6-Year-Old Dies From Playing in the Dirt—Then Mom Finds This Note on Her Living Room Table

Leland Shoemake was your typical 6-year-old boy who loved climbing trees and playing. While admittedly being an overprotective mom, one thing that Leland’s mother, Amber, didn’t want to do was to stop him from doing what he loved. Unfortunately, it was because of an amoeba in the dirt called Balamuthia mandrillaris that caused his brain to swell and ultimately cost him his life.


Doctors weren’t able to nail down exactly how he came in contact with the disease, but it’s been reported that Balamuthia typically enters the body through soil that comes in contact with cuts, wounds or is breathed.

Leland’s parents realized something wrong when he was constantly throwing up with fever-like symptoms. They realized it was more than a fever when his eyes crossed and he couldn’t focus on anything. They spent many sleepless nights in the hospital by his bedside until he passed away from the infection.

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Amber and her husband, Tim, returned home to begin making arrangements for the memorial service. They walked into their home to find this note lying on the table in their living room:


It read, “Stil with you. Thank you mom and dad. Love good day.”

They have no clue how it got there or when he wrote it. It was very painful to see but the perfect way to remember their loving son. “He was the light of our life and the center of this family,” Amber wrote on Facebook. They had originally asked to be left to mourn but broke their silence on social media to share the image along with this beautiful eulogy in memory of Leland:

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Our hearts and prayers are with the entire Shoemake family.

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Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.