A Pike County Georgia mother found a sweet, yet heartbreaking note from her young son who recently lost a battle to a rare brain infection.
6-year-old Leland Shoemake had been fighting an amoebic infection in his brain for about a month before he lost the battle and tragically died last Friday. The child’s mother, Amber Shoemake, shared a note that she found from her son following his death on the Prayers For Leland Facebook page. The note read, “Still with you. Thank you Mom & Dad. Love.”
According to WSB-TV the boy had been in critical condition at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. His parents say that the child’s infection was caused by the amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris. It is still unclear how Leland came in contact with the amoeba.
Amber wrote on the Facebook page:
“This is Amber. This will be my only post on here for awhile. I was over protective of Leland and tried my best to keep him safe. The one thing he loved most was playing in the dirt. I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me. He was my world. He made me a mother. We struggled so hard to have him. He was a preemie baby but came out screaming and healthy. He was smart from day one. He knew his abc’s, numbers, colors, shapes and 20 sight words by the time he was a year old. He was our little nerd and we loved that about him. He loved school and loved to learn. He loved the history channel, the weather channel, documentaries and anything about history. He loved ships like the titanic and learning about things like WWII. He was perfect. His favorite movie was jaws. His favorite director was Steven Spielberg. And his favorite actor was Adam Sandler. He loved his brother and his family so much. He was the life of every party. His smile could light up a city. He was the smartest, most caring, loving little boy there ever was. He was taken from us too soon. He could have done great things in this world. We would only have a few friends in this county if it wasn’t for Leland. He never met a stranger and he loved everyone. My whole life this has been my only fear and it came true. No one should ever have to bury a child. I always said I hope it’s me that goes first bc I don’t think I’m strong enough to handle something like this. It still doesn’t seem real to me. I find myself sitting here remembering things he would say and quotes from movies he would repeat. Like “check ya later” from dazed and confused. Or “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” from jaws. Or all the million things he used to say from Billy Madison. He was the light of our life and the center of this family. I count the days until I can see his sweet face again and hear that beautiful voice. When Tim and I came home for the first time to get him clothes to be buried in, this is the note we found from him on the table in the living room. We have no idea when he wrote it but you can tell he was always a special child. We will love you forever Leland. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”
The boy’s parents have set up a Go Fund Me page to help offset the costs of the medical bills.