You can feel this mother's pain so acutely. But she is willing to share it with you if it means helping other children.
Denise Wunderler lost her beloved baby girl, Vienna, almost three years ago. Now there are two dates coming up that already have her braced for more tears and grief. Here are her words:
"Two dates I’ve been dreading for almost three years (since 11-12-17) are here:
First, this Sunday, Sept. 6th is the date that Vienna will be gone longer than she was alive. She lived 1,028 days on this beautiful earth with her loving family. This Sunday will be 1,029 days since she died.
This is the date that is on no one’s calendar unless your child died. But emotionally, it can be far worse than the day Vienna died, because on 11-12-17 I was in a fog and didn’t understand what had happened. I couldn’t believe what was going on. I couldn’t believe we were not taking home our youngest from the hospital. I still picture her in the hospital bed late that night as Mike (Denise's husband and father to her children) and I walked away in confusion, and the Holmdel police drove us home.
It was even worse the next morning when Mike and I told Vienna's big sister and big brother (who were 7 and 5 at the time) that their little sister was not coming home. I will never forget their reactions to this devastating news.
The second date I dread is Monday, Sept 14 -- the date that should be Vienna’s first day of Kindergarten.
I should be going shopping with her to buy her favorite backpack and loading it with all of her favorite school supplies— including a fluffy pink pen and a sparkly pink headband with pink cat ears that she just has to have.
I should be getting her prepared to ride the school bus for the first time. I should be asking her what she wants to be when she grows up. I have no idea what she would’ve wanted to be because she was only 2.8 years old when she died suddenly.
I should be asking her what special shirt she wants to wear for this really special day. She loved Shimmer and Shine back then, but since it’s almost 3 years later, I’m sure her interests would have changed.
What would she be like today? I know she would be an amazing, caring, silly little girl playing and hanging around with her older sister and brother.... trying to do everything they are doing... because that’s what little sisters are supposed to do. Little sisters are not supposed to fall asleep watching TV and stop breathing without warning.
She will NEVER get a first day of school. Ever. I’m sad for the life with three kids that should have been; however I’m trying to be thankful that I even had almost three years on earth with her."
Little Vienna's death was attributed to SUDC, which stands for Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (the equivalent of this in newborn babies is called SIDS, which you probably have heard of if you are a parent.) It's every parent's worst nightmare. Imagine having to ask yourself and the doctors WHY ARE THERE NO ANSWERS OR REASONS FOR WHY MY CHILD SUDDENLY DIED?????
Denise has co-founded the SUDC Coalition and is also the founder of Team Vienna 4 SUDC Awareness Now, thanks to Denise's tireless efforts to draw attention to SUDC (she was shocked to find out that many doctors had never even heard of it) it will become part of an official med school curriculum.
The Dean of Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine has added SUDC to the medical curriculum for the upcoming school year. Denise hopes that other med schools will soon follow suit. Meanwhile, she will continue to speak out on this topic in the name of her daughter in Heaven.
Now that's the power of a mother's love.
P.S. Denise and her husband Mike are both doctors. In fact, Mike is an ER doctor that struggled to survive Covid -19 just months ago. CLICK HERE to find out how he battled and won. He is a truly a superhero. You can also watch the interview he did with me once he started to recover HERE.