Dear Elena

Eight and a half years ago Kim and I were on a flight to China on our way to be introduced to our daughter Maggie Rose. We bought a notebook and started a journal that we hoped we could give her later to describe the process and to help her understand how she came into our world. Once we were handed this beautiful baby girl our attention was on her. How could we capture any of this in words. The journal sits somewhere with just a few short entries of people about to be parents.

Maggie made me a dad and Kim a mom. She taught us what forever means. We went from zero to 60 in the matter of a minute when she was placed in my arms.
What did Elena bring us? Everything. A year and a half after I first held Maggie, the doctor placed Elena in my hands. She was beautiful, bright, smart. I saw, selfishly perhaps, the two sides of my personality in my two children. Maggie is so much like my intellectual side. Dominated by reason searching for understanding. Elena was so much like my emotional love of life side. She greeted every day with cheer. She came up to my office when she first woke up for our morning hug.

As I write this I am unbelievably sad because she won’t be coming up to wrap her arms around me this morning. Yesterday she woke up, just a little over a week shy of her seventh birthday with a new gap where a tooth had been. She – we thought – had the stomach flu that is going around. She had just been at the doctor’s two days before so they could check out an ear infection and everything appeared to be fine. After being cleaned up from being sick she found the dollar under her pillow that the tooth fairyhad left. “Mom,” she said, “look at this dollar. It’s special. Where did the tooth fairy get such a special dollar.”

And that was Elena. She found wonder everywhere. She would pause with me to smell the fresh air in the morning and would say, “yep, sure smells like fall.”

Just before noon yesterday, I went downstairs to see if she needed anything. She asked for a little fizzy water and then threw up all that she had had in the past few hours. I took her upstairs and washed her off and put her in fresh pajamas. I threw the slip cover from the couch into the wash and set her back in front of the television. Kim came home from work early to take care of Elena. It’s not fun to be home sick – and Kim wanted her to be comfortable.

When I got home from picking Maggie up at school, Kim had me look at Elena. Her face had sort of a purplish look to it. She called the doctor and they said bring her in. Three blocks away Kim called 911 as Elena was unresponsive. She died in the ambulance and could not be revived at the hospital.

Elena was surrounded by her four grandparents in the hospital. Grandparents are not supposed to bury a beautiful six year old. Neither are parents.

I don’t know if I’ll keep this journal any longer than I kept the last one. I’m not sure who it’s for.

It just happened so fast.

Published in: on February 23, 2006 at 11:31 am  Comments (145)  

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  1. Dear Daniel and Kim,

    I can’t begin to say how devastating this news was and how unbelievably sorry I am for all that you must be going through. I won’t even try to put my thoughts into words. They are just a huge mixture of grief and sorrow.

    These words you wrote about Elena were very touching and I cannot read them without tears flowing.


  2. Oh Daniel…Please keep writing through your grief. I know you and I know that communicating is your therapy!

    You and Kim are so devoted to family and especially your girls; I find myself deeply moved to think of you awash in the sea of emotions through which you must be traveling. As your friend I’m longing to find some way to support you three…from 1000 miles away…feels pretty ineffective to say, but please believe I’m holding you in my heart right now and praying for the joy that is Elena in your lives to keep shining through as you traverse this darkness.

    When I lost my beloved father, people kept telling me it would get better over time. I was cynical that it would ever get better because I couldn’t feel him in my life anymore. I have learned in the last five years that love persists even after death, but you have to keep it alive by continuing to love…

  3. Dan, I’m so sorry to hear this. Words can’t express how heartbroken I am, and I can only imagine that yours is tenfold. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Oh Dan — what you must be feeling is unimaginable to me. I’m so sorry… I’m not sure I have ever known a prouder dad than you–the guy who whips out the photos of his kids at any opportunity… in a refreshing, old-fashioned way the world could use more of. In her short years, Elena knew so much joy and love. I’m thinking of you all.

  5. Daniel, Nancy broke the news to O’Reilly OPG this morning. Everyone wants to reach out to your family and support you in the best way possible. Let us know if we can do anything to help. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  6. Dearest Daniel,
    Your beautiful words and your amazing ability to see even an ounce of positivity in such an unimaginable tragedy is testament to the fact that Elena and all that she embodied is very much alive with you now and will be forever. My deepest condolencenses to you, Kim, and Maggie. Much strength, healing, love, and light to you all.

  7. Dear Daniel,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. My thoughts are prayers are with you.

  8. I can’t express what a profound shock this is, except to say that I looked at Keagan and Quinn a lot differently this morning, and gave them each a kiss at breakfast, just glad to have at least another day together with them.

  9. Dear Dan and Kim,

    I honestly don’t know what to say other than I’m so sorry for you both, and especially Maggie. Dan and I recently bunked together in a hotel in San Francisco for Macworld, and I know from talking with Dan how much he loves his girls. He would talk endlessly about Elena and Maggie, and how they’d call me “Two-Buck Chuck”….and all I can find in my heart today is sadness and the extreme desire to hug you all right now.

    Please know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers, and that if there is ANYTHING you need, please don’t hesitate to call, email, or IM me.

    Much love to you all,


  10. Dear Daniel,

    I just don’t know where to start. I’ve just read your Dear Elena post and the world has just stopped. At least my world has. There are so many things to say that just get stuck at the memory of walking down Hawthorne Street with Maggie and Elena after getting ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s. Or the memory of that look Elena would give me for whatever reason she had. Or of getting woken up at the crack of dawn at your house because it was time to make breakfast, silly. Or the first time I saw her and took her, along with the rest of your family, out to the Pacific Ocean so that they girls could play.

    Or the way I always used to call Elena “Maggie and Maggie “Elena” and how she would react to it. Sometimes with amusement, sometimes with annoyance, always with her hands on her hips in that “Can’t you get it right” pose. I did it so many times that I couldn’t help myself. It became automatic.

    I just can’t believe she won’t sass me one more time.

    As for you, my friend, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I can do, but if you think of anything, just name it.

    To you and Kim and Maggie and Elena, I love you all. I’m shedding tears in Portland for you.

  11. May God bless you. I don’t know how to tell you how sad your loss makes me and how happy your outlook on it does.

    “The unbearable lightness of being” is all I can think.

    Bill Mill

  12. Dear Daniel,

    I’m utterly at a loss to express just how much I feel for you, Kim, Maggie, and the rest of your family and friends. My little family and I will be taking some time out to send our warmest thoughts to you and yours.

    Word spreads so fast that you can be sure that everyone you now, everyone Elena touched is feeling for and thinking about you right now as they pass this terrible news on to each other through IM, mail, etc.

    If there’s anything at all we can do, please don’t hesitate.

    All our love.


  13. My deepest condolences on your loss. Although I don’t know you or your family, as a parent I share the feeling of wonder that comes from that first glimpse a child gets of how marvelous, and hard to fathom, our world is, and I hope you can eventually take solace from the strength and depth of the love that your daughter obviously shared with all around her.

