His situation was responsible for me falling into my career. Without him, I never would have achieved what I have. Every person I’ve ever trained, motivated, helped, contributed to or helped to change the financial situation of only has him to thank for it.

His journey in life was responsible for over $40,000 dollars being contributed to the American Heart Association in honor of him – supporting pediatric stroke awareness, education, prevention and treatment that has no doubt benefited tens of thousands of children nationwide. In fact, his first and only decision he’s ever been able to make in his life spurred more than $12,000 dollars in donations to the AHA in this last week alone.

I’d like to thank Chris’s wife, Deborah, for treating my son like her own since coming into his life and seeing the same light that we’ve always seen in his life and smile. Her dedication to helping in his care took a special kind of person. CJ had a way of drawing that reaction from good people because he was a special kind of boy.

CJ gave everyone who ever knew him a deeper sense of appreciation for what they had in their lives and helped put into perspective what they felt they didn’t. He gave his siblings an understanding of compassion that few others in this world will ever hold. His life, his struggle, his courage – it was an inspiration to his entire family that will never be able to be replaced and one they will forever carry with them.

CJ’s ripple effect on this world is far from over. His life – however short it may have been – will continue to cause change. It will continue to help children nationwide. It will continue to inspire. It will continue to be a driving force helping to shape the world into a better place. We will continue to ensure his impact continues and his legacy lives on.

My son was, is and always will be my hero.

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

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Comments

  1. Ashley Coombe says:

    Rae,

    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers today. Thank you so much for all you’ve done. Thank you to CJ for the effect he’s had on the world. So very very sorry for your loss.

    Ashley

  2. Deepest sorrow for your loss.

  3. Prayers and hugs to you and your family Rae. I remember in those early years of “meeting” you how much of a driving force he was and how he helped push you to be the success you are wanted and needed to become. R.I.P. CJ

  4. So sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. You’ll be in our thoughts.

  5. Chris Countey says:

    I’m very, very sorry for your loss, Rae. Thanks for sharing his story with us.

  6. Words can’t express how sorry I am for you and your family. I am wishing you peace and serenity as you remember young CJ.

  7. Gerae Lindsey says:

    My prayers are with you Rae, I am so very sorry for your loss.

  8. Jon Delmendo says:

    Rae, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the hole left with CJ’s passing, and as a father to a mother, I wish you and your family my most heartfelt condolences.

  9. You and your family are in our thoughts Rae.

  10. It sounds like CJ taught you so much. About humility and compassion, selflessness, and the capacity of the human spirit. That’s your blessing in all this pain.

    A mom of 3, I’ve always been moved by your story. Right now I wish I could give you a long hug and will still more strength into your body and mind.

    I’m betting you were CJ’s hero, too. You’ll need to remember that in the days ahead.

    Godspeed.

  11. I am deeply sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family through this tough time.

  12. Brian Medina says:

    Sorry for your loss, please know all your friends from the DFW SEM is thinking about you!

  13. Patty Gale says:

    Oh, Rae… My heart, my prayers and my tears are with you. I am so, so very sorry. You are an amazing mom and your son was a beautiful young man who will never be forgotten. RIP CJ

  14. George Gabrelian says:

    Dear Rae,

    My sincerest condolences for your loss.

    George

  15. meleighsmith says:

    Oh Rae, I am so sorry for your loss. All of us here at EMS send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to you and your family. I greatly admire the recognition you give to your son for being your inspiration and your hero.

  16. Rae –
    I don’t know you except for online channels, but I just wanted to say that I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Deepest condolences.

  17. andrea "gareth jax" Scarpetta says:

    All my condolences Rae for your loss.

    Andrea

  18. So sorry to hear the news earlier today. Even before I was a dad, I admired what you did for your son and how tirelessly you worked to give him a great life. Now that I have two of my own, I can’t begin to imagine what you must be going through. All our love to you and your family.

