‘He was just a beautiful soul:’ Todd Littleton was always there for his son
On May 25, Gavin Littleton wrote this encouraging post on his Facebook page, “Smile today, you could break your neck tomorrow.”
A month later, he was gone.
On Sunday, his dad, Todd, got a call to come to the emergency room. Gavin, who had been on his way to Asheville, was experiencing respiratory distress. Todd stayed by his side as the medical team worked on Gavin.
“He came back to me for a moment and I was able to tell him that if he wanted to come back he had to fight. But if he didn’t want to fight anymore it was OK because five years of fighting and living in your own personal hell is quite enough,” wrote Todd of Gavin, who broke his neck as a 15-year-old. “If you need to let go, let go, it’s OK. You have brought us immeasurable joy in the past five years after your accident.”
Todd soon realized the team was continuing to work past the point it was necessary. He asked them to stop, and watched as his son took his last breath.
“He was just a beautiful soul, from beginning to end,” Todd said Thursday afternoon. “Everybody knew about Gavin the past five years, but even before that, he was just an awesome kid.”
A quadriplegic, Gavin was cared for by a team of nurses around the clock. Still, he was not homebound. He was out and about, enjoying life as much as possible. He’d just completed his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he lived in the dorm. He’d had health issues, but they weren’t considered life threatening, his dad said.
“He was in a really good place mentally the past few weeks,” Todd said. “He was limited. He didn’t want to live that way, but he did. He did it for those around him. He wasn’t going to give up. He didn’t let it keep him from pushing forward. He always had a heart of gold. He just had to find new ways to be outgoing and make his mark. Before, it was easy, it was simple. Then he had to work at it.
“We went through this together. My job was to encourage him. I have zero regrets. We never left anything unsaid. I know that through God, he’s walking again. It’s been a blessing to have these five extra years. We’ve been in the bonus round, and we had a pretty darn good run.
“It’s sad, but it’s not tragic. Tragic was five years ago. This was his release, his healing. How can you be upset about that?”
Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each... read more