Errol Milner Clifford 2006-2009

Errol Milner Clifford was born with a significant heart defect and a cognitive disability that prevented him from walking or talking. As we grieved the child we had anticipated, Errol’s full-bodied smile and irrepressible laugh turned our sorrow into joy, and taught us that many of the best things in life are unexpected. Inspired by Errol’s delightful spirit, friends, family, and neighbors rallied to support our family’s significant emotional, physical, and financial needs, through countless acts of selfless generosity. When Errol’s courageous heart finally failed him on December 23, 2009 we were left numb with grief. In these dark hours we listen hopefully for the echoes of Errol’s brilliant laugh. This blog is the story (starting from present and working back to Errol's birth) of the life and times of the amazing Errol Clifford.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


In a certain sense we all start dying as soon as we are born, but with the birth of our son, Errol Milner Clifford, death came to take him immediately.

The first sound a healthy newborn makes is a loud cry. From the moment of his delivery we waited for this sharp wail of life. It did not come. The midwife patted his back to force the cry. It did not come. The nurse suctioned his lungs. It did not come. The midwife gave him oxygen. The cry did not come.

Through our tears of joy and exhaustion and excitement we realized that something was wrong with our child. He would not cry. Something was keeping him from this world. Something was terribly wrong.

This was not the arrival we had anticipated. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but we had assumed that the prenatal yoga, vitamins, sobriety, child birthing classes, and good humor we kept would protect us from danger, fear, death, this.

After the heat lamp failed to increase his pulse rate and after the oxygen mask was unable to sustain his breathing we rushed to the hospital ten minutes away. Errol was fading from the new life he had just begun.

1 comment:

Marigene said...

Dear Jonathan,

The fact is that there are no guarantees. We hold on to our good habits and good karma and believe that good will come. And it does. But sometimes it comes in a different package than we thought we would get, different timing, just different. Rabbi Harold Kusher who wrote When Bad Things Happen to Good People wrote something that has stuck with me. And that is sometimes chaos happens. Sometimes things happen for no damn good reason. (His son had Progeria, an aging disease of the young.)

Makes sense to me.

Like Errol, if we can only live in the moment - being thankful for what is right in front of us to be thankful for.