Grieving parents find surprise note left by 6-year-old son after his death

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A 6-year-old Georgia boy who died after a weeks-long battle with a rare brain infection didn’t go without surprising his parents with a final, heartbreaking goodbye.

Tim and Amber Shoemake had just returned to their Pike County home to retrieve burial clothes for their son Leland when they say they found a note, written in red marker, on the living room table.

“Still with you,” it read in Leland’s handwriting. “Thank you, mom & dad.”

“We have no idea when he wrote it but you can tell he was always a special child,” his mother wrote while sharing a photo of the note on Facebook Monday.

Amber Shoemake said they found the note during their first trip home since her son’s hospitalization and eventual death on Friday.

The little boy contracted balamuthia mandrillaris, an amoebic infection, likely doing “the one thing he loved most” — playing in the dirt, his mom said.

“I was overprotective of Leland and tried my best to keep him safe,” she wrote. “I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me.

“He was my world. He made me a mother. We struggled so hard to have him. He was a preemie baby but came out screaming and healthy. He was smart from day one,” she went on while describing his short life with all of his hobbies and adventures.

“My whole life this has been my only fear and it came true. No one should ever have to bury a child. I always said I hope it’s me that goes first (because) I don’t think I’m strong enough to handle something like this. It still doesn’t seem real to me,” she wrote. “We will love you forever Leland. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”