Soren’s Story

Site created on April 6, 2020

By now you know that we have been shattered by the death of our son Soren. Soren made an unexpected and impulsive choice to take his own life. But that is not who he was. Instead we are remembering the fullness of his 15 years. His humor (his birthday gift to Doug just arrived from Amazon - a size 4XXL yellow hazmat suit), his kindness, thoughtfulness, inventiveness, and adventurous bright spirit. Soren was a teacher, dancer, musician, and choreographer who had a gift for working with young children who attached to him like Velcro. Just weeks ago Soren and Doug spent February break building homes in Costa Rica for the poorest of the poor in that country. Soren had a big heart and a bright future and we can't imagine life without him.

We have been overwhelmed with an outpouring of love and support in every form imaginable. We wish we could respond to each offer of kindness. Please know that we see and appreciate each one and will use this site to stay connected with you.

Doug, Kathryn, and Isabel


Obituary Here:  https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/obituary-soren-wysockey-johnson-2004-2020/Content?oid=30383698

In lieu of flowers and in honor of Soren's interest in dance, donations can be made to the Soren Wysockey-Johnson Scholarship Fund at Arabesque Dance Studio (https://www.arabesqueetc.com/).  Please be aware that Caring Bridge has a 'Donate to CaringBridge' button on the upper right that goes toward their costs.  That makes things a little confusing, and we just want you to be clear where your money is going if you choose to donate.)

Newest Update

Journal entry by doug wysockey-johnson

Kathryn here. This is a post about Gratitude. And it's not short.
Our family's practice before dinner every night has been to answer the question, What are you grateful for today? Responses just have to be genuine -- "that the day is finally over" -- comes to mind, or "that we saw fiddleheads". It has served as a balm, over the years, and also as a conversation starter. And recently you have been mentioned in our Gratitudes, too. I wanted to thank you all for reminding us that we are not alone -- that our community (near and far) has been sustaining us with endless kindness and support. So please read more of our Grateful List, and forgive us if we have forgotten something. Here is the ongoing list in no particular order:

All of you -- family and friends and colleagues and neighbors, near and far, from all parts of our lives
Lawn signs of support 
Candles and ribbons
Spontaneous road-trip visit from cousins
God's eyes and peace cranes
Lilac bushes
Homemade COVID masks
Prayers and thoughts and well-wishes
Your beautiful artwork -- painted stones, drawings, sculptures, paintings, prints and collages
Guest book with inspiring watercolor painting and Yoda picture 
Plants and flowers, wild and tame
Books of poetry and grief-work
A actual star registered in Soren's name
Prayer shawls
Cross-country visits from family and friends
A cozy buffalo-plaid blanket
The lovely hand-turned bowl full of gift-wrapped coals
Wind chimes engraved for Soren
Your deep listening
A flowering crab tree
The delicious meals and baked goods
Your laughter and smiles
A live-streamed piano concert dedicated to Soren
Your photos and written remembrances of memorials we could not attend
Gift cards, teddy bears and care packages
Errands and favors, such as repairing the beautiful cutting board that Soren made for me
Donations to scholarships and homebuilding funds and concussion research
Daily dog walks and runs
Your friendship and support to Isabel
Your companionship when we meet
Your understanding when we cannot meet or answer the phone
Your WORDS -- in cards and in poems 
Your lack of words -- when you see us heads down at the market or on the trail -- unable to speak
Daily (every. single. morning.) dog walks and runs 

And gratitude for our candle-tending neighbors, Jenn, David, (Rose and Miles). What began from their simple question, "How can we help you?", and our response, "Would you keep one candle lit outside our house as a symbol of Soren?" became the lighting and extinguishing of 150 beautiful candles in front of our house -- that's 150. Not kidding -- twice a day -- in snow, sleet or rain.

Nothing and nobody can give us back our son. But your responses to our seemingly unbearable tragedy just might help us to bear it. For that we thank you.
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