Childrens Health

Just 12 Hours After Holden Got Sick with the Flu, He Took His Last Breath and Passed Away on His Mum’s Shoulder

Two-year-old Holden Sokalsy had never been sick before. However, in March, he experienced his first flu. Just 12 hours after he started to feel sick and vomited, the little boy took his last breath and passed away on his mum’s shoulder.

Now, Holden’s heartbroken mum, Shelby Lund, is sharing what exactly happened to Holden as she comes to terms with losing her son.

Holden flu death
Shelby and her three beautiful babies. Source: Facebook

I put Holden on the couch next to me. Pretty much as soon as we sat down he slumped over, he took a long breath out, and passed away on my shoulder immediately,” the US mum told followers in a TikTok video.

“As far as signs and symptoms I’m not sure what to say. It was really quick, it just looked like a normal stomach bug.”

Perfectly healthy the day before

The day before Holden’s sudden death, he attended preschool for the morning, was eating and drinking and had a normal two-hour nap. When he woke up from his nap he started to feel sick.

He vomited four times that afternoon/evening and wouldn’t eat his dinner.

holden flu
A cheeky Holden before he fell ill. Source: TikTok


His twin sister had just experienced a very similar bug the day before and Shelby was told by his doctor to treat it with water and rest.

This is exactly what she did. She gave her son plenty of water and electrolytes to keep him hydrated and let him sleep on the couch while she fed the other two triplets.

I didn’t think much of it because this was his first time getting sick. I thought this was how his body reacted, I thought he was wiped out from the afternoon.

He was holding down fluids for two hours before I put him to bed.”

All three children went to bed as normal and, as Shelby tucked Holden in she told him, “If you need help just call mummy and I’m going to come in here and help you.”

‘He took a long breath out and passed away’

Holden slept through the night but one of his triplet sisters did not as she started to get sick too. So Shelby was up throughout the night with her. She moved the triplet sister out of their shared bedroom so the other two could rest but checked on Holden often.

When we were in and out with his sister, we would put our hand on his back. He just seemed like he was sleeping,” Shelby recalled.

However, when Holden woke up in the morning, he looked extremely unwell.

Chris brought Holden over to say he looked really sick and his breathing didn’t sound right,” she said. “I put Holden on the couch next to me… he took a long breath out, and passed away on my shoulder.

We started CPR and we called 911, but they think he was gone pretty much instantly.”

What happened?

An autopsy report showed that Holden had a recent COVID-19 infection and a flu virus.

It caused myocarditis which is inflammation of the heart and he had severe dehydration from hemorrhagic gastritis  – he was essentially losing all of his fluids inside,” Shelby explained.

‘I know he waited to see me again in the morning, before he left’

As Shelby shares her tragic story, she is overcome with grief, guilt and what-ifs, replaying that final day and night she had with her son over and over again.

I think I could have made a ton of different decisions… kept him on the couch with me all night, I could have been more aggressive with my checks on him throughout the night,” she said.

“But I also know my son. I know he waited to see me again in the morning, before he left. So as far as signs and symptoms I’m not sure what to say because it was really quick and it looked like a normal stomach bug.”

@sokaltriplets Reply to @joannefrontera ♬ original sound – Shelby Lund

‘Don’t destroy yourself’

After Shelby shared her latest video on TikTok, so many people reached out to remind her that this wasn’t her fault. Holden’s triplet sister had experienced the same infection just 24 hours earlier and she did exactly the same thing with her as she did Holden. Holden’s other sister was also sick and she recovered.

Shelby did everything right. Sadly, this type of thing can happen.

Holden’s little body just couldn’t handle the infection.

“You did and thought the same as the rest of us would. How could you know… Not your fault,” one person wrote.

“Don’t destroy yourself with what-ifs. As a nurse I wouldn’t have done a thing differently,” a nurse added. 

Another nurse agreed, “I’m a paediatric emergency nurse, I would have done the same as you. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I work in healthcare and have seen this happen so many times. There is absolutely nothing that you could have done.”

Shelby often shares videos of her beautiful son on Tik Tok, explaining that sharing his story is important, not just because he mattered, but as a way to raise awareness of how deadly viruses can be.

Just hug your babies because you never know when that trip up the stairs is the last one.”

@sokaltriplets Gosh you were beautiful. #griefjourney #grief #youaremysunshine ♬ Dancing in the Sky – Dani and Lizzy

Our heart breaks for Shelby and her family. RIP Holden.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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