  14. Dear Kim, Daniel and Maggie,
    We are just devastated by this heartbreaking news. We were so looking forward to seeing you guys and celebrating Elena’s birthday party in the Dells . . . amd then your e-mail arrived. We are thinking so much about you and our honorary little “Shen” sister Elena. I’m so sorry.
    All our love,
    Colleen and Emily
    Minneapolis, MN

  15. Dan, I can’t even imagine what you must be going through right now, and my heart goes out to you.

    You have all my thoughts during this time. I’m amazed that you’ve found the strength for such a touching and moving memorial to your daughter so quickly.

    With all my sympathy,

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can identify with what you are feeling…. We lost our 12 year old daughter 5 years ago. I wish I can say that the pain goes away, but it does not. The only thing I can say is that the memories that you have cannot be taken away & it’s those memories that will get you through this terrible time. Also, our faith in the Bible based hope that we will see our daughter again in a beautiful paradise earth has been a great comfort to us. Also, please make sure that you & your significant other continue to comminicate. People grieve in different stages & sometime that can cause stress. I know that it did for my wife & I.

    with much sympathy,

  17. Dan, Kim & Maggie –

    I’m so very sorry to hear the news; it was hard enough when my dad died, losing a kid must be even worse. My dad is still with me, I’m sure so will Elena.

    – eduard/o pelegri-llopart
    Menlo Park, CA

  18. Daniel, thanks so much for sharing your heart with us. You have moved so many people to be more open, loving, and patient.

    When I got your e-mail, I immediately remembered the note you sent recently about taking your daughters to the Girl Scout father-daughter dance. “It’s what we live for,” you wrote. I can’t think of any better goal than that.

    My 10-year-old son is home from school this week, and just wandered in. I read him “Dear Elena” and then he climbed onto my lap, took the mouse, and slowly scrolled down the page so we could read the comments together. We had a long, tearful hug after that, and talked about what we could do to make the most of our time here on Earth. I told him that the moments I remember most are just the spontaneous ones that bring us together, like climbing the fence to kick a soccer ball around the big field next door.

    Keep dancing. My heart is with you.

    Your friend,


  19. After having met Elena and knowing what an outgoing and enjoyable child she is, I just can’t describe how I feel today. This is probably the fifth time I tried to write something, and I break down in tears each time I do it.

    Sandy, Julia, and I all send our condolences. As I said in email, let us know if you need anything.

  20. As the father of a just-turned-8-year old girl, hearing this news brought tears to my eyes, and I never even met Elena.

  21. […] , on a parent’s worst nightmare: “Grandparents are not supposed to bury a beautiful six year old. Neither are parents… It just happened so fast.” […]

  22. Daniel –

    I cannot imagine the pain that you and Kim must be in with the lost of your wonderful daughter, and the separate pain of Maggie, her much-loved big sister. The eloquence of your words reflect the love you all shared in the beauty and joy of being a family.

    I am so very very sorry for your loss. Please let Steven or I know if there is anything at all that we can do for you.


  23. Daniel, Kim and Maggie,

    Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you! I just do not know what else to write, expect that I am so sorry. If we can do ANYTHING please just say it, you know that!
    we love you!

    Jodelle and Bill

  24. Dear Daniel, Kim and Maggie,
    We were lucky to meet Elena at Ethan and Rona’s wedding. How she made all of us laugh as she sprinkled flower petals walking down the aisle. So sweet, so cheerful.
    We are so so saddened by your loss.
    Our hearts and thoughts are with you,
    Maya and Yoav.

  25. I’m so very sorry to hear about this! I will be praying for you and your family. This article caught my eye because my sister is getting a daughter from Gautemaula named Elena. I am very sad to hear about what sounds like a magnificent little girl.

    Now all that can be done is to think of ALL the Good Things you had with Elena! Cherish those memories of her! It sounds like you loved her so much!

  26. Daniel, Kim,

    You had so beautiful words to share with all of us in this terrible moment, and there’s nothing that can be said to ease the pain you’re going through…

    Our prayers are for both of you and Maggie, but specially for Elena. That you can find some confort in the happy memories and in the knowledge that she is in God’s arms.

    With all our love,
    Bruno and Karina
    Juliana and Ariel

  27. My deepest condolences on your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  28. Daniel,

    Words cannot express… know the rest. I am so sorry.

  29. Dear Dan & Kim,
    I just wanted express my condolences to you for your loss, hopes you somehow are comforted even if merely a mite, by the many messages in response to your writes about Elena’s untimely passing . I had to compose myself as I was very moved to tears by your tragedy ( as others have said please continue to write ) I was pointed to your tragic loss by Doc/s blog. Timely that today someone had posted a condolence comment on a flickr photo, for our loss close to five years ago for our son Quinn who lived only 16 hours and 40 minutes. Thankfully Quinn was a twin who has a living sister our daughter Karrina. Sorrow co mingles with joy surrounding her birthday as it is also the day of her twin’s death, one tempers the other, we were told both would “not make it” we were lucky I guess. I am at a loss to think of Kiki passing like your ELena, a year from now. Any loss of a child short circuits the mind and wrenches the heart as it seems so out of order . Like an earlier poster herein the pain never really goes away fully but is nearby, seemingly we are numb when we are going through it, as if “IT just cannot be”.

    So I read a poster on flickr say they were sorry for my loss , then I came here to read your post and I, I am sorry for your loss. I do not know how you will handle the burial, we had our son creamated and some of his ashes were buried, planted with a beautiful tree, a hydrangea tree that blossoms each late summer. We had a ceremony in the yard with the minister who married us, my twin , my half brother, the minister, my wife and I . Around the the tree, we were distraught but the minister’s words, the action of planting and the thought that the tree and Kiki can grow up together comforted us.

    I really hope you find the consolation in all the many differing expressions of condolence.

    We are truly sorry for your loss.

    Chris, Magda & Kiki

  30. Children who die are not really gone,
    But go to a place that is something like home,
    Where they sleep the deep sleep, as quiet as stone,
    Until we can join them when our lives are done.

    Children who die are not really dead,
    But just like good children tucked into bed,
    Wait the long wait while we go ahead
    Till our tales are all told and our tears are all shed.

    Children who die feel no pleasure or pain
    In the place where they wait till they see us again,
    And all of us dance in a world washed with rain
    Where the sun shines so brightly no sorrows remain.

    — Turlough O’Carolan

  31. Dear Daniel and Kim,

    We don’t know each other, but I am so heartbroken for your family over the loss of your wonderful little girl. Things seem to spiral so out of control sometimes and there really aren’t any words that can bring the world back into alignment. I lost my 22-year-old brother three weeks ago today, very suddenly and unexpectedly… and my family are also searching for peace and for answers.

    Something my father said shortly before or after my brother passed away comes to mind. He said, if we’d known when he was born that we would only have him for 22 years, we wouldn’t have done it any differently. And as tragic as it is for you to have lost your Elena so incredibly young, I am glad you had her to love for the time you did.

    Our physical lives on Earth are short. But the relationships we form and the love we feel are eternal. Elena will always be with you. …Please take care.


  32. We don’t know each other though I’ve read your articles.
    Your story broke my heart. I don’t have the words to express but can only guess with horror how I would feel if I lost one of mine. No words are enough.