  19. Oh no. I was so shocked to hear this. No one can ever be “prepared.” I am so terribly, terribly sorry.

  20. Annalisa Hilliard says:

    I can’t fathom your families journey, and extend my prayers to all the lives that CJ touched directly & indirectly.

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss, and can’t imagine what you’re going through. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  22. Been thinking about you all day.

  23. God Bless you and your family, so sorry for your loss.
    =(

  24. I am sorry for your loss.

  25. My heart is breaking for you. I wish there were some words I could say that would make it all better. Unfortunately, the best I can do is tell you that our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  26. My heart really breaks for you and your family, Rae. You’re all in my prayers.

  27. Rae, I can’t begin to imagine the grief you and your family are experiencing. My deepest condolences. Your love for your son and untiring efforts to promote awareness and research for infant stroke have been inspiring.

  28. So sorry for your loss Rae,Like you said, no parent should ever have to bury their child. Sending my thoughts to you and your family!

  29. Cindy Ballard says:

    So very sorry to hear, yes, no parent should ever have to bury their child. My deepest condolences.

  30. Becky Westmoreland aka JadedTLC says:

    I am so sorry. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  31. A time to be patient and sorry to hear the lost. Prayers for you and your family. Can’t imagine what situation you’d be going through.

  32. Deepest sympathies for your loss. I have no words that can help but I hope you are able to find whatever little comfort may be available and that you are with the people dearest to you.

  33. I’m so sorry to hear this, Rae. I hate to hear about the loss of a child — it’s the thing that scares me the most as a parent. But you loved him, fought for him, and were inspired by him, and he knew it … I’m sure of that.

  34. As a father, I am simply speachless with sorrow. May CJ rest in peace and your friends and family be there by your side to help you through this time.

  35. Been thinking about you all since I heard the news this morning. Cannot even begin to imagine the heartache you all are experiencing. I owe CJ a lot because if it wasn’t for him, I never would have met you in this industry & I wouldn’t have learned all that I have learned from you these last few years without him. If there is anything I can do for you and your family just let me know! I will continue to keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers!

  36. I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know you, but I do visit your site from time to time and enjoy it. I know you realize how he made such a difference in your life and was the driving force in your online career. Think of how those who have found you online and made a difference in the lifes too. God Bless

  37. Rae, please accept my deepest condolences. My prayers are with you and your family.

  38. Brian Meagher says:

    I’m deeply touched and moved by your post. My deepest sorrow and sympathies to you and your family at this most difficult time. Thank you for sharing this.

  39. Accept my condolences! There are no words that will give you and your family any comfort right now. All my thoughts go to you and the family.

  40. Tony Spencer says:

    I’ve been thinking of you and CJ all day today Rae. Very sorry to hear this and wish I could give you a hug.

  41. I’m sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and Sean. May CJ rest in peace.

  42. Olivier Amar says:

    You have my deepest condolences and sorrow on your loss Rae. Your efforts to help his cause will always be an inspiration. Be good..

  43. Alan Bleiweiss says:

    Rae,

    You, your entire family and especially CJ are in my heart and prayers today. Your willingness to share your story through the years has always been an inspiration, and I know that CJ will continue to positively impact lives long into the future…

  44. Matt McGee says:

    Praying for you and your family, Rae. So sorry.

  45. I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.

  46. So terribly sorry. Probably the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent. Our prayers are with you and his father.

  47. Dave Lawlor says:

    Rae -

    My deepest condolences to you and your family, you are all in our families prayers.

    Dave

  48. Todd Crawford says:

    So, so sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  49. Rae,

    I just finished reading your post, looked down to my daughter playing on the floor and realized there were tears running down my face. I can only imagine your loss, but you and the rest of your family will be in my prayers.

    Brian

  50. Rae, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your unrelenting fight for his cause and openness with which you share your story has been inspirational to me. You and your entire family are in my thoughts and I wish you strength and peace during this difficult time.

