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Broken and Sad

Last week I posted a Facebook update announcing that I had just received some devastating news in my family. After I posted it I realized I might have scared some of you, because I know I have talked about my many health problems before. So I figured I’d better post soon and let you know that I am alright.

This is in regards to my sister Holly's son, my nephew Brennan. My sister and I have basically the same age children only 6 months apart, we were pregnant at the same time and have cherished parenting at the same tempo together. If you have been around Pile O’ Fabric a while you may remember the Puma Zig-Zag Quilt I made for Brennan back before he was born.

When Holly's son Brennan was about 9 months old doctors began looking into reasons why he might be having a few developmental delays. He is now 14 months old and last week we found out that Brennan has a rare genetic disorder called Tay Sachs. Unfortunately there is no cure for Tay Sachs and it is fatal for 100% of children, usually by age 4.

My heart is broken for my sister, her husband, their older son, and of course Brennan. I can’t even imagine or fathom the hurt they’re feeling. This week I have been holding my children so tightly and just wish it didn't take such a terrible thing to make me more grateful. But, I am so very grateful that my children are currently healthy.

This weekend my sister and her family came to town. I had the wonderful opportunity to do everything I could to help encourage her and give her a little break from worrying. She has been asking me to teach her how to quilt so she could make a quilt for her friend. First we did some serious fabric shopping and then I began teaching her how to quilt. Mr. Brennan thoroughly enjoyed watching us sew from his bouncy chair. I had a wonderful time kissing him and loving him.

I have some plans for support opportunities which I will post about soon. These will help support the Stringer Family for the battle they are embarking on as well as support the Tay Sachs Foundation which is busily working hard trying to find a cure.

Thank you so much for all your comments, thoughts, and prayers. I am very thankful for the love that you all pour upon me, even if I am basically a stranger to you. Having a quilting family is really a blessing!


    Post Comments

  • Christine Sherman says...

    I’m so very sorry, I can’t imagine the heartache you and your family are feeling. Take care of one another…

    On August 20, 2014

  • Regina DeMatteo says...

    Oh, Alyssa, I am so sad to hear about Brennan. Our family has been in mourning the past several months since we lost our dear sweet baby girl, Livia. My nephew’s second child smothered in her swaddling at four months. We are heartbroken.

    Please send my love and support to your sister and tell her that she is so lucky to have Brennan for even this short time. We were lucky to have Livy even for a minute. These babies bring so much joy and love into our lives. The memories will be a great tribute to him!

    On August 20, 2014

  • L Carolyn ghearing says...

    My thoughts and prayers have been offered up, and will continue to for your families. I, too, cannot even imagine the heartache that you all are feeling. We in your quilt family will hold you in our arms, some virtual, and offer shoulders and words of support.

    So glad you got the quilty time with your sister. An activity that provide solace!

    Take care of one another…

    On August 20, 2014

  • alyssa says...

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I can’t imagine such a terrible diagnosis. I’ll continue to pray.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Margaret Schindler says...

    My thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kristy says...

    So sorry to hear this news Alyssa. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Beth T. says...

    I hope it helps a wee bit to know how many hearts are turned toward you and your family. We’ll be here as you make this journey. Please do let us know how we can help.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Christa Quilts says...

    I am so sorry to hear about this and I am glad you are sharing so we can all come together to love you and your family through this hard time. When my daughter lost a good friend of hers to a horrific tragedy a few months ago, it really helped to blog about it. I am glad you are doing the same. Give your sister lots of love and hugs from me.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Katy(LethargicLass) says...

    my thoughts and prayers are with all of you right now… I wish I could do more.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kathy says...

    My prayers for your sister, and all your family. Cherish the good times and save up all those memories.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Lori Smanski says...

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. As moms we love our children beyond anything imaginable. My daily prayers are for you and yours. I had to watch my mom loose one of my brothers. God bless all of you.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sarah N says...

    So very sad to hear this, Alyssa. Thinking of you all.

    On August 20, 2014

  • StasaLynn says...

    Many prayers for you, your family and certainly Brennan….

    On August 20, 2014

  • Nedra says...

    My prayers are with you and your family Alyssa. This time together is so precious. And again, I am amazed at the comfort quilting can bring. Keep us posted on what we can do to help and offer support.

    On August 20, 2014

  • shirley tener says...

    My heart swells for you and your family. Do whats important for you and your family, we will all be here for you

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sarah says...

    I’m so sorry for you and your family. No one should have to go through this. Your sister is blessed to have you standing by her side. Let all of us stand by your side.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Hannah says...

    Alyssa I am so so sad and sorry to read this. Absolutely devastating. All I can do is wish your sweet nephew a peaceful journey filled with family, love, cuddles and smiles. Be kind to yourself. Xxx

    On August 20, 2014

  • Tracy DVR says...

    Oh sweetie, our thoughts and prayers are with Brennan, you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • kimberlee says...

    Oh, Alyssa, I am praying for ALL of you. My heart is just broken for them. Losing a child is the hardest thing I’ve experienced, and I have been blessed with God’s presence from her terminal prenatal diagnosis to what would be her 3rd birthday on Friday. I really cannot wait for that moment when Jesus redeems it all. No more dying children. No more illness. He cannot come back soon enough.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kim M says...

    What a heartbreaking diagnosis! I’ll be thinking about you and your family, especially your sweet nephew!