    You have my deepest sympathy.

  33. February Ain’t Short Enough

    If you read this blog, you know that Tom’s been pretty darn sick recently. Thankfully, he’s on the mend. The first time I mentioned Tom’s illness online was to a mailing list, in response to an email from someone who…

  34. Please accept my condolences for your loss.

  35. Daniel-

    I heard about your loss this morning from Nancy. I don’t even know what to say. Please know that you and your family have been in my thoughts all day.

    // Jay

  36. Dear Daniel,

    I only met you briefly in San Francisco with Flip Russell, but believe or not, you struck me so much as a loving father. When I heard your story in that restaurant, I told myself, “How lucky the little Chinese girl is to have such parents! And how lucky these parents are to be given with Elina, and rightfully so!” After you showed me the girls’ photos and talked about their personality, I was too touched to make any comments…

    Your blog once again shows me how to be a parent in the future and how to treat those I love…Thank you!!

    Elina had enjoyed a perfect life and she is in heaven now.

    You, Kim and Maggie Rose will be my prayer.

  37. daniel, kim, maggie … and elina.

    i am profoundly saddened by this news.

    on the other hand, i am, as always, amazed by your story telling fortitude … truly deep and personal. in a word … reality as it is, for better or worse … it just … is.

    our thoughts are with you and yours.

    james, tammy, trey and autumn todd

  38. Dear Daniel and Kim,

    News travels swiftly on the Oberlin grapevine. Sally and Jim Olson arrived at our home in Salt Lake City this weekend for a little skiing and visiting time. Sarah is staying with a dear friend newly moved to Park City. Amy and Miriam are hitting it off beautifully here.

    My husband, Markus, learned the horrible news of Elena’s death yesterday evening on the phone with Jim, when he intended to finalize plans for the weekend.

    So, he told me the news when I arrived home from choir. Oh, I thought, that must be the message I have from Ethan, unopened in my email inbox.

    Knowing all that I know about the place you are now in, I still want to say that I struggle to imagine the jolt, the pain, the trauma you must be experiencing. I don’t know if what I have to offer is helpful to you, but please know that we are here any time, in the short run and the long run, for random questions. We would like to help if we can. Call us. 801.583.3420.

    From reading your Blog this evening, I have a few thoughts I’ll share.

    -Consider celebrating Elena’s birthday as planned. We have had one birthday party so far for Simon. He died three months after turning seven, so we had nine months before his birthday came again. We had a party with his friends at our house. The clown-entertainer, who had performed at Simon’s celebration of life party a month before his death, ended his act by creating a balloon sculpture for the birthday boy. It was the first time, he said, that he was doing this for a child who was no longer living and not present at the party. It felt right to all of us. In your case, with her death so close to her birthday, it might not be the right idea for this year. I just thought I’d toss that out. It may be helpful for Elena’s peers and Maggie, too?

    -Stay open to the idea of keeping up your Blog. I have been journaling online since Simon got sick in 2002, and I still write there 18 months after his death. I find it very helpful.

    -Accept help that is coming your way. Food is good. Playdates for Maggie are good. Massage is good. Other people handling tasks like writing notes in your behalf is good. Etc. I imagine you are surrounded by people who care deeply for you, and they will want to find ways to ease your burden.

    From all descriptions, it sounds as though life with Elena was magical. I am so sorry to welcome you to the nightmare that does not go away when you wake up. Your memories of her preciousness and the love you demonstrated daily will carry you along.

    We are clustered here in Salt Lake City, my family and Sally’s, and we are all thinking of you with heavy abd hopeful hearts.



  39. News travel fast on this small planet. Reading your story made me cry at my workplace in Singapore. I’m so sorry for your loss. It is like a wakeup call for all of us to cherish the moment we can share with the ones we love. We take them for granted but they could be gone any time.
    Elena will be the angel ambassador of parents love.


  40. […] My heart goes out to Dan and Kim. Hard to sit and type with tears in your eyes.   […]

  41. […] love your children , love and courage >>> loss of continuity & dear elena […]

  42. I stumbled across your blog through an entry in Glenn Vanderburgs blog.
    I don’t know you, but I wish I did.

    Thank you so much for your writing!
    You touched me deep inside and I’m very glad you did!

    Your writing is earth shaking!
    And even though that may sound very strange, in a way it is also very beautiful to me!

    I know you are the best parents Elena could have had!
    I try to live up to your role model with my little girl.

    My heart is with you!

  43. sit here – cry – no words.
    I mourn with you.

    See the light!

  44. I am so moved by, and so sorry for, your loss, and yet inspired by your strength. As I sit here before 5 am, obsessing about work just minutes ago, all I want to do now is go wake up my children and hug them in that crazy way that parents do when the reality of possibly losing them intrudes.

    My best wishes to you during this trying time.

  45. Angst

    Selbst wenn man weiss, dass es passieren kann: Es macht einen zutiefst betroffen und schrt immer wieder die Angst, es selbst zu erleben. Und das will man wirklich nicht.

    Ein Alptraum fr alle Eltern.

  46. My deepest symphathy.

  47. Just yesterday, Kathy S. turned me on to the work you’re doing on HF Calc… I was instantly hooked– by you, by your project, and by the mention of your daughters in your blog. I remember chuckling as I read about Maggie’s approval and Elena’s enjoyment of the pictures. And today….

    There’s no explanation that makes this better for you. But know that in her life you had a great daughter, and she had a great dad.

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  48. Daniel, Kim & Maggie,
    I can’t stop crying long enough to call, and I don’t know what to say other than I ache for you. Kim, I need to help you somehow, whether it’s beating off news people, or taking you out for that coffee we keep talking about getting. Let me help. Cook, clean ,run errands, anything at all. Sierra is heartbroken for you and she can’t stop thinking about Maggie. We just want to help somehow.
    Sending all my Love with Great Sadness,
    Jennifer Robinson & Family

  49. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    I pray that you find God’s comfort in this. Your posts about your family are so beautiful. In this cynical world, it’s so rare to find someone who loves their family so much.

    God bless,


  50. Dan, we’ve only crossed paths a few times, but I wanted to express my sadness for you and your familiy and my appreciation for this weblog. Even if you don’t keep writing it. I can’t understand or imagine what you’re going through, but your perspective here is valuable to anyone who might stumble across it. It takes a lot of courage to work through something like this publicly.

    Take care,

  51. This is so unbelievably touching and breaks my heart. As the mother of a 6 year old son, I am crying right now for the pain you and your family are going through. You are in my prayers. May God give you the peace you need to continue.
    – Brandi
    Mountain Brook, AL

  52. My time with Gee has taught me that every moment you get to spend with someone you love is precious. Too many take these moments for granted, and only realize what they are missing once it is too late. My heart goes out to you, Kim and Maggie. Keep writing, as the writing will help—I know as it has helped me through the loss of my wife Gee. Be well, and may time find you the healing and peace you desire.