  51. My thoughts are with you….I feel so helpless as your not just up the road in Guelph anymore…but my prayers are with you and yours, Rae.

    My you grieve…then recover…and somehow recover and look ahead…

    Be well, Canuck girl>>>

    :-)

    Jim

  52. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain you and your family are enduring , but please know we are all thinking of you, and memories of CJ will provide strength, comfort and inspiration for years to come. Much love and peace to all of you.

  53. Tony Verre says:

    Rae,

    What a touching and incredible post for an amazing person. My thoughts, prayers, and strength go out to you and your family.

  54. As a parent, I simply can’t comprehend the enormity of this loss. Be well Rae.

  55. So sorry, Rae. Can’t begin to know what you’re going through :(

  56. Sympathies, love and prayers, Rae.

  57. Rae – my sincerest and heartfelt sympathies and condolences to you and your family on the passing CJ.

    May G-d bless his little soul and comfort you during this time.

  58. Simon Heseltine says:

    Sorry for your loss :(

  59. Rae,

    CJ is in a good place and he is telling everyone how lucky he was to have a mommy like you.

    Sorry about the loss you and your family have suffered and thanks for sharing it with us.

  60. My god Rae, it’s heartbreaking to hear this news. I can’t even begin to imagine how you and your family must be feeling right now. I know CJ’s life wasn’t an easy one and I’ve always been in awe of the strength you’ve shown in everything he inspired you to do, personally, professionally and charitably.

  61. Rae, I’m so sorry. Wishing you much strength.

  62. Oh shit Rae. I’m so very, very sorry. :’(

  63. Rae, I’m so sorry to hear this. My heart is with you and your family. Sending you lots of love and courage.

  64. Brendan O'Connell says:

    Rae,
    I am so sorry to hear about CJ. My families thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. CJ’s story has always been an inspiration – it will continue to be.

  65. I’m sorry to hear about your loss Rae. Thank you for taking the time to share a little of your son’s strength and courage with the rest of us.

  66. Melissa Mackey says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your son. We’ve never met, but I’ve followed CJ’s story for years. His legacy will live on in your work.

  67. Reuben Yau says:

    So sorry for your loss Rae. I cannot begin to understand what you’re going through. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  68. My heart goes out to you and your family. As a parent myself I cant even begin to comprehend the agony of losing your baby; I completely and unequivocally agree that burying a child must be the most awful thing that can happen to someone. I’m grateful for the difference he made during his short time here. May he rest peacefully and may you and your family find comfort in this time.

  69. Rae, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with CJ.

  70. I’m so sorry Rae :( I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  71. I am very sad for you, praying for peace for your family. :(

  72. Arienne Holland says:

    My heart aches for you and your family.

  73. My heart is traveling with you today my friend.

  74. I have no words, just prayers for you. So sorry Rae.

  75. Ash Nallawalla says:

    Rae, I read about CJ over the years and my thoughts are with you today. May he rest in peace.

  76. It’s just not right for a parent to have to bury one of their children. I’m sorry for your loss.

  77. Horia Neagu says:

    Hi, Rae,

    I usually find the right words for any sort of circumstance and indeed I am often referred to as something of a blabbermouth. However, right now I am at a loss for words. I can only offer my sincerest condolences, as well as my honest proclamations of confidence in your strength to overcome this most difficult of periods.

  78. Carrie Hill says:

    Rae,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Words escape me, I just can’t imagine.

