by Melissa Booraem
Last spring Beth and Jeff Brown of the Steeplechase community had to go through something no parent ever should. They were praying as their little angel, Caroline, was fighting for her life last May at Children”s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
"We heard the words no parent can imagine hearing when the doctors said her eyes were no longer responding to light," Beth said.
Caroline was born on June 4, 2002, at Northside Hospital. She brought joy to everyone that saw her, and she was baptized on the Advent Day of Joy. She was the first child of Jeff and Beth Brown and was a welcomed addition to her brother and sister, Wade and Victoria.
She was a typical little girl. She loved food and people. She attended "Mother”s Morning Out" at Horizon Christian School one day a week and was a member of the toddlers Sunday school class at the First United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville.
Everything seemed to be going perfectly for the blonde-headed little girl, until last May when the almost 2-year-old became ill.
At first the pediatrician said it was just a virus. But a few days later Beth and Jeff found themselves at Children”s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where Caroline was thought to have pneumonia. As her condition worsened, Caroline had to be placed on life support using ECMO – a sophisticated heart and lung bypass machine that assumed Caroline”s heart and lung functions to allow her organs to heal during her illness. However, due to the severity of her illness and other complications, the sleeping angel, Caroline, lost her battle on May 26, 2004.
"We continually try to make sense of something that makes no sense," Beth said. "The word I remember most from the funeral is the word “joy.” The name Caroline means joy; she brought joy to so many."
The hardest part for the family has been moving on. "Even though it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do I believe you should wake up every day and look for joy in your life. As we know now, life is not guaranteed. We still have blessings, joy in our lives. We have amazing family and friends."
A game of tennis for Caroline
This year the 16th annual North Gwinnett FRIENDS Charity Doubles Tennis Tournament was held in loving memory of Caroline.
"The FRIENDS tennis tournament held in May had great timing for us. It helped us get through this very difficult “anniversary month.” It once again reminded us there is j