    Dan Kim

    Yet we get to know her, love her and be loved by her…
    how privileged are we… read more about Gee at

  53. I don’t know you. I just stumbled across your blog via Kathy Sierra. I also have a daughter with a giant personality named Elena. I love her so much. Now I can’t help but think of you and your family when I look at my own. Dan, you have put so much into perspective. Thank you.

  54. I am so sorry, Daniel. I wish there was something I could do. Reading what happened makes me feel so helpless – I can only imagine how you must feel.

    With many hugs, in heart and mind,

  55. Daniel … I’m so sorry. As a new father, I feel your loss deeply. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  56. My little Clara is only eighteen months old. After reading your post I can’t stop thinking about her, or about Elena.

    My thoughts are with you.

    – Mark

  57. Daniel and Kim. I don’t know you. But your story has seriously messed me up inside. Keep on writing about Elena, bring the memories to life, and don’t block the grieving process. May God bless you with tears of joy as well as sadness.

  58. Hi Daniel,
    I don’t know you, I just got the link from Raible’s website.

    Still, my heart is broken. I told my 7 year old girl last night how special she is to me. I wouldn’t have thought to say a word were it not for you advice. So thanks for that.

    It’s a sign that you have the power to take something so tragic that happened to someone so special, and do something special for the world in her memory.

  59. Daniel, Kim and Maggie,

    I have written and re-written this several times, but can’t find the words that seem appropriate. I reached your blog via another and it has touched me deeply.

    My daughter, Ellen, is six. She is at Dance class this evening, a normal Friday night – and when she gets in she will get the biggest hug of her short life so far.


  60. Daniel,

    I am so sorry to read this. I have two little girls myself and I can not begin to imagine what you and your family are going through. The only condolense that I have is that your wonderful little girl is still positively affecting this world, even after she has left it.

    We will be thinking and praying for you and your family,

  61. I have two kids, 6 and 8 years old. They are so fragile, and still we think they’ll live forever. It suddenly got so much colder over here in Stockholm, Sweden.

  62. I’m so terribly sad to hear this news, Daniel. I, too, have two young girls and my world revolves around them and the things they teach me every day. Words cannot express what you, Kim and Maggie must be going through. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Bruce Snyder

  63. I cannot begin to fathom on any level what it must be like to lose a child of any age. Can I just say that in my own way I feel your loss so deeply. My son’s are 29 and 26 and when I heard the heartbreaking news, I got on the phone to England and told them how much I loved them.

    Elena will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who loved her so much. That can never be taken away.

    My thoughts and my prayers are with you.


  64. Well I could tell you after watching someone go so slowly, “Its a blessing that it went so fast.”

    But, fuck that, its NEVER a blessing.

    I could say “That’s life, without the lows, there are no highs.”

    Fuck that, too.

    I’m glad you said “it does not matter what you say.” I’m glad you said “thank you.”

    What do I want to say? Can I give any words of wisdom?

    Fuck getting over it.
    Fuck dwelling on it.
    Fuck moving on.
    Fuck believing that there is a reason for everything.
    Fuck giving up.
    Fuck fair and any sense we ever thought that things should be fair.
    Fuck time for helping the hurt go away, because as more passes, the further away she is carried.

    Dan, I don’t know you from Adam, but I am SORRY.

    And fuck THAT for not being enough.



  65. Dear Daniel,

    I didn’t quite know how to respond after the last comment posted by Shaded, but felt urged to offer my prayers for you and Kim.

    I’m certain that no one understands what you two are going through, however there is a God you both share who does–one whom only you can approach in the brokenness of your loss. I hope you will find much needed rest in Him as your hearts mend.

    Your story came through posts from those who love you,

  66. You write with very kind words. Be strong.

    Love from Canada,


  67. Daniel,

    We’ve only met once at ApacheCon ’05, but that made it all the harder to read your first message. I think every parent suffers with you. I hope sharing your grief helps you on the long road ahead.

    warmly, WILL

  68. Daniel, Kim, Maggie and Elena,

    I LOVE YOU more than words can express

  69. Dan, Kim and Maggie — We love you — We cannot imagine what you must be feeling. I called Jennie Rose to tell her and we both just cried for a while. We have no words. We talked about when Kim was pregnant with Elena at Borders… we talked about how sad you must be… and you know, I just had to call her, just to make sure she knew I loved her. Dan, it’s amazing you can write all of this now. Thanks for sharing, and I hope it has some healing benefit. We will see you soon. Love from Karen, AJ and JR.

  70. I am so sorry that this happened to your family.I feel horrible about this. Even my friends off at school feel horrible about this.I never met Elena, but my mom has been telling me how cute she is for about a month now. I hope that Maggie is managing well.The blog is beautiful and I’m really glad that so many people have taken the time to read it.

    Alex Spivey

  71. Daniel and Kim,

    This saddens me to no end. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.


  72. Daniel and Kim–

    My heart goes out to you. My wife and I experienced two losses the year before last; I can’t imagine a more painful experience than what your family has gone through.

    Reading these stories helps me come to terms with the children I’ve lost as well. Thank you for telling your story.


  73. Daniel,

    I personally was stunned with the news when Nancy said “Oh my God!” yesterday when reading emails. I knew from her voice that something was amiss. Earlier Darlene had called me at work. I had multiple meetings scheduled that day. I finally squeezed in a few minutes for voice mail and heard Darlene’s request for a quick call back. Her voice was quiet. It wasn’t Darlene’s. But I was wrapped up in meetings and thought to myself, “I’ll call her later.” I tried later and did not get her. I called her home, I wasn’t successful.

    Then Nancy introduced me to this “blog”. I still am puzzled by this word as I do not understand it. I started to read the first letter you wrote and immediately started crying. I could read no further.

    Last night I told some of my colleagues across the country what had happened. I was supposed to sign contracts with them for future meetings. I wrote to them to explain why I couldn’t meet their deadlines. I described the Dells reunions to my vendors and how special the girls all were, especially Elena, an adopted Shen sister. Their replies to me were very moving.

    I went to work today and had a very difficult time telling the colleagues in my department. I am a big guy. I am not supposed to cry. I broke down. How do you not cry? You look at Elena’s beautiful eyes and her permanent smile and you just have to ask “Why?”.

    I know other China families have called and will call. I can’t. I am crying as I write. I am not supposed to be crying. I can’t help it. I look at all Elena gave me during our reunions and at your house.

    You are the grieving father and yet write beautiful words for all of us to live by. I go back to the cemetery story, Other Peoples Children. I am the person on the cell phone in that story. I truly am. My position has changed to include more travel and time away from home. Your crafted thoughts have touched me in a special way. People have said to me that “You need to balance work and home.” Oh, it is very easy to say. Can you do it is the real question? My boss even emailed me one day when our office was closed due to snow to see if I had made snow angels with the girls or if I was doing my usual work email thing.

    That story is going up on my office wall next to pictures of Laura and Kelli. That story is going to change my life.

    I don’t know when I can call or if I can. I can put my thoughts on paper better that I can say them. Your stories are beautiful. You have taught me alot about being a husband and father. I am so far from perfect after reading your good words. But your words give me hope. There is a new day tomorrow. Your words teach me to do something special with that day.

