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.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Errol was released on parole this afternoon, and he's slowly recovering from his category 5 virus. We think he'll be back at school by Wednesday, and able to compete in the 2008 Iditarod. Although it's rainy and windy and cold, life is good here on the outside. The routine of life is such a pleasure after even a relatively short hospital stay (Friday morning through Sunday afternoon). It's not that we aren't grateful for the health that the hospital restores to our boy, and the wonders of hospital "food", it's just that staying there is about as much fun as global warming. We'll see you in Alaska!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hospital Redux

Errol's back in the hospital. He's got a nasty stomach virus, one that most folks would bounce back from quickly, but that has laid little Earl low. Every malady is magnified for Errol. He's had two trips to the Emergency Department this week, and this second one has landed him in prison. Errol's first two hospital stints (no pun intended-think heart) were excruciating, but now that we know him so much better (his big laugh, his sweet smile, his proud hand waves, his flawless eye for mid-century modern design, his exuberant good humor), the fear is greater. We want him back. The doctors think he will be available tomorrow (Sunday). We are hoping for the best.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Waving to Errol

“Hi, Errol.” I say, and wave to him. He looks away. “Hi, Errol.” I raise the pitch higher. I wave to him again. Errol wiggles and looks perturbed. “Hi, Errol” Up on the i in hi and then back down to the l in Errol, like a roller coaster. He brightens and focuses on me. I wave harder, thumb to forefinger, exaggerating the motion, over and over again, inches from his eyes, my hand, like an alligator's jaw snapping shut. Errol is watching, wondering what’s up with Daddy. I repeat this waving four, five, twenty-seven times in a row and then suddenly Errol grins and balls his little hand into a fist and releases it, balls it back again, then releases it. Errol gets it! He has a hand, just like Daddy, and he can snap his fingers shut just like Daddy. And for some reason, Daddy is grinning like crazy and shouting something to Mama and his eyes are wet. Errol flaps his little fingers back at me, and I wave in response, all the while saying “Hi, Errol!” Louder and louder, and now we are both smiling, and Errol, slowly but surely, is learning to communicate.