In Memory of Aidan Miller
Aidan was an outgoing, fun loving 16-year-old kid who loved the outdoors. He was born on October 9, 2002, to Dan and Karen Miller and was a beloved brother to Blaine, Garret, Mary Kate, Ellie and Avalin. Aidan was an excellent student at Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School and was just about to begin his junior year in when he died unexpectedly of sudden cardiac arrest from a cardiac arrhythmia of unknown etiology, on July 22, 2019. He had no signs or symptoms before his death and there was no history of sudden cardiac death in our family.
Aidan was active in many organizations in high school. He was a great athlete, wrestling through his freshman year and playing offensive and defensive lineman for the PEM Bulldog Football Team. He was a member of the FFA, the National Honor Society, Bulldog Ambassadors, PEM Trap Team, and Student Council. Aidan took the trip of a lifetime when he went to Costa Rica with his Spanish Class a month before he died. He was an avid Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan. Aidan knew every word to every country music song and sang along to the radio constantly. His favorites were Luke Combs, Old Dominion, and Riley Green. Aidan loved Bobby Bones (Country Music radio personality) and his favorite quote was the title of Bobby’s book, “Fail Until You Don’t”. Aidan had a strong faith and was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Church where he volunteered often and was a Mass server for many years. He attended Camp Summit for many years where he learned the skill of making rosaries out of string. If you didn’t see him mowing lawn in his straw hat or doing chores on the farm, you would find him checking trail cams, trapping gophers, collecting sap to make maple syrup, or hunting for morel mushrooms. Aidan was an avid hunter and fisherman and was on an afternoon outing at one of his favorite spots fishing and hanging out with some of his best friends when God called him home. His friends did CPR for 20 minutes before emergency responders arrived with an AED, but it did not advise a shock. Aidan loved his family, friends, class/schoolmates, the farm and especially his cows. He was a friend to all and made a positive impact on everyone who knew him. His singing voice, contagious smile and infectious laugh are so missed.
Spreading awareness of SCA in the young has become important to us because, before Aidan’s death, we didn’t realize something like this could happen to a perfectly health kid. We are also strong advocates for cardiac screening in young athletes and hope that one day EKGs and echocardiograms will be required as part of the routine sports physicals. Since Aidan’s death, our family has also learned about the importance of AEDs. To date, we have donated 17 AEDs to area high school athletic programs and awarded over 24 scholarships to PEM HS students in memory of Aidan.
Losing Aidan has been extremely difficult for our family. We have survived thanks to the love and support of our awesome family and community. As a family we have become much closer and more appreciative of each other. We have realized each day is a gift and we never know when our time will be up, so we need to make the most of each day by being kind and helping others, just as Aidan did. It was important to me, as Aidan’s mom, to connect with other parents who had lost a child this way. It was very different than the other typical ways of losing a child, like sickness, accident, drug overdose or suicide. On one hand it was a comfort that Aidan’s death was quick, he didn’t feel any pain and he wasn’t scared, but on the other hand, we struggled with the guilt of missing any signs or symptoms that we should’ve been more aware of. As far as advice for other families dealing with this kind of loss, know that grief is just love with no place to go. It never ends, but you do learn how to live with the loss. We now live for Aidan and carry him with us in our hearts. We keep his memory alive by talking about him and honoring him on his angelversary and celebrating him on his birthday. We all grieve differently and there is no right or wrong way. For me, my faith in God has helped me through, but I did struggle with this in the weeks after Aidan’s death and very much felt abandoned. It has been a journey and I have realized that my faith is the one thing that keeps me connected to Aidan now and gives me hope for seeing him again. I was also diagnosed with breast cancer 10 months after Aidan’s death and he has been my constant companion on that journey as well. He has helped me in ways now that he couldn’t have if he was still here and that is a blessing to me. Another thing that has helped me along this journey is to look for signs I like to call “hellos from Heaven”. I have received many signs from Aidan since his death that have reminded me his spirit is still very much alive and with us.