    You talk about Kim and Maggie and Elena. Never about yourself. Never about your hobbies. Your three girls are the focus of your life. What a truly classy husband and father you are. I have learned from you.

    Daniel, you raise the question about will your writings continue. That is a question your heart will answer. I will respect your decision. However, your life experiences and teachings benefit me personally. I hope your words of wisdom will be penned again.

    I need to bank a whole lot more snow angels.



  74. […] Dear Elena » Dear Elena I opened the link when I was on the Dashboard. I had never read this blog before and I was expecting another chatty parenting post. But Elena suddenly died. Seven year olds are not supposed to die. Grandparents should not bury their grandchild and neither should their parents. […]

  75. Thank you for sharing. It’s hearwrenching… My prayers are with you and your family.

    James C.

  76. Tom & Kim,

    My offer my sympathy to you.

  77. I came across a link to your site from Kathy Sierra’s Web site. Words cannot possibly express your sorrow, but you have written an amazingly honest, moving, and appropriate tribute to Elena.

    My own daughter, who will turn 2 this year, is named Marissa Elena. I will try to cherish every day. Thank you for sharing, and our deepest condolences to you and all your loved ones.

  78. Tom and Kim,

    My deepest sympathies

  79. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Please do let us know how we can help.

    John, Shannon, and Taylor

  80. […] My dear friend, Daniel Steinberg and his family lost their youngest daughter, Elena a few days ago. It was unexpected and sudden. Dan has started a blog, Dear Elena, chronicling this experience. […]

  81. Daniel Steinberg – Dear Elena

    The six year old daughter of Daniel Steinberg passed away last week. Daniel pours out his heart in his blog He is the former editor of and producer of O’Reilly’s “Distributing the Future” podcast.

  82. Dear Daniel and Kim,

    I am from Africa. I am from a tribe where family means everything. It is as if you live for your family, as if u die for your family. Whenever you are far away from home and you get something to eat, the first thought that comes to your mind is if your family has actually been able to get something to eat. So strong is this family bond over here that i am able to understand what you are passing through at the moment. We have a saying here that when your little child dies, the child becomes an angel and stays among the stars watching and guarding your every step. Look up to the stars at night Dan and there you will find little Elena watching, smiling and protecting your every step. She seems so far yet she is very close to you.

  83. Dear Daniel,

    I’m so sorry for your loss – I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this is for you and your family.

    There will never be a satisfactory explanation (medical or otherwise) for the loss of one so young but I do hope that you Kim and Maggie will find peace in time.

    With love,


  84. Dear Daniel,
    I read a novel of Fyodor Destoevsky sometimes back and there was Elena a little cute child a main character of that novel. Since then I love this name. I feel so sorry about your loss.
    My prayers are for you.
    with love,

  85. My little girls are 6 and 8. I had the older one read this, and when she got to the end, she said, “I don’t want that to happen to Erin.”

    I wish it hadn’t happened to you.

    *hugs* and prayers as needed.

  86. Daniel, Kim, Maggie,

    I learned a few important things when my son died..

    A big life can be very short.

    Not every death is a tragedy and not every life is wonderful. But a wonderful life no matter how it ends and no matter how short it was is never a tragedy.

    You won’t forget the good stuff, so don’t worry that you will.
    You are supposed to forget the bad stuff – so don’t dwell on it.

    The pain does go away, eventually, I promise. Or at least it does stop hurting *all* of the time. But, grief like this is a long illness – so treat yourself gently. You must all treat each other gently as a loss like this can be very destructive.

    Please, please don’t rush anything. Take your time and get it right. Make sure you have somewhere to go and be with her – you are going to need it.

    My heart goes out to you. Please accept some love from someone you’ve never met.

  87. Dear Daniel Kim and Maggie,

    Corinne and I have read your blog site and a better understanding of your feelings and what you are going through. Your shared thoughts are inspiring and from the heart. How can anyone prepare for something like this?

    You and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers constantly since Wednesday evening. If there is anything we can do, please let us know. We will see you tomorrow at Our Lady of Peace.

    With Love,

    Bill & Corinne Friend

  88. thank you for this. i’m going off to snuggle henry, who is fast asleep, and 4 years old.

  89. Daniel & Kim & Maggie,

    My heart goes out to you. There are no words to convey the feelings I know are coursing through your soul at this moment.

    But I understand. For I too have lost a young one. Not once, but twice.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. Wonder if they would get a long with their other siblings. Wonder if they would do things the way one of the others does. If they too would look like their brothers and sisters — unable to tell which baby picture belongs to whom.

    Would they have dimples like their big sister Allison? Would they have curls in their hair like Marissa? Would they be left-handed and funny like Gabriel? Would they be happy and loving like little Nathan?

    These things we’ll never know. The Lord took them home before we could learn of their natures.

    I happened upon your blog as I was using the next button. And it moved me. Your loss is felt across these miles. Your pain is not unfamiliar. But I know that writing through it is very helpful – I can offer you that, as others have noted before me.

    Losing a child is akin to death yourself. A piece of your heart and soul is ripped from within. It’s snatched away from you like a robber in the night. And in a split second, your whole world is upside down. Nothing ever seems to feel right again for a long time afterward. It’s like you stop moving but the world goes on without you.

    Sometimes it makes you sick to your stomache.

    Sometimes it makes you laugh and cry at once.

    Sometimes it makes you raging mad.

    Sometimes there is nothing.

    But I do know one thing –
    God is there. And he cares for you and your family. He will carry you through.

    And while you may never know the answer to the only question you seek, you will know that there is a special place for children. That Elena is laughing and happy and whole.

    Blessings all ways,
    Annie Anderson

  90. Even without being a father, your writings touched me very emotionally. It shows that you both are terrific good parents and Elena had wonderful years on this planet. Now she is waiting for you somewhere else where in one day, you will be seing her again. All the best for you family.

    Marc Logemann

  91. Dear Dan, Kim, and Maggie,

    A co-worker of mine sent me your link, and I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. I do not know you, but please know that your story has touched my heart. Elena seems like a wonderful little girl. I wish I had a chance to have met her. Although the world will be missing her, know that heaven has gained a new angel. My heart goes out to you and your family. You are all in my prayers.

  92. Dan and Kim,

    I caanot imagine the pain that you all are going through. My parents almost lost me this last summer to a MAJOR asthma attack. I spent two months on life support and have heard stories of their immense grief since awakening. You all will be in my payers.

    Jim Cannon

  93. You have my deepest and sincerest sympathies. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  94. I’m going to call my daughter tonight. She’s 35, married, a mom herself; but she’ll always be my little girl.

    I don’t know what else to say. My heart goes out to you guys. I pray that God gives you the strength to bear this burden.

    Best wishes,
    Frank Keough

  95. May the Lord protect and heal you.

    Did you ever find out what disease it was? Other parents might need to know.