    On August 20, 2014

  • LauraC says...

    I’m so sorry for you and your sister. It’s always so distressing to hear about children and diseases that are not curable. My cousin has a little girl with a rare mitochondrial disease and it’s just heartbreaking. I wish that there were words to make it better. Many prayers.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Donna Simpson says...

    My heart goes out to your whole family. I cannot imagine the burden you are bearing while trying to savor every single moment with him. Please know that many are praying for all of you and sending our love.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Paula says...

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I cannot even begin to understand the hurt and sadness you must all be feeling but I pray you will find the strength to deal with each day as it comes. Although his time here may be short I am sure that baby Brennan has brought so much love and joy to you all and will continue to do so.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kay says...

    Sending hugs and prayers for all of your family. I cannot imagine your pain right now but feeling sad for you.xx

    On August 20, 2014

  • Vera says...

    So sad. I’m so sorry. Hugs and love to you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • BillieBee says...

    This is really sad news. I’ve not heard of that before. Prayers from TX

    On August 20, 2014

  • Lynne MA says...

    I am so saddened to hear this news. My thoughts are with you on the difficult journey ahead.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Patti says...

    Alyssa I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for this devastating diagnosis. What a very rotten New Year you are all having. I’m just so sorry and words will never ever be enough. Lots of love and hugs to you all. P xxx

    On August 20, 2014

  • Susan says...

    I’m so sorry. Devastating. I wish lots of moments in the time you all have left to be beautiful and something to cherish through the healing process.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Pat V. says...

    Oh, Alyssa, what a devastating diagnosis! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Amanda says...

    This is literally heartbreaking. I have had two sisters who have lost children. There is no preparing for the journey your family will go through, the heartache that will be felt and the tears that will be shed. Brennan is a special little boy who will bring more love and treasures into your hearts than any other person will ever be able too, squeeze him lots. I hope for the best for all of you and very heavy heartedly say I am sorry your family must face this.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Denise Barrett says...

    Alyssa, I am so sorry to hear about your nephew’s illness. In circumstances like this, it does make us appreciate our very own children just that much more. I am praying and will continue to pray for your nephew and your family. It’s good, however, that you were able to spend time quilting with your sister and able to love on your nephew—affection and togetherness is so comforting and strengthening for everyone involved.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Terri Herman says...

    I am so sorry to hear of this! I can not imagine what your family is dealing with at this time. Please know that prayers for Brennan, your sister & husband as well as the rest if the family are being said by many. A quilt is a small way to find some joy together.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Debbie says...

    My heart goes out to you, and I have no words to say. Love and prayers!!! Such a special sister and aunt you are!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Pam C says...

    I am so sorry that your family received this terribly sad news. My grandson has a leukodystrophy (Alexander’s Disease.) It is heart breaking. All you can do is love and enjoy these little ones while they are here with us now. Thoughts and prayers for all of you.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Emilee says...

    Praying for comfort & strength for your family. Children are such a gift…I could not imagine what your sister and the whole family are going through.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Nancy Page says...

    I am so sorry for this sad news for you and your family. My heart goes out to you all. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Looks like there is a great support system in your family. Take care. Give lots of hugs. Wishing you all the best.

    On August 20, 2014

  • DeborahGun says...

    Lots of love and prayers for you and your sister and your families.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kathleen H says...

    Alyssa what thoughtful ways you are to your family. These will be challenging moments. Baby Brennen and your entire family are in my prayers and thoughts.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Gunda says...

    I’m sorry for you and your family that you need to go through that.
    I lost a Baby in the age of 11 days.
    Someone told me, this children are so special, that the lord want them on his site, that gave me the strength to move on. You nephew is so special too and you need to love and hug him so much you can.
    Tons of hugs and love for you and your family


    On August 20, 2014

  • Vidya says...

    I am so sorry !! I can imagine what your sister and all of you are going through and my prayers are with you. An old friend of our family, when she lost her only son at 18, said she was blessed to have had him in her life even for that short time and was going to revel in the memories and not mourn.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jackie says...

    Alyssa, I am so saddened to hear this… I am sending my thoughts and prayers to all of you at this time. BIG (((hugs))) to you, your sister, and Brennan.

    On August 20, 2014

  • usairdoll says...

    Alyssa, Please know that your sister, Brennan, you and your families are in our thoughts and prayers. I’m at a loss for what to say. Thank you for sharing with us and I pray that the strength everyone needs is given.


    On August 20, 2014

  • Anna says...

    I’m so sorry !!! My thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Shirley Clark says...

    Please tell your sister they will be in my prayers. The world of medicine is making new strides every single day so maybe things will turn out better than anyone knows.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Susanne says...

    I am so sorry for you, Jacob, and your littles who won’t have the chance to grow up with their handsome cousin, but I hope know what a blessing it was to have the gift of him…even if only for a tragically short time. Sending warm thoughts to you and yours.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Lisa Johnson says...

    You are all in my prayers! So so sorry such a precious baby has to go through this terrible disease. Stay strong!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jesica says...

    How sad… I can’t imagine what your family is going through. Hugs all the way from the end of the world.

    On August 20, 2014

  • wendy says...

    Oh Alyssa, I’m so sad for you. Wish there was something I could say.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Andrea says...

    I’m at a loss for what to say. You and your entire family are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing with us and Ietting us offer support in whatever small way we can.

    On August 20, 2014

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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