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Carrie

  79. Dear Rae,
    I am feeling your sadness and wishing he had won the battle. My daughter had pneumonia a month ago for ten days… the first drug they put her on amoxicylin actually seemed to be feeding the pneumonia.. i took her off of it and we went to the emergency room the next night at midnight… I though I was gonna lose her… the doctor actually researched the infection and put her on something called cefanid… thus killed the pneumonia bacteria… I am writing you this because I feel there is a “type” of medicine they prescribe across the board for pneumonia, and that doesn’t work… I also gave her herbs to rebuild her lungs… this is so scary to me and I am so very deeply saddened for this love to be taken… there are many other things I would like to tell you, though I do not feel to blurt it out on your blog… Please email me.. and we can talk… My love to you and your Family… he is an angel now…you will meet his soul again…EK

  80. Rae,

    I can’t find the right words ( they probably don’t exist ) – Deeply sorry and my prayers are with you and your family

    Michael

  81. Thoughts and prayers to you now and during this incredibly difficult time, Rae.

  82. Rae,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family.

    Nichole

  83. Sorry for your loss Rae. I think it’s wonderful to hear about how much you loved CJ and how dedicated you were in your care for him.

    I hope his memory and positive effect on others will last for years.

  84. my heart goes out to you, Rae. I don’t you don’t know me, but if there’s anything I can do, please let me know.

  85. So sorry to hear about CJ. And for your loss. You’re in my prayers.

  86. Tom Schmitz says:

    Rae, I am so heartbroken. You, CJ, and your family are in my thoughts. – Tom

  87. So sorry to hear about your heartbreaking loss. The comments above are right, there simply aren’t words. Thoughts and prayers to you, your husband and family.

    Mike

  88. Scott Polk says:

    Rae – my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family …

  89. I am so, so sad and sorry.

  90. Rae: wishing you and your family comfort in your sorrow. Deepest condolences.

  91. So very sorry for your loss, Rae. It is a very hard thing and is a feeling indescribable. My heart, love and prayers go out to you and your family.

    May God’s Blessings, mercy, love and righteousness be upon you. In Jesus Name. Amen…

  92. Tricia Meyer says:

    Every time you would mention your son in person or online it was clear what an incredible mother you were to him. You went through things that most mothers could never even imagine. Through it all, you did what was right for him in every way that you could. Heaven gained an angel in CJ.

  93. Moved by your post… and give my condolences

    I am sure your son will be thankful that he had a mother like you, during his time on this Earth.

  94. My deepest condolences for your loss.

  95. So sorry for your loss. I didn’t know about your son until reading this post. I’m praying for you and your family.

  96. Milan Jara says:

    I am sorry..
    RIP CJ

  97. Such a moving post – thank you for sharing what CJ has done for the world. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  98. Respect.

  99. Extremely sorry to hear this… May his soul rest in peace.

  100. Gerald Ainomugisha says:

    My heart reaches out to you, your husband and CJ’s siblings. Condolences.

  101. Rae – So sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. Wishing you the best in this terrible time.

  102. Our hearts are broken with you Rae. <3

  103. I am extremely sorry for your loss. May you and your family have the strength in this difficult time.

  104. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. You and your Son are inspiration to us all.

  105. So, so sorry for your loss Rae.

  106. I cannot express how sorry I am. There are no words.

  107. Zak Nicola says:

    I am so sad to hear about your loss. I’m happy that he passed peacefully. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  108. Rae,

    It’s hard to know what to say when a loved one dies as words are of little consolation when your world is so suddenly changed.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family have my support if you need anything.

  109. Rae,
    Deepest sympathy to you and your family. I hope his memorial service brings healing and strength to you and his siblings and extended family as you gather together to remember his life and all he gave to each one of you.

  110. I’m so very sorry Rae. Please accept my condolences and prayers.

  111. Will Critchlow says:

    Rae, I’m so sorry.

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  112. Carl Sarfi says:

    My wife and I read your post this morning. We are very saddened by your loss. You are right that no parent should have to bury their own child. We pray for God’s peace over you and your family.

    Respectfully,

    Carl & Sonja Sarfi

  113. Rae, I’m so very sorry to hear this. There are no words. Thoughts and prayers from Arkansas. *hug*

  114. Jeff Libert says:

    May you always experience CJ’s presence in his “ripples”.

