PHONE: 204.745.2045 | [email protected]
Phone:  204.745.2045 |  Fax: 204.745.2499 | Email: [email protected]

Hwy. 3&13 10-4th Avenue SE P.O. Box 491 Carman MB.  R0G 0J0   Canada

img_1156884757_15789_1298565434_mod_253_321.jpgTristan Jonathan Kuhl

July 1, 1997 – Feb 13, 2011

What a journey the last 14 years has been with Tristan!  He taught us so much about life and death.  Though Tris was born July 1st, our journey began before his birth.  Four months into pregnancy we learned that this would not be a “normal” experience.  Through many ultrasounds we learned that there were many physical and possibly brain related complications.  The option was given many times to abort. We chose to put it into God's hands.  We knew that the creator of the universe cared about this child more than we did. We were to be prepared to have our child die in our arms shortly after birth. Through more testing we discovered that the cardiac condition was severe but the genetic issue was not life threatening. Doctors then prepared for the cardiac condition. Throughout his life Tristan had four heart surgeries, all in Montreal. The first one when he was seven days old with only a fifty percent chance of survival. The second surgery was when he was 2 and a half where blood flow within the heart was modified greatly from normal. Shortly after this he had serious complications which kept him hospitalized for three months. Tristan continued to be very ill with heart failure for the next six months. It was at this time we returned to Montreal for another surgery. This resulted in Tristan having way more energy. At age 7 another heart repair was required. A jugular vein from a calf was used to improve blood flow from the heart to the lungs. Until the winter of 2010, when we learned Tristan needed another heart surgery soon, he enjoyed reasonably good health.  There were many unexpected hospitalizations which were not related to his heart condition.  He was scheduled for a major heart surgery March 10, 2011.  Though he had many health issues, he lived life to the fullest.  His attitude towards life was an example for all of us.  He could have been bitter and complain about his situation.  He rather did what he had energy for in that moment and chose to enjoy it.  Tristan had many giftings.  At 3 years of age he was helping shift gears in the car which progressed to driving the semi by himself this summer.  Any tractor or combine was fair game.  Due to his syndrome, he lacked dexterity and fine motor skills yet he could play an amazing number of chords on his guitar, which he taught himself to play.   He enjoyed worshiping God through music.  He loved to cook, and eat and play table games.  Camping and fishing was a favorite.  He loved to laugh at and with his siblings till he was thoroughly red in the face.  He was a 'big brother'.   We shared many fun experiences with Tris that will always remain a part of us.  There will be a huge void in our home but we are confident that he is in the presence of God because of his faith.

Though for the past year, Tristan had been living with blocked coronary arteries to both sides of his heart he spent the last week of his life doing what he loved to do.  Ski and spend time with his friends, even though his surgery was 3 weeks away.  We always tried to balance tough times with fun ones.  After the ski trip, his body began to shut down due to lack of blood flow and poor heart function.  His body just could not keep up with his spirit and drive to live. On Friday night, we took him to Boundary Trails ER, where he was stabilized and then transferred to Children's Hospital in Winnipeg. Shortly after arriving, he was put on life support.  Over the next 36 hours his gut, liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidney systems shut down. We as parents made a decision that no parent wants to make. We decided to remove all life support. Surrounded by family and friends Tristan was sung into eternity. We chose to let him live before birth, we chose to let him live life to the fullest and now we chose to let him go. There was an incredible peace in the room when all machines were quiet and his heart stopped beating. Tristan's struggles were over. He is truly free. We are seeing again and again that God's timing was perfect. We found out on Monday after Tristan passed away that the surgeon in Montreal did not really want to put Tristan through the coming surgery. As confident as he was on other occasions, he felt that the chance of a successful outcome was very slim.  In his 24 year career he had never encountered a condition such as Tristan's. What a blessing it was to have been able to be in Winnipeg and supported by so many friends and family during this time. They were able to share the weight of our situation that we so often had to bear alone far away in Montreal.  

We have been so blessed to have had Tristan a part of our life. Our priorities have been shaped by our experiences with him.  The first is that we know and trust God. From before birth we committed Tristan's life into God's hands. Neither we nor the doctors could control the outcome.  We learned to hold him lightly but enjoy him fully. It was our job as parents to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible. Time with loved ones is cherished no matter where we are or what we are doing. We have found that in all circumstances happiness and contentment is a choice. Thank you to those of you who have had a part in Tristan's life. You have looked beyond his physical issues and shortcomings and loved him as a person. There is so much more to tell. God will keep touching people through Tristan's life far beyond his death.

Tristan will be missed by his parents, Sheldon and Debbie Kuhl, his sisters Jacinta and Rhiana, his brother Dominic, his grandparents John and Rosella Kuhl and Ben and Elsie Loeppky, as well as special aunts and uncles. A celebration of Tristan's life was held at the Miami Community Hall on February 18, 2011 followed by internment at the Roseisle Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Variety Children's Heart Centre.

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