  96. Dear Dan, Kim, and Maggie

    You do not know me but your story brought back long dormant emotions to me from when my closest friend, tragically lost his eight year old son six years ago. I lived throgh this with him and your story compelled me to share a thought or two that I shared with him at the time. There is a hole in your hearts where Elena was, physically, part of your lives. It will grow smaller over time, but it will always be there. I encourage you together, to fill this hole with the thoughts, many happy memories, funny tales of your seven years that both you and Elena were blessed with each other. Yes a child is indeed a gift, but so too are loving parents, and a loving sister. As sad and tragic as her death is, be grateful for the seven years you had with her. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  97. Dear Daniel, Kim and Maggie.

    I am normally concerned with business and things that do not matter or have no bearings, but reading this has brought me to tears.

    I send you my deepest condolences. That was a sad and tragic event. I hope you can learn to live with that unhealable wound. May the Lord be with you in this time of sorrow. And may God rest her soul.


  98. Do you think your child was stolen as many many in china are, and as a result your being punish for these crimes against the chinese people!

  99. Dan, Kim, and Maggie,

    As a father and a grandfather, I can’t begin to imagine your loss. I am unable to find words that seem appropriate. May G-d bless your family and bring peace.

  100. Please ignore the unbelievable inappropriate and cruel words left by that thoughtless person “dan”. What you are going through is not retribution, Divine or otherwise. It is the pain of the heart torn, the anguish that is our lot in this life. It is the price for having loved. Yet love is that most wondrous of all gifts, as was little Elena to you; as a boy named Jeremy was once for me and his father.

    You will never forget this pain, just as you will never forget the joy your daughter gave.

    Count each day with your beloved ones as an irreplacable blessing. I will pray for you all that one day you will have the strength to endure; and that you will see your Elena again in a land where we will never grow old.

  101. I have a daughter the exact same age. Tonight, I am going to read to her, as always, hug and kiss her goodnight, as always, and make damn sure she knows how much I love her. This breaks my heart — I am sitting here typing with tears in my eyes. I am so terribly sorry for you.

  102. dearest, daniel,kim,maggie and family. My mind and heart aches as much as yours. May god be with you extra closely to help you live with this chunk of your hearts gone but not forgotten. I would like to share a small poem My family used over twenty years ago in my grandfathers obit. I found these words somewhat soothing . SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND THE LOSS OF ONE SO DEAR, BUT THE COMFORT OF A LOVING GOD IS ALWAYS VERY NEAR–SO MAY HE HELP TO EASE THE PAIN AND SADNESS THAT YOU FEEL,FOR THERE’S NO SORROW ON THIS EARTH, THAT HEAVEN CANNOT HEAL. WITH SYMPATHY ANGELA,FRED,AMBER,ASHLEY AND JARRELL JONES. ELENA’S SERVICE WAS BEAUTIFUL . JUST LIKE HER . THAT WAS WONDERFUL [WHAT YOU SAID TO MAGGIE SHE WILL BE JUST FINE]

  103. Dear Steinberg Family,

    You have my deepest sympathy for the sudden loss of your beloved Elena. As I read your heartrending story, I thought about a dream/vision that I was given in 1995. My heart has always gone out to all children, with their innocence, beauty and simple but profound wisdom. I could never understand why God would ever allow any child to suffer or die, and this became a huge stumbling block to my faith for many years. Then I was given the gift of seeing heaven and the place where all children who die go. Words cannot adequately describe the perfection, joy, peace and absolute love that surrounded them there, and I was elated for them! In my dream, I couldn’t be sad for any child who died because they were where they were supposed to be, and they were so happy! I wanted everyone to be able to go there, no matter how heinous a crime they committed, and I knew that dream had to be from God. I have two children of my own, and that dream gives me great comfort to know that no matter what happens, I can trust that God has a plan and He will take care of them forever. I also now believe that children do not truly belong to parents but rather are “on loan” from heaven, and we should love and appreciate them for the time we are blessed to have them. It sounds like you did just that. I know in my heart that your beautiful Elena is in heaven right now, and she is happy. My prayers are with your family. May you give each other the support and love you will all need as you go through the grieving process. May God bless each of you.

  104. Dear Daniel and Kim,

    When our third son, Bobby, died after a sudden respiratory illness five-year-old David said, ‘Why don’t they just bury us with him?’ Bobby had been so healthy and happy, our best eater, always content and often laughing. His illness became critical… he stopped breathing when I was holding him… and there was never an explanation about what happened. He lived for one and a half days at the hospital.

    We were blessed with no ‘what ifs’ because we had done everything possible… but it was so out of the norm in the US in 1986 to have a healthy child die suddenly.
    It seemed that the whole world should stop, but it didn’t. I was teaching Kindergarten during that time and David was in my class. He told me, ‘Don’t worry, om, I’ll tell the kids what happened.’ He said something about Bobby being sick, then added, ‘My brother is buried near the river, and the river makes the rain, and there’s love in the rain.’

    We cried rivers of tears. I read and wrote to try to come to terms with the ‘imperfection of the world.’ My husband, Bobby’s Dad, and I managed differently… but then he lost as a father, and mine was a mother’s loss. We needed a great deal of patience and understanding for one another.

    It was painful to see our older boys, ages 4 and 5 face the changes, the sadness, the insecurity, the terrible, terrible loss.

    After 20 years I still would give anything for Bobby to be with us, for our family to be whole (now he has another younger brother and a sister). What has helped me immensely is the experience of recognizing that our love is not gone… that our relationship to him has grown in his absence, that love is truly stronger that death, that while the ‘tangibles’ are gone (opportunity to see, hear, touch him) the intangible have become more real… the comfort and assurance he showers on me every single day. He is an integral part of my life, and I believe that he (and our loved ones who have gone before us) is nearer than I can even imagine.

    I especially appreciated reading, “A Broken Heart Still Beats’

    Sending all best wishes,

  105. […] One of the most moving posts I have ever read. My world at work stopped when I read it and I had a trendous urge to rush home and hug my kids.  I wanted to leave a comment, couldn’t think of the words to type.  Go read it for yourself. […]

  106. […] Not even a little. Posted by: pdarling on Feb 28, 06 | 10:05 am | Profile [0] comments (0 views) |  [0] Trackbacks   [0] Pingbacks […]

  107. […] Curioso Blog de un solo post, muy triste para el que quiera creer o muy siniestro para los desconfiados como yo. Tiene 106 comentarios de condolencias. […]

  108. Dear Daniel,

    I can hardly imagine what this must be like for you. I recently lost my grandmother after she battled almost 3 years of cancer. It was difficult enough for me and my family even though we knew it was coming. I just wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    -Sarah, from MI

  109. Dear Steinberg Family,

    I found you via Liz at I Speak of Dreams. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. My daughter’s 12th birthday is on Thursday. 7 years ago this month she was run over by a van in front of our home but miraculously spared any serious injury.

    I do not know why one is spared and another is taken. I wish I did. I wish I could do or say something, anything that could make this better, different, tolerable, even. All I can offer is my prayers and a stranger’s admiration for your courage and your incredibly inspirational writing.

    I hope you are able to continue. I hope there is healing with your writing. I know you are healing others. If there is any good in this, it is your ability to touch your readers at their very deepest core and inspire us to do good for others and for our kids.

