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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Errol Word Cloud

Wordle: Errol Take 2
Click on the image above to see the words from Errol's blog transformed into a word cloud! The more frequently a word is used, the larger it is in the word cloud.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

I stood behind Cary, jumping up, waving my arms, trying to get Owen's attention as he shared his big news, “Mama, I’m going to wake up early to wrap up your secret presents; the bowl and necklace, and then Daddy and me are making you a surprise French toast breakfast.” He gets it from me. I have a hard time waiting for big celebrations. And today was a big one: Cary’s first Mother’s Day since our beloved Errol died. We’ve been dreading it for some time, but that didn’t stop it from getting here.

Owen was true to his word and woke up especially early to fete his mother, because he knows even better than I do, what a great mother he and Errol have. Had it not been for Cary’s strength, energy, optimism, brilliance, hope, tenacity, and love, Errol would not have lived a third of his three and a half brilliant years.

For this diminished Mother's Day, we did many of the same things that we did last Mother’s Day, just without Errol. We rode bikes in the morning, Owen behind me, on the tandem, and Cary on her bike with an empty child’s seat – Errol’s seat – behind her. I’m glad Cary couldn’t see herself, but I know how much lighter her bike was, and that she felt every ounce of Errol’s missing weight.

We rode to a baseball field and the whistling wind began to bend the trees. We threw our frisbee around our little family triangle and then, as the wind built, we threw our Frisbee up, up, up, into the wind which sent it right back to us, again and again. Owen always says that Errol is the wind, and I wonder if he thought Errol came to give his mother a visit on her special day.

We tried to celebrate this bright windy day, but every time the trees would bend and sway, we all thought of Errol. I remembered Errol in loving arms, on his grandfather's boat, out on the shimmering water, the sun beating down, and Errol smiling and smiling, full of joy with the wind on his face.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Life Is Round

My favorite line in a Coen Brothers film comes from the scene in Raising Arizona where the escaped convict, Evelle, asks a grizzled old store clerk about some balloons he is thinking about purchasing, “These blow up into funny shapes and all?”

The grocer looks at his customer askance and replies, “Well no…unless round is funny.”

Errol thought round was funny, he thought his brother jumping on the bed was funny, leaves falling from the sky were funny, his three crazy doggies running around the house were always funny, chickens flapping the yard were even more funny, and snow was probably funniest. I remember rolling Errol out onto the porch his last winter, and pointing up at the big white flakes falling from the sky, and as sick as he felt, Errol looked right up at the snow, smiled, looked over at me, and then let out a little chuckle. For Errol, although his life was harder by far than any I have known, life was always round. After all, as Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”