    Amen.

  115. Angel Djambazov says:

    Rae your loss is heart shattering. Your courage in sharing CJ and your family’s story has I’m sure inspired many others that they are not alone with their struggle. CJ indeed touched many lives. It’s a small token but I made a donation to the Stroke Walk to continue that good work. Wish there was more I could do to ease your pain. With much love my family’s thoughts are with you, CJ and your family.

  116. Sorry for your loss

  117. I’m so sorry Rae. I hope you find solace. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  118. “Without him, I wouldn’t have had this career and anyone I helped wouldn’t be in their situation either…”

    This is *very* true.

    Is there anyplace (besides the stroke walk that you do) that you would like donations made in his name? If so, please list a few organizations if possible.

    Again, sorry for your loss – you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  119. Bob Wilson says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family Rae.

  120. Rae, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll pray for CJ and for the rest of your family. Stay strong.

  121. wow all I can say is… sorry for your loss and stay strong!

  122. Paddy Moogan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Rae, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  123. Charles Bohannan says:

    Rae — I’ve always been moved by the story of you and your son, and how he was the source of your strength and inspiration and success. I am very, very sorry to hear that he’s no longer with you. Words can’t describe…

  124. Rae, I am so sorry for your loss. What an incredible mother you are and continue to be! Our family sends strength and love to you and your family.

  125. Hi Sugar Rae,
    I have two daughters and cannot imagine what you are going through. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Art

  126. Rae, there are no words I can say to comfort, as nothing really will, with exception of the love of your family. I am so deeply sorry for your loss and will have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. CJ was true a hero.

  127. When one loses a spouse through death they become a widow or widower, but there is no word in the English language to describe a parent who has lost a child.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  128. Rae, I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

  129. Kim Krause Berg says:

    Rae, every time I try to respond to this (on Facebook, etc.) I start to cry.
    I have no words here. I know he was a gift and chose you to be his mom, but none of that helps in the rawness of these moments. All I can manage to do is cry with you.

  130. I am so very sorry for your heart-wrenching loss. We’ve never met but I have heard of you through my SEO friends and I admire you very much. My prayers are with you.

  131. I have admired your work for so long. So sorry to hear about your loss. You are in my thoughts.

  132. Rae,

    Over the years, you have been my inspiration as a marketer and as a parent. I am sorry for your loss. I admired your fight, care and love for CJ. As a father, I couldn’t even imagine the pain you are going through. Stay strong.

  133. Shifra Goldmeier says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. As I told you when we met at affiliate summit- you were an inspiration – you continue to be…

  134. I’m very sorry for your loss Rae – Anna and I will be thinking of you.

  135. Rae -

    I’m incredibly sorry for your loss. As a father to 7 children, I couldn’t imagine losing one. Your family is in our prayers, for what it’s worth.

  136. Adeel Sami says:

    May his soul rest in peace, amen. Prayers for him and your family from Pakistan.

  137. Jeff Randall says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My prayers are with you.

  138. Tamar Weinberg says:

    Rae, I am so sorry for your loss.

  139. Mr. Mackin says:

    RIP > CJ
    The years of loving care that you and your family have given are an inspiration to us all !

  140. Strength to you and Sean – and am so incredibly saddened to hear our world doesn’t get to hold CJ any longer – heaven is a better place though.

  141. Deepest condolences from my family to yours, Rae.

  142. *hug*

  143. From the IP team, we are so very sorry for your loss. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

  144. I’m so sorry to hear the news, Rae. You & yours will be in our prayers.

  145. Peter Da Vanzo says:

    So sorry, Rae. There are no words. Peter.

  146. I’m very sorry for your loss. Though I’m often full of words, I don’t feel like any of them fit. Just know I care and that I’m sorry for your pain, happy for your bravery, and hopeful for the peace of you and your family.

