Lakeview Christian School student loses battle with disease
Family spent last day at home with 11-year-old
Jill Briles is grateful that her 11-year-old daughter was able to come home and spend her last day with her family before passing away.
Chrissy Briles, a Lakeview Christian School student, died at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday at her home, surrounded by her parents and three older brothers.
Jill Briles said her daughter came home from Riley Hospital for Children at 7 p.m. Sunday. Chrissy had been at Riley about six months.
“We expected to have a couple of days (once we got her home) but were surprised,” Briles said. “Our plans are not always God’s plans.”
Chrissy had been asking to go home from the hospital for a long time, her mother said.
“She was very excited to be coming home,” Briles said. “She was near tears at the prospect of going home.”
If Chrissy knew she was going to die, she never conveyed it, Briles said.
Her mother said she is thankful for the doctors and staff at Riley for getting Chrissy home so quickly, especially since it was over the weekend. It was important for the family to have Chrissy home when she died, she said.
When she arrived at home Sunday, Chrissy was wheeled to the house by her father, John Briles.
“John requested that the ambulance stop at the entrance of our drive so that he could wheel her home, given the sad fact that he will not have the pleasure of escorting her down the aisle,” Jill Briles wrote on the family’s Caring Bridge Web site.
Chrissy’s dogs were at the house to greet her, and Jill Briles’ room was made up especially for Chrissy, with pink sheets and pink pillows, according to the blog. Chrissy had requested to sleep in her mother’s room when she came home.
The family was able to spend more than a whole day with Chrissy before she died.
While Chrissy’s family was grieving and making funeral arrangements Tuesday, Chrissy’s friends at Lakeview Christian were grieving, too.
The Rev. Duane Seitz, pastor at Lakeview Wesleyan Church, said the students gathered at the sanctuary Tuesday morning. Counselors met with students in groups to talk about the situation and to help the kids through it.
“I don’t think the kids were prepared,” Seitz said. “You’re never really prepared, even when you know it’s going to happen.”
The students had more than an hour to talk to the counselors, Seitz said. The counselors talked to the students about the grieving process, what to expect and how to handle emotions.
Jill Briles said the family members appreciate all of the support they received during Chrissy’s illness.
“Words cannot express how much we’ve appreciated all that people have done,” she said. “It’s been overwhelming and amazing.”
Chrissy’s illness began with kidney problems and high blood pressure. An allergic reaction to a medication resulted in toxic epidermal necrolysis disease, which caused Chrissy’s skin to blister and slough. The disease eventually led to other complications.
“It was just one thing after another that kept complicating her (hospital) stay,” Jill Briles said. “I’ll never know why things turned out the way they did, but I just have to trust.
“Chrissy had a sweet spirit about her. She was a trooper through it all. She was very strong for a little girl.”
By Mishele Wright, Marion Chronicle Tribume, Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1:12 AM