Springville parents face the death of 3 of their children in 3 days

L-R: James, Elizabeth and Christopher Chappell, circa 2010, location not specified | Photo courtesy of Chappell family via The Washington Post, St. George News

SPRINGVILLE — Years of suffering – and months of struggling with the decision to end it – had brought them here: To a bright white living room where three of their children lay side by side by side, waiting to die.

Les and Celeste Chappell loved the children, of course, and the thought of letting them go was excruciating, but holding on was just as painful.

The children – Christopher, 20; Elizabeth, 19; and James, 15 – had been ravaged by a ruthless neurological disorder that, over the years, had stolen their ability to see and to swallow, to move and to remember. Life support was only prolonging the inevitable.

So one Thursday in July, at their home in Springville, Utah, the parents braced themselves for what would become a long weekend of death.

Three hospital beds were set up in the living room with the cathedral ceilings and high-reaching windows that let in the streaming sun.

The three children were made comfortable with morphine and lorazepam, a sedative used to control seizures, and their parents started to pray.

Then they stopped the tube-feedings and watched their children, one by one, silently slip away.

Read the full story here: The Washington Post

Written by LINDSEY BEVER for The Washington Post. This story is published in part with permission from The Washington Post.

Copyright 2017, The Washington Post

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16 Comments

  • Real Life September 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Wow. Rip your heart out sad. Next time you think your having a bad week………

  • comments September 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    nature can be a cruel &$%#&. Probly one of the reasons I’m an “atheist” or at least totally non-religious. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing to remain totally religiously delusional in circumstances like this, but I’m sure it helps them cope in some way. If I ever get to the point I’m a vegetable with no chance of recovery I want it ended quick. I don’t want to lie in a hospital bed wasting away for years. There is no shame in ending it. It’s cruel to prolong such things. Who even knows what awaits on the other side, paradise, hell, or eternal nothing. I’m sure death was a great reprieve for them anyway. I’d have wanted it a lot faster. Not sure you’d even fear it after so much suffering.

    • uprightandmovingforward September 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Unfortunately, deciding to be atheist doesn’t really solve any problems and doesn’t cause God to cease to exist. God either exists or doesn’t and there is overwhelming evidence that God exists. The only evidence contrary is the opinion of a few who think it will make life easier to understand. In fact, a knowledge of God’s Plan actually brings peace to any individual if they are willing to except it. While a temporal view of this situation brings much grief and sadness to the heart, knowing that there is life after this earth life makes this situation less devastating than it appears. This family will be together again, without the pain and with all the love they have for each other right now. I dislike all the pain and disease that happens in this life just as much as the next guy but I also understand this life isn’t a joy ride either. It is a test to see if we will continually chose to do good despite all the negative situations life will inevitably throw at us. My guess is this family has passed that test. The service, love and support they rendered each other in this life will undoubtedly be rewarded in the life to come. Still, our thoughts and prayers go out to the parents who are left behind and temporarily separated from their children. May God bless them and may our faith in God be increased because of their example.

      • Jake September 28, 2017 at 8:27 pm

        I would disagree that atheism makes life easy to understand. I consider myself more agnostic and my views and beliefs are depressing to me. I cant help it its what i believe in my heart, we know nothing. That being said i am not putting down ur beliefs or trying to make this about our differences. I send love to the parents and wish i had more to give or something else would matter to them. Whatever the reason for us being here, I hope the parents can find ways to accept this terrible situation.

        • comments September 28, 2017 at 10:15 pm

          The parents have been slowly watching these kids die for years it sounds like. Sounds like they were in a vegetative state when they pulled the plug–basically already dead. I suppose they’re lucky in a way that none of their other (7?) kids got the disorder. Letting them pass on, in this case, I think is a blessing. I don’t buy into any religious texts at all, and, like Jake, I think we know nothing of God or even have any clue as to what it would be. I admire religious folk in the way that they are able to be ignorant of so many things and just shut down a large part of their thinking brains. In religion Everything is preplanned. There is no mystery. Like with mormons: you pay your 10%, go thru the whole churchy church routine, have a large hoard of kids and you get to be some kind of god of your own planet. I think bibles and books of mormon etc etc are pure fairytales of peoples imagination. Like I say, I have sort of a respect for you religious nutters. A lot of us “atheists” wish we could believe in your fairytales, I think. It would make life so much easier for it to be true or real. We all gonna find out eventually I guess….

          • .... September 29, 2017 at 5:31 pm

            Keep on hating Bob. ! so what is the name of your religion Bob ? let me guess uh is it called ..the church of we hate people that exercise their religious freedom ? obviously your the president of your religion

    • ladybugavenger September 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      You put “atheist” in quotations. I’m not sure you don’t believe in God. I know you question the existence of God.

      I miss calling you Bob. I’m going to call you, “The Original Bob”

      • comments September 28, 2017 at 10:17 pm

        Yea, I don’t like labels so it’s best kept in quotes

        That other bob is kind of a mean nasty old character, isn’t he?

        haha 😉

        • ladybugavenger September 29, 2017 at 5:43 am

          “The Original Bob” one thing I want you to keep in mind when you hear about tragedies or when tragedies happen in your own life- just one thing, ok?
          It’s not God’s fault.

      • tcrider September 29, 2017 at 8:02 am

        other people believe God created man with a free will, if humans did not
        have the free will, they would be the same as animals or evangelicals.
        I like the old Bob better.

        • ladybugavenger September 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

          “The old Bob” it shall be….it’s catchy

          • .... September 29, 2017 at 5:20 pm

            Just ….Bob

  • statusquo September 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    They died from Batten Disease. Apparently often not diagnosed for years after birth. How sad. Here is more info

    https://bdsra.org/what-is-batten-disease/

  • Mike September 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Why add, “read the full article” and link to the Washington Post page which requires a paid log in? No thanks.

  • ladybugavenger September 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    When the old bob needs someone to take care of him, look no further than ladybugavenger I’ll make sure the doctor prescribe the highest dose of morphine and pentynol (is that it?) and I will make sure your not in pain

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