  147. I’m so sorry for your loss, Rae.

  148. Rae,

    You and your family are in my prayers. As I hold my sleeping tot, I can’t even imagine how you must be feeling. It sounds like he was such a blessing and will continue to impact others in many ways. I pray for comfort for you and your family. Stay strong.

    Lina

  149. I shudder to think of the magnitude of your loss. CJ has been your hero, and your strength and achievement make you an inspiration to many of us.
    Deepest condolences.

  150. In your work you have reached out to help, guide and support so many people. To leave a comment here at this time seems such an insignificant thing to do, but having just read of your loss I’m moved to send my deepest sympathy to you and your family from an ocean and many time zones away. Your son has touched the World through you and improved the lives of many.

  151. I’ll be praying for your family for sure.

  152. My prayers go out to you and your family.

  153. Rae, my sincere and heartfelt condolences to you, his father, and his sibs.

    Knowing something like this is coming “some day” never seems to help anybody when it actually does, but I hope you can find solace in knowing that you did everything you could do and then a whole lot more, gave him everything you could give, and created as beautiful a life for him as you possibly could have created. And that your tireless efforts not only enriched his life, but that of many, many others as well.

    (Also, I know you’ll be strong for everyone right now, but don’t forget to be weak and let it all out when you have the space to… it’s been a long road.)

    Take care of yourself!

  154. Michael Bonfils says:

    Dear Rae,
    I am truly sorry for your loss, my condolences to you. Not that its the same, but losing my young nephew to a car accident a few years ago certainly makes me understand and appreciate every moment we have with our loved ones. I try to remind myself of this quote which is posted on my phone so I could see it everyday…
    “The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, ‘Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.’”
    May remembering CJ…also be a reminder, that we must all…no matter how bad a day it is…to enjoy every precious moment.
    Your fellow friend,
    Michael Bonfils

  155. Rest in peace, dear boy. You were loved so much!
    Rae, my deepest condolences to you and your family.

  156. So very sorry for your loss Rae….

  157. So sorry that this day has come. I can’t even imagine the pain you and your family are experiencing right now. But what an amazing legacy that your son gave to this world. Few people could touch thousands of lives in 90 years, much less 15. This world is a far better place because he was here, which will be a permanent testament to his life. May those memories of the difference his life made in the lives of others give you comfort through all the coming days.

  158. I’m so sorry for your loss Rae. I couldn’t imagine losing a child. You will be in our families thoughts.

  159. Rae-

    I’ve been chewing on what to say for a couple days now. “I’m so sorry” seems so inadequate. Although I am sorry. Very sorry.

    I know that we only see each other once a year, but please know that I’ve always admired your intelligence, your strength and what you’ve done for the industry. You have touched a countless number of lives because of CJ’s influence – and I’m sure you’ll touch many more.

    The initial grieving phase is such a hard, hard place. I’m thinking of you during this time. And if you need anything at all, I’m here. The entire industry has got your back.

    Take care of yourself the best you can….

  160. I am so very sorry for your loss Rae.
    CJ is free now but will always be near. Death cannot break the bonds of love.
    My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  161. Neil Desai says:

    I’m really sorry for your loss Rae.
    May CJ rest in peace.
    My deepest, heartfelt condolences to you and your family at this hard time.

  162. I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. The loss of a child should never be felt and I am sorry you have to experience this. The light he brought to your life, his siblings, dad, other family members, that will never go away and he will always be with you. I wish for peace for you and your family.

  163. Peter Becci says:

    My heart is sad for your loss. One should never be faced with your situation. Stay strong!

  164. Matt Siltala says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. My only joy in this is knowing he’s up there running around being a kid in heaven and getting to see how awesome his mom is.

  165. Rae so sorry to hear this. Thinking of you and your family.

  166. Rae, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family through this difficult time. I hope you find comfort in knowing all of the lives he has touched and will continue to touch long into the future. Your dedication to bringing change to research and awareness will forever have an impact on many.

