William (Willie) "PhatBoy" Stone
September 9, 1987- February 25, 2008
Willie was strong and the picture of health, 20 years old, 6'3" and 275 lbs, worked out and trained almost everyday and could run like the wind. He wanted to be an 'Ultimate Fighter' (not that I would have let him) but he was known as Big Bear, everyone's gentle giant, Shrek to some, and 'PHATBOY' to his friends. Willie was someone that always had your back. Willie had an awesome tattoo which starts as his 'bear' but winds around this shoulder and that massive arm muscle with the names of this brothers, friends and Mom. Willie belonged to a gym and was training with free weights, the treadmill, and was taking lessons in Jujitsu and Taekwondo. Willie loved to fish, swim, play basketball, football, box and wrestle. He was planning on buying a fishing boat. Willie's dog is named Baby Girl, and he kept two of her thirteen pups, Blue (which is a deaf dog and has one blue eye) and Triangle (hearing dog to train Blue). He Loved vacationing and traveling with the family. Willie adored his sister Melissa and they shared many secrets and special times. His brothers were his best buddies and they did everything together. He had two nieces Jenna and McKenna (his Godchild).
The three brothers Benny, Willie and Mikey had a great weekend together while I kept Dad company in the hospital (awaiting emergency back surgery). Melissa, the big sister was arriving the next morning before Dad's operation.
The boys played basketball that Sunday, played video games, got their hair cut, and watched TV and Movies. Willie cooked dinner, which was always good – he wanted to go to culinary school. He made a tasty baked salmon and was the only one I gave my secret Caesar salad recipe too.
The boys planned on seeing Dad at the hospital that night but Willie felt tired, just wasn't feeling right. He had been complaining of a pain in the left side of his chest. The Dr told his it was acid reflux. I told him he probably pulled a muscle. Willie sounded like he was congested or getting a cold.
Dad and I talked to them from the Hospital and they all had one terrific weekend. I stayed that night with Dad at the hospital leaving the three brothers to take care of themselves. Ben took care of getting Mikey to school for Monday morning. When Ben returned home. Willie had passed while sleeping on the couch. 911 was called but Ben could not revive him. It was too late.
They are right when they say this is the most painful thing a parent can endure. There are no words to describe this. As a mother, I can't help Ben remove that image or relieve my children's pain on losing their brother. There is no coming to terms with the fact that we will never be able to touch his hair or look into his beautiful blue eyes. We will never hear “Hi, it’s me Willie” when the phone rings or hear his giggle. We won’t get to see his smile which always greeted everyone nor feel the softness of his skin nor feel that towering cuddle as he held you.
Our comfort will come knowing that he is with God and watching over us from there. Willie can still be our strength and guidance. We can all learn from his ways, his kindness, his compassion, and his dedication to his family and friends. We are very proud of Willie and who he was. We are blessed to have had Willie in our lives. I would like you to please remember what Willie died from and let other parents know about HCM. If it can prevent another child’s sudden death, we would have understood why Willie was taken so soon.
It has only been a couple of weeks since Willie has become our Angel, but we have started the search for the reason and hopefully a cure. My children and grandkids are now being monitored. Benny has to go for more extensive testing with his heart because they see something. Mikey has a leaky valve which will be monitored. Melissa had been discharged early from Army training because of Mitral Valve Prolapse. Melissa's daughters Jenna (8) McKenna (5) have 'innocent murmurs' at present. My husband was checked before surgery and he is fine. My brothers and sisters and their kids still have to be checked. I too have to be checked, but have delayed because....
The real sad part is that it is genetic and if we had the key, the genetic markers, we could have had a fighting chance. I never heard of HCM, never knew it kills one child a week. Or 1 in 500 has it. Or there is a 50% chance of passing it on to your children. I did not know there would be No warning, just sudden death.