Wednesday, January 12, 2005



I launched this crazy Internet dialogue three months ago with a note that began, "life is funny sometimes." It became a stock joke for Maureen, who delighted in mocking my blog entries for being long on lessons, windy prose and allegories and short on vital information about Will.

Three months later, it's still true. Life is funny sometimes. It's also sometimes wonderful, unfair, joyous and tragic. Most of all, we've learned, life is a precious gift.

Today, it's sad. Will Henry Kurth, our beautiful boy and love of our lives, passed on today at 4:20 a.m. at Beaumont Hospital. Despite early hope after last week's surgery, Will quickly regressed. In his final days, Will's pain was so great and breathing so labored that nurses gave him morphine before touching him.

We're heartbroken. Our eyes are swollen from crying. Just when we think we can't sob anymore, more tears come. It seems so cruel that someone so pure and so loved would have to suffer like he did. We feel guilty Will could fill us with such happiness and pride, but our love couldn't ease his pain or help him overcome impossibly long odds.

Like all new parents, we thought Will was a miracle baby after his birth. After 89 days, we know he is. We're amazed and humbled that he's created this network of friends, literally from Washington to Maine, who are bonded only by their love for someone most never met.

It may be a good thing that you never laid eyes on Will. You might not have ever recovered. The kid was a charmer. Nurses from other parts of the vast NICU would make a point to visit Will and gaze at his deep blue eyes, stroke his long strawberry blond hair and ogle his curly eyelashes. A sensitive soul, Will loved music and seemed at peace when he was in our arms. Still, he was undoubtedly a Kurth and Feighan: Cross him at your peril. He'd turn bright red, lock his legs and extend his arms outward like a soccer referee screaming "GOOOOOAL!"

It's funny. Maureen and I were always certain we'd have smart, ugly kids. Will was nothing we ever expected, but so much more than we imagined.

We've always known, deep down, that Will wasn't long for this world. Our inital fear over having a child with disabilities soon gave way to concern for him and hope we could at least take him home. We can accept that it wasn't meant to be, but it still hurts.

We already miss Will a lot, but we're so happy he let us be his parents for three months. He taught us so much. We now know about unconditional love. We have an appreciation for the power, vitality and love of the disabled. We know that a lot of stuff we used to think is important really isn't. We learned about patience and savoring the moment. We learned we have amazing friends and family who have overwhelmed us with their love and generosity. We know how much we love being parents.

Most of all, we think, Will showed us how lucky we are to be alive. So we'll feel rotten for a while, but get back up again and do right by our son by trying to take each day as the great gift it is. That's the least we can do for Will.

So long, pal. We know you're in a better place with people who've always loved you and others who are just now falling under your spell.

Thank you, Will. We miss you.

Note: Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Kaul Funeral Home, 28433 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. A short service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. Your blog was an amazing tribute to the little guy.
Mary Owen

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except...thank you. Yes, you 3 have given us all a glimpse into unconditional love and appreciation for life. Will was a wonderful soul that will be missed.

My friend said to me today that in her culture, the soul just needs the right body to shine through. She said that it comforts her to know that when people die, the soul will reemerge in another body. I guess it is only a matter of time that we will meet him again. Thank you for the introduction.

All my love,

5:39 PM  
Blogger john schultz said...

Joel and Maureen --

Our prayers are with you both and Will Henry.
No words will ever express our sarrow that you feel. Deb and I are available if you ever wish spend some time and share your thoughts and stories.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Hedricks said...

Words cannot express how sorry we feel, yet how proud of all of you we are! You have proven what strong and loving people you are. You've made us laugh out loud, cry, and believe that there really are great people in this world. God bless you all.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry ..but as all the others who have left comments before and now....you have showed so much strenght and love that we will always remenber.
The lessons you and your son have shared with us all
cannot be measured for there is no end he will forever be in your heart and soul as he too will be for many of us an Angel who touched so many lives.
Kathy Greco

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Maureen and Joel, We have just gotten this sad news about Will and are crying with you. Thank you for sharing your time and journey with him with so many of us. Hope and Joe Brogunier

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Connecticut,

Please read John 14:1-4

Sue and Mingo

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen and Joel:
You are in our thoughts.
With love, all the Hefs

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:25 PM  
Blogger jeff eaton said...

Dear Parents---I have but words. It rips my guts out to hear your child is no longer. I lost my father when I was 9 years old and never got over it. I have grown spiritually and emotionally since and can honestly say that time will heal your wounds. However, there will be a substantial amount of scar tissue. I loved my father and I'm sure he loved me----so that being a given, a passing should be looked upon as simply at matter of transformation from one form of life to another. With the common thread being love and togetherness forever. I don't know God's plan for all of us. There is one. I sincerely believe there is a sense of humor somewhere?!?!? Is the joke on me???? I wonder sometimes. My faith is not of Jobs. Will Henry came because of his parents---for a purpose from a higher power. Reason---to make his parents love each other more strongly, reaffirm their commitment to one another, and bring children into this life. Will fulfilled his mission. I will miss him, however I'm selfish in wishing he were here now beside me. I can feel him and believe he will be always be guiding my thoughts with my father. I hope all of the bloggers will let Will know he has enlightened us all. I didn't know him first hand, but his story is a memorable one. Sometimes, we don't know what God's will is, beyond comprension but what happens--happens for a reason---a positive reason, love no matter how you slice it. I feel privledged to have even know about your son. I will speak to him and honor him in my nightly prayers. Finally, I've found strength in the fact that my father would want his family to continue happily through life----I believe Will would want you to continue and strive for the best possible life you can achieve. I raise a toast to the life of WILL HENRY KURTH. FOR HE IS A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW!!!

p.s. grieving is so personal---I find reflection in many places. I'm currently finding some catharsis and crying in music from a band called "Faster Pussycat" they are a "hair band" from the early nineties. Their song called "House of Pain" is helping me currently.
I love you. Jeffrey Eaton and family

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen and Joel I just heard the news about your son Will and I just want to express my deepest sympathy for you both and your families...he was truely lucky to have you both as his parents as were you to have him...
God Bless....Juliana Serafini and Family

12:45 PM  

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