I just got a mail from Gary Curry in Mount Vernon WA. You may recall his daughter Morgan working on a bill with their state representative to pass a law requiring parents to protect children under the age of 18 and allow medical treatment regardless of religious convictions.
The letter here is about Stacy from the boards, they didn't get the last name correct, but those that read the blog posts on King5 will recall her story. Stacy responded to a request that Gary Curry had to post her story in the local paper.
In addition there a couple more stories written to the paper regarding Dennis Lindberg.
As I said before "This is far from over."
"My 'mature' conviction didn't kill me"
When I was 15 years old, I nearly died of what should have been a routine case of appendicitis. Instead, my appendix disintegrated, and I spent nearly a week in quarantine. I remember that the only thing I cared about was that I not be given a blood transfusion. I had no comprehension of the fact that appendectomies are low blood-loss surgeries. I was just terrified that someone, somewhere would force blood on me.
I was a Jehovah's Witness. If the surgery had been life-threatening due to bleeding, I have no doubt that I would have physically fought, if I were able, to prevent being transfused. As they took me into surgery, I was prepared to die. At 15 years old. I had the strength of "mature" conviction.
Obviously, I didn't die. Sadly, Dennis did. I'm now 37 years old and look back at the time my faith was "tested" by the blood issue, and I realize how young and stupid I was. I also realize that I had utterly no choice. When you're only presented with one real option, it's not a choice, not an option.
As a J.W., the only "choice" is to refuse blood.
I'm thankful that my surgery was not as life-threatening as I, at 15 years old thought it was, because as a child, I had no choice, deluded though I was into believing I did.
Dennis' death is truly a tragedy.
Skagit Valley Herald
December 10, 2007 - 03:00
- Second memorial service held Sunday for Dennis Lindberg
MOUNT VERNON - Friend after friend shared their stories Sunday about Dennis Lindberg as they said goodbye to the 14-year-old eighth-grader who died last month of leukemia.
About 150 people, including friends, neighbors and some family members, attended the service at Kern Funeral Home, the second one in two days for the teen.
Some offered emotional testimonies indicating his playful, giving message. Many remembered Dennis as a caring, outgoing and fun-loving boy who enjoyed life despite the hardships it brought him.
"The one good thing of losing Dennis is now he knows how many lives he's touched," said Becky Morrell, whose children took over Dennis' newspaper delivery route after he fell ill in November. "The greatest way that we can show we love him is to follow in his footsteps, to live his legacy ... and love each other a little bit more."
Dennis died Nov. 28 after his religious convictions led him to reject the blood transfusion that would have allowed him to continue chemotherapy. His death came hours after a judge refused to force him to have the transfusion.
The bitter feelings that developed in the controversy over Dennis' illness and death were the reason two services were held over two days. Saturday's service was a private event organized by his aunt and the Jehovah's Witness congregation. Sunday's memorial was arranged by his birth parents, grandmother, schoolmates, teachers and friends.
A video featuring images of his school life demonstrated Dennis' whimsical side: Play-wrestling in school hallways to jamming to a favorite rap song to proudly wearing a coconut bra for his sixth-grade role in a production of "The Jungle Book."
- Friends and family members recalled his brilliant smile and warm, frequent hugs.
"Dennis was the kind of guy that made everyone smile," said friend Andy Kirk, an eighth-grader at LaVenture Middle School. "He always made our horrible days good."
Some recalled how Dennis dared to be himself. He was one of the few students who could wear a suit and tie to school and not be teased, said a Lincoln Elementary cook. There was his unabashed love for the color pink, and the way he convinced his grandmother to buy him a bold, striped jacket just because he liked it.
Throughout it all, the distraught audience shifted between sniffles and giggles, taking both joy and sadness in their thoughts of Dennis.
The memorial gave some comfort to Dennis' birth parents, Dennis Lindberg Sr. and Rachel Wherry of Idaho. Though they gave up custody of Dennis as they battled drug addiction, the elder Lindberg said their son has always been in their hearts.
"It was the hardest thing we did when we let him go," said Lindberg, whose sister, Dianna Mincin of Mount Vernon, took Dennis into her home permanently in 2003. It was under his aunt's care that Dennis joined a local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe blood transfusions are against the Bible.
Hours before Dennis' death, a Skagit County Superior judge cited the boy's maturity and religious freedom in denying a state motion to force Dennis to have a transfusion. The order was despite strong objections by Dennis' birth parents and grandmother, who continue to contend young Dennis should not have had the ability to reject a transfusion.
Lindberg Sr. said state laws should be changed to prevent minors from rejecting life-saving medical care.
"I just don't want to see it happen to another child," he said. "That's my biggest wish."
Dennis' grandmother, Olga Lindberg of St. Petersburg, Fla., said Sunday that she's still angry about her grandson's death, but was happy that so many of his friends could work through their own grief at his memorialservice.
"I'm overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed," she said of the outpouring of support she felt Sunday. "The love and what they've given ... I'm speechless."
At the end of the service, friends and family began to wonder how they would continue without Dennis.
Clean and sober, Dennis' birth parents had planned to move to Skagit County to be near their son. Now, they're considering moving near friends and family in Florida or Pennsylvania instead.
Many in attendance Sunday vowed to follow the Dennis' example.
"You look at a kid who could have very easily walked with his head low, feeling sorry for himself for where he'd come from ... and yet he was a ray of sunshine in everyone's life," Morrell said.
Dennis "woke me up to appreciate every moment of everyday with the people I have," said one father who saw Dennis enthusiastically play football with neighborhood children a week before his hospitalization.
Sunday also provided closure for many who had been grieving Dennis' death. One of those was Teresa Vaughn, who taught Dennis at Lincoln Elementary and who rushed out of the courtroom in tears on Nov. 28 upon hearing the judge's ruling.
"The words I have been avoiding finally form unbidden: Goodbye. Goodbye dear, sweet boy. My life is richer for having known you," Vaughn said, her voice cracking with tears, as she recited a poem she wrote for her former student.
This is another one that was clearly touchingl
Grief and longing of losing a child
My sweet Brit (as I often call her now) was killed in a car accident almost two years ago. I am a Christian and grateful for my knowledge that she lives in heaven. Learning of Dennis Lindberg in the paper, I have searched over and over my heart. Brittany wasn't given the chance for a blood transfusion; I was told she died "on impact."
Had any miracle drug or experimental treatment been available that night to save her life, I would have welcomed it with open arms. When I think of "missing" her, the word seems grossly out of context. You "miss" having pizza; you "miss" your aunt in New York; but missing your child - the word falls short. Every fiber of my being longs to this day to hold her just one more time.
The tangible feeling of your child in your arms goes beyond description. Holding that life should also transcend religious legalism doctrine. To those who held Dennis and loved him, they will understand this one day. You will possibly no longer think of the religious doctrine; but you will long for the giggle, the feel of his hands on your back, the head resting on your shoulder in church. And you will likely pray every day for that "just one more time," to hold and love you.
I hope through Dennis' life others may rethink what they would do. Personally, I believe these medical wonders are divinely inspired for God to show love for his children. Joining the club of parents of deceased children is not a place you want to be.
My heart goes out to his family. I don't see how they could have possibly known what they were in for.
I guess I must be fair here and also provide the link that Gale Hickok the presiding overseer of the Mount Vernon English-Language Jehovah's Witness Congregation.
This is another article in the paper, it turns out the Skagit Valley Hearald had run a story on Dennis two years ago when he was removed from is parents due to their Meth addiction.
Gary Curry and his daughter Morgan are still working to change the laws here in Washington State.