    With love from California.

  110. […] Having a child has changed my life in so many ways. There is such a magic and joy to everything. But one of the biggest alterations is how much more personal everything has become for me. It’s hard to see any tragedy involving a child and not wish that never happens to me or the ones I love. To have a child die must be the definition of a living hell. I look at my young Sam and think that just considering a life without him is so scary that it almost brings me to tears. Someone recomended that I read blog Dear Elena, and it’s taken me a long time to recover from the experience. It’s a blog written by someone who recently lost a child, and it is so heartfelt and tender and painful to read that I’m not afraid to say I was bawling by the end of the posts. Here is a snippet of the first post, but you should really go read everything. More… Posted by: Rick Ellis on Mar 01, 06 | 11:50 am | Profile [0] comments (0 views) |  [0] Trackbacks   [0] Pingbacks […]

  111. I read your blog via a link from I don’t know you or your family, yet I cry. It hurts just trying to imagine the loss of either of my two (now young adult) children. I dare say I would not be as strong and couragous as you. I imagine myself staring out a window, unable to move or talk.

    Take care of your wife and other daughter. Stay strong and take one step at a time for the rest of your life. Hug your wife every chance you get and thank her for the privilege of being Elena’s father.

  112. Dear Daniel and family,

    I am new to this little spot on the web but I could not help but read your post. As I read on with a great sadness for both you and your family, it brings me to think about the trials that I am going through presently and how painful it is to lose loved ones. I thought of you and your wife with a great amount grief and admiration as well, for you embarked on one of the greatest most noble of journeys and responsibilities that can be bestowed upon someone. That honor is “Parenthood”. From what I have read here, you were both proud and loving parents (this is something I never had the courage to do, coming from a violent home) by just showing a child Love, Joy, Companionship and Acceptance, you can change the world. I believe you have.

    God Speed,

    My prayers and good thoughts for you and your family will be in my heart .May God ease the pain of this great loss.

    Dale key

  113. May you and your family find strength in knowing how many lives you have touched through your courageous and loving words. Elena’s life will coninute to touch the lives of many all over the world. She already has. A second at a time. Continue to find a way to expres the joy, pain, love, and longing of Elena. You and your family remain in my thoguhts and prayers. Take care of eachother.

  114. I am so sorry about what happened. I have tears in my eyes just with the thought. On Friday I tried to push past tears at school. Even though I knew Elena so distently, it still feels like there is a big chunk of life missing. She always said “Hi Allie” to me at recess. My sister thinks she was to good for the earth orelse why would god let go of her and let her die? This thought seems like a lie and is hard to get out of my mind. I miss her so dearly.

    Allie Harris
    age 9 1/2

  115. […] Rick mentioned this journal of a father who lost his six year-old daughter to meningitis. […]

  116. I happened on your ‘blog’ thru M. Malkin’s site, and wish to offer my deepest sympathy. My brother lost his son many years ago,and he and his wife are still impacted by his most untimely death. To top it off, his son, their grandson was killed in an accident recently. I, in turn, lost my wife two years,three months ago (but who’s counting…). Elena will be with you in spirit for the rest of your days,and will be a source of joy and happiness for you. It’s obvious from your posting that Elena had loveing, careing parents. Take care of your girls and live/love well as you have already. God bless you! Charley

  117. The article in the Sun Press…such a moving tribute to Elena and your family. She was a beautiful girl. Her smile. Those eyes. You could see her spirit shining through, even in a picture. That spirit, her spirit, will always be with you. Every sunny sky, the first spring blossoms, the most coloful of fall leaves, the first magical snow flake, sparkling stars, bright moons…she will always be with you.

  118. The article in the Sun Press…such a moving tribute to Elena and your family. She was a beautiful girl. Her smile. Those eyes. You could see her spirit shining through, even in a picture. That spirit, her spirit, will always be with you. Every sunny sky, the first spring blossoms, the most colorful of fall leaves, the first magical snow flake, sparkling stars, bright moons…she will always be with you.

  119. Daniel, Kim, Maggie

    I am so shocked and saddened by the news. Sitting here, feeling hollow & empty. No trite words, no advice. Just sadness and compassion. Dan, I owe you a hug next time we cross paths.


  120. Les enfants devraient être éternels.

    Sincères condoléances, et que Dieu vous bénisse, vous et votre famille.

  121. Although I do not personally know you, I came across your post through someone else’s. My deepest condolences go out to you and your family.

  122. My thoughts are with you and your family. Be strong.

  123. […] Today, one day after Connor’s 7th birthday, I stumbled across this by way of James Duncan Davidson’s blog. Suddenly, many of the problems I have been dealing with over the past two years seem insignificant. Daniel, I never met you or your family, but my heart goes out to you all. The fact that Connor and Elena were nearly the same age–to the day–hits like nothing else can. […]

  124. Hi Daniel. I am deeply moved to hear of your terrible loss. And deeply touched by what you have written on this blog. Although we haven’t seen each other since high school (most of what I recall from Claudine’s chemistry class is trying desperately to stifle my giggles sitting behind you in the back of the class) I feel like I’ve been able to catch up a bit on where you are in your life, thanks to these thoughtful reflections on what is indeed important in life. You are generous to share so many of your reflections. And your sense of loss. My heart goes out to you, and to Kim and Maggie.o

  125. […] He points to one of the blogs I never, ever neglect to read, Dear Elena, started by Dan Steinberg the day after his six-year-old daughter died. Doc also points to Remembering Allie, a blog post from Terry Heaton which I read last night and which made me feel even more deeply grateful for the health of my partner and family. I read the news of the death of Terry’s wife via Jeff Jarvis the other day, and actually typed up a link to it here, but didn’t publish it. I figured, “Well, I don’t know the guy. It might seem creepy to say he’s in my thoughts.” Terry writes: The sense of loss that I felt that morning was overwhelmed by a fear so profound that I can’t even begin to describe it. My whole world was torn out from beneath me, and I was scared to death. The only — and I mean only — place I felt safe while I was awaiting the arrival of family and friends was right here at my keyboard. If I moved even a few steps away, I began to feel suffocated and would race back. I wrote the post and I sent an e-mail, and what happened after that kept me going. Hundreds upon hundreds of people responded, and I can’t tell you how important that was to me. […]

  126. […] Daughter #1 is still sick and seems to have gotten progressively worse as the day went on. She spent most of the day drifting in and out of sleep. When she was awake she was fascinated at how a cool wash cloth would go warm in a matter of minutes on her hot head. She didn’t ask for any Tylenol so I don’t think her headache is of the same intensity it was last night and she certainly doesn’t have a fever at this point. I hope she does okay during the night and I can’t help but tuck away two stories of kids suddenly dying from illness that didn’t look so bad. Poor kids and families. You just can’t imagine in your wildest dreams living that pain. […]

