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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Errol's new chair

Errol has a new chair! Hooray. His new chair gives him support and mobility, but most importantly, it gets great gas mileage. Errol's wonderful new ride has lots of cool features: rear defrost, surround sound, eject button; but the best function is a lever that lets us turn Errol around so that he faces us when we push him. He loves it and so do we. Here's a video of Errol in his sweet new ride. I think you'll see how much we all love it.

Acupuncture update
Since Errol's acupressure session on Monday, three separate people have commented on the remarkable progress Big Errol is making. None of these people knew about Errol's acupressure treatments, but they all agreed that he seemed dramatically more strong, well developed, active, liberal, and generally with it. It's hard to pin down exactly what's changed in Errol, but we feel that, the acupressure is at the heart of Errol's transformation. See for yourself.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Like most two and a half year olds, Errol has started seeing an acupuncturist. There’s not actually any puncture yet, just pressure, which is just fine with Errol.

It started like this. A few years before Errol was born, I threw my back out. As I writhed around in pain, a friend suggested acupuncture. After I stopped laughing, I told my friend that I didn’t believe in such quackery, and that I’d get better before long. A few weeks later, still unable to touch my knees, I decided that acupuncture (needles or not) sounded like a great idea. I stumbled into the acupuncturist’s office, and one-hour and one released qi (“chee”) later, I walked out of the office, on top of the clouds. An acupuntureholic. I don’t know how or why it worked, but those little needles worked their magic.

By age four, if children can’t sit up on their own, they generally won’t ever walk. Errol is two and a half, and he’s not sitting up. We’ve decided to help move things along. So a few weeks ago, Errol launched his maiden voyage to our friendly neighborhood acupuncturist, Sara Gerard.

Acupuncture worked for me, but I wasn’t sure if it would work for The Little Man. After all, lots of things that work for me don’t for him (and vice versa). I went with hope but also doubt in my heart. Sara spent a long time looking Errol over, holding him, and asking us questions. Her precision and compassion was reassuring, but could the Arts of the Orient really make our wee man better?

Sara slowly started to work up Errol’s legs, naming all the different meridians and systems as Errol kicked and squirmed in pleasure. Was she just making this all up? Had we lost our minds? Sure, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, but were those pressure points on his calves really connected to his liver yang?

I am a hard boiled materialist and skeptic, and I entered our session unconvinced, but as Sara worked, my skepticism dissipated, as I saw her effect on the little man (and, vicariously, on all of us). As her fingers danced up and around his spine, Errol stopped his happy thrashing and became serene and intensely focused. A certain magic enveloped the room and Errol seemed transfixed by the energy that was flowing into him through Sara. Energy is an amorphous and overused word, but since I don’t have more precise language to articulate what was happening, all I can say is that the room was full of a tremendous positive energy. In fact, while Sara was working up Errol’s spine towards his head, the hair on my arm stood up as my whole body started to buzz (sort of like in college). Whatever it was that happened had a profound effect on our emotional and Errol’s physical wellbeing for a number of days. In fact, over the next few days at school, a number of Errol’s entourage commented on how healthy and active The Little Professor was.

Errol had his second round of qi releasing and spirit cleansing, and it brought him right back to his stimulated and healthy self. And whether it is making a long-term difference in his life, Errol loves going to Sara, and so do we. All we want to do is speed Errol up and slow time down. Easy! Eighteen months to go. Acupuncture, here we come.