  167. My condolences, we’re locking arms in a national chain for prayer. Sorry Rae.

  168. Rae, I have intermittently followed you for years. Serendipity brought me back tonight… To offer my love and prayers. I feel your heartbreak. So sorry for the loss of your sweet baby boy .
    – hugs, Kimberly
    Cypress, Texas.

  169. I am very sorry for your loss, Rae.

  170. Rae & family,

    I am truly sorry for your loss. You are an inspiration to all of us. You are one fantastic and strong woman. I know losing CJ is one of the hardest things you will d!! Keep up the good work.

    May God continue to bless you and you family.

    Joyce

  171. Very sorry to hear of your loss.

    May he rest in peace.

    God Bless you all.

  172. Rae,

    Your blog post took my breath away. I’m sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Ben Landers
    President
    Blue Corona

  173. My deepest condolences Rae and Chris.

  174. Rae,

    I’m absolutely floored. May the love for your son CJ carry you forward. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    TC

  175. Rae,

    You are an incredible woman. I deeply admire your strength and love.. so terribly sorry for your loss. I’m sure CJ’s watching down over you and your family & doing so, very, very proudly.

    B

  176. I just wanted to post a thank you to everyone who commented. I honestly didn’t have the internal energy to read through them all until today. I thank you all for showing how much his existence in this world mattered. <3

  177. I was traveling along to my Christmas destination and thought I would check out your site again for some inspiration. I found it. The story of CJ’s life is profound. He is a tribute to the precious nature of each life. How one so helpless managed to accomplish so much through you and others is truly amazing. Thank you for sharing CJ’s life with us.

  178. Hello Rae,

    I truly am sorry for your loss. At the same time, I am so happy that you and your family were willing to carry CJ in this world. It does me good to know there are people in this world who never give up. That is strong work.

    Our news creators never seem to tell all of the stories about the heroic parents of sick children. The abused make the news, not the adored.
    Is there a blog for such stories? It would be an everlasting memorial to those who leave us early.

    Hope the New Year is treating you well.
    All the best,
    -Ryan

  179. It was an honour to meet C.J. years ago. I’m sorry for your loss Rae and my thoughts are with you and your family.

  180. You have my deepest condolence, Rae. May God continue to heal you and your family.

  181. We once connected a while back. I have a 7 year old little boy with Down syndrome who is my hero too! After reading this…I can’t wait for him to get off the bus this afternoon, so that I can give him a big hug. I’ll be thinking about CJ.

    As a dad of a special needs child, I realize the challenges. However, I also realize that for some reason, we were blessed with Mattie. And everyday when I see his smile, I realize what that reason is.

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  182. I just received your email today, February 20, 2013. I can only say that I am deeply sorry for your loss of such a wonderful gift as CJ.

  183. Sorry to hear of your loss…a friend sent this to me when my
    Mom passed away. Thought of you..
    “May you know the peace and comfort
    This heartfelt thought imparts
    The ones we love are never gone
    They live within our hearts”.

  184. I have just taken your email as a subscriber of your website and noticed about your loss.
    As a mother too I feel deep sorry for your loss. I am sure CJ watch and feel pround of you.

  185. As a father I feel deep sorrow for your loss, and thank you for sharing all the love you had for your son in your post.

  186. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    I have a 1 year old son and couldn’t imagine suffering the loss you have. Thank you for sharing this post; I don’t know if I could ever actually write it if I were in your shoes. I’ve been reading your blog all morning and found this post; it’s gut-wrenching.

  187. Rae, I have not stopped by here in awhile. I “met” you a few years back, when I was actually paying more attention to SEO and spending time learning on some forums where SEO is discussed. I have always appreciated your input when people had questions.

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I admire you so much for what you made of a seemingly impossible situation.

    Lynn

  188. Tom Malcolm says:

    Rae,

    Peace to you.

    Tom

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