  127. […] What I have noticed is how small the blog network actually is. Sure there are billions of blogs out there but it doesn’t take long to find yourself in a linkcircle where you read a comment from a blogger whose site you’ve just been on. Or, more interestingly, a link to a blog or site with which you have some link no matter how tenuous. For instance today I found my way to raelity bytes I have no recollection of how I got there but that’s not really important. From there I noticed an entry that began Dear Daniel so i clicked to see to what it referred. This took me to a blog titled Dear Elena which was about the death of a child and how one family was coping. Not much to link me to it so far but then after reading a few entries I was ready to move on when I noticed that he referred to this years Mac World in San francisco which I’d been at. It’s nothing, I know that but this one tiny detail caused me to stay and read some more. It was here I had the though about editorial process. Some of the passages didn’t match well and I began to think I’d have changed that or moved this paragraph here to there or cut that line entirely and it’s this of course that makes it a blog not a publication. The entries aren’t planned or edited by a group or third party they are the unwashed truth. Were I his editor I’d have told him not to do something so hard hitting and difficult, that the process of writing about this risked deepening an already open wound. His blog lets him do whatever he wants to do in order to cope and only something that lacks an external editorial process could allow that. A blog is not a blog unless it’s an individual creation of individual ideas without external editing everything else is publishing. […]


  129. […] I do not know Daniel personally, but have read his writings at Reading his opening entry “Dear Elena” is a very emotional experience. I have been following his blog for over 5 months now. It just makes me realize how thankful I should be for all that I have been blessed with. […]

  130. i am so sorry


  132. i am so so sorry for ur loss, dan, kim & mag. may elena’s soul rest in eternal peace! my prayers…
    i was searching on the web for a grief forum/blog to help my bro & s-i-l out to come out of grieving for their 20-yr old son who passed away on aug 19 in a tragic accident. came accross ur site. thanks. you touched many hearts.
    i passed thru a page which i want to share with u kim, dan, mag, if you permit……
    “Grief turns into healing when you relinquish the pain and helplessness you feel, because there is nothing you can do to bring the deceased person back, and shift your thoughts to what you can do to honor that person’s memory. The best remembrance of a loved one is to carry on what that person stood for. What unique qualities did that person possess? What were his or her interests or wishes? To insure that the meaning of that person’s life continues after death, you can’t dwell on your feelings of loss indefinitely. If you allow them to consume you, your focus becomes fixed on you – your rage, your sorrow, your loneliness – rather than the person who is gone. Shift your focus to doing justice to that person’s memory, and your pain will begin to diminish.” Maxine Schnall

    love you maggie
    love you kim
    love you daniel
    thoughts & prayers with you….take care

  133. Dear Daniel and Kim:
    I am new to blogging….but unfortunately not new to the grief of losing a child. My 16 year old son, Jeff, died from menningococcemia septicemia (meningitis) on February 12, 2004. It was sudden and quick, just like the loss of your dear Elena.

    My brother just started a blog for me, so I think I will begin writing my thoughts down just as you have. Please visit my site if you want to.

    You are approaching the first year anniversary. I am approaching my 3rd year anniversary. In some ways it gets easier, only because the longer I travel this road the more familiar I am with the hills and valleys. In some ways it is more difficult, because it becomes that much longer since I have held my son.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Please know that you are not alone.

    S. Burd

  134. My daughter is my heart – she is sleeping in my bed right now. She too is a light of all light. Words can’t express what I want to say to you, I can’t imagine what you are feeling. When things like this happen, I can only imagine that your darling baby was too precious for this earth. Now she is your angel child watching over you and loving you just as always, my dear friend. You will see her again and hold her for all eternity with Gods faithful love – I believe this. My heart is with you.


  135. I read you story and it brought tears to my eyes. I guess im still online looking for answers its been three years tomorrow since I lost my little girl Janessa to bacterial meningitisand I guess I still havent came to teams with her death Thank you for this site it makes me feel as if im not alone out there

  136. I lost my Dad to meningitis 9 years ago and I am still not over it.

    I am currently going through a rough spot in my life and miss he and his fatherly wisdom terribly.

    My blessings to all of you!

  137. I just found your website and wanted to let you know that little Elana has touched someone again. Thank you for letting us read about her and her life and what joy she brought in everything she did. I hope you and your family are doing well.

  138. hi, i just stumble on this page a few minutes ago. i last an 11 year old sister to bacterial meningitis. i took time off from varsity for a week to visit her in hospital- i was burying her in the next. it happened so fast ans we had hoped that she would recover.. life is still hard because my young nieces and nephews still talk about her on a daily basis. we all do.
    right now i live to celebrate her life. she had many challenges to face- with her eyesight- but she loved life and God. death is too sudden and painfull, but i believe that the creator who was with her when she was born was there when she took her last breath.
    it will get easier the more u speak about your little girl. she never left you. i feel your pain.
    celebrate life, your daughter has not left you. feel her spirit!!

  139. I found your website, I feel for you and your loss.I too lost part of me, my son christopher dec 9.1999.Chris would of been 12 the day after christmas. He also died of bacterial menegitis, same symtoms. but he was awake till the end screeming in pain he got sick with flu, then patekial little spots got to er at 6:30 died At 8:20 I will never forget. But it does get easer. so sorry Deb

  140. Hi. I hope that time has brought you some peace.

    I first read this post when my wife was pregnant with our third child. It moved me deeply then and it still moves me to read it now. We named our daughter Elaina and I think it had a lot to do with reading about your daughter. Every once in a while, when I look at her, I think about your family.

    She turned three in July. I try to always remember, with each of my children, that each day is a gift.

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  144. […] I had the opportunity to watch our grand-daughter perform at a school event. As a result of this tragic loss, I had a more heightened sense of awareness, and tried to remain totally in the moment and […]

  145. 27 plus years ago i had a 1 week relationship with a woman in East Texas. From the relationship a child was born, a Daughter.
    At the time i was married and had 2 children. Not knowing how to handle this situation properly i tried to keep my marriage going even after my daughters mother called and spilled the beans to my wife.
    Angry, Stressed, confused, i acted as if the situation would right itself in time.
    4 years later i was convicted of a crime and spent 10years in prison.
    During that time i was cut off from the outside world somewhat and spent most of my time trying to keep people from killing me.
    I was blessed by a loving God , who i call Allah, and i was released.
    I had always thought of my children in prison, i use to make handmade birthday cards for one of my sons, sending them to his grandfather, because my then ex-wife took my son and left the state.
    Once i got a little stable on the outside again a made a mission to find my children.
    I first went to my daughters mothers home town looking for her, the name i was asking to find no-one knew….i stayed there about 48 hours and then went south where i had 3 others (boys).
    I was blessed to find 2 of them , i explained my situation to my sons and they forgave me (I think).
    When i got back to where i lived, i got a message from some one in my daughters home town….it was my daughter …..i was on top of the world for a moment …Our blessing turned into hell in about 24 hours…my daughter is very unhappy with me and her hatefull comments spurned hateful comments from me……
    I didn’t mean any of those things…..i was hurt by the truths she told of me.
    Just recently i made another attempt to be in my daughter life and also tried contacting my other son….to no avail.
    I’m losing this battle and it’s breaking a heart that has been riddled with so much pain…..I thought about giving up but i have never been a quitter….
    What now????

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