Father Shamed after Making Difficult Choice to Take Age 3 Son Off Life Support
A 3-year-old boy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been taken off life support in the days following a car collision that claimed the life of his mother, 21-year-old Valery Arreola, and her unborn child.
The boy suffered life-threatening injuries, and his grieving family desperately hoped he would pull through.
Guillermo Arreola was riding in the car with his mother and big brother for a fun-filled day of sledding on Jan. 7.
But a tragic collision took his mother’s life, the life of her full-term unborn baby, and left Guillermo with a fractured skull and severe spinal injuries.
Guillermo’s father, Maximiliano Velasco, told WXMI-TV that Guillermo’s life-threatening injuries were “head to toe.” Velasco said his son suffered a “broken leg, fractured spine, a few blood clots in the brain,” and was in need of several surgeries.
Doctors communicated the boy had severe brain damage, and with his spinal injury, was unlikely to walk again. After wrestling with the gut-wrenching decision on how to proceed, Velasco ultimately decided to remove his son from life support.
With heavy sadness, Guillermo’s family announced the sweet boy had passed, leaving behind his 5-year-old brother, Max. “After a brief struggle to survive his injuries from a car accident, he left this world and is now with Jesus in heaven,” read Guillermo’s GoFundMe page.
In the midst of their shock and grief, Guillermo’s family has also been subjected to online criticism of their very personal decision.
Guillermo’s aunt, Abigail Calixto spoke up on behalf of her brother, explaining how the agonizing decision weighed heavily on his heart.
“It’s not a decision my brother made by himself,” said Calixto. “It’s a decision he made by talking with doctors.”
“There’s been several comments on social media where they are saying that my brother is a bad father for doing that,” Calixto expressed. But she asserts this is not a time for judgment.
“So we are just asking for some respect for him,” Calixto continued. “Because they wouldn’t know what they would do if they were in his shoes.”
The GoFundMe community, however, has demonstrated much more compassion and understanding for Velasco’s decision.
Contributors have offered up their condolences and advice to shut out social media comments.
“I cannot begin to imagine how painful this decision was for you,” wrote Julie Ehlich. “Let others not judge. God bless you.”
While the comfort of many arms cannot erase a loss, it does help shoulder the burden. We pray many arms are wrapped around Guillermo’s family during this time.
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