NEWTON — It is a shock to a family, and the community, what happened over the course of three days to 11-year-old Payton Rose.
No one, especially his parents, expected to spend Monday making funeral plans.
"Words cannot express how we are feeling. There are so many questions not answered," said Bobby Rose, Payton's father.
Payton had a sore throat but felt relatively OK otherwise, said his mother, Jennifer. She took him to the doctor Friday.
Chest X-rays looking for pneumonia, swabs of his throat looking for strep throat. His tonsils were checked for swelling. Nothing was found. He was prescribed ibuprofen for pain and sent home.
"That is what was hard about it. That night he was suffering and struggling," Jennifer said. "He's a kid. I thought, 'Hey, buddy, just calm down and breathe.' I never thought. ... "
On Friday night, he was still struggling and started the night sleeping in his mother's room. At some point, he left her room and went to his own.
Jennifer found him, not breathing, in his room. He died Dec. 28.
"Jennifer did everything she could do to help," Bobby said. "He quit breathing in the middle of the night and passed in his sleep."
The family is awaiting the results of an autopsy performed Monday. Initial guesses are a throat infection.
The youngest child of Jennifer Rose, Payton attended Walton Rural Life Center before heading to Santa Fe Middle School. He and his brother transferred to Halstead in August.
He played club soccer and had a passion for the sport and his team. His former coaches and teammates met for a counseling/grieving session Monday night.
"Life is a gift, cherish it, love your children," Bobby said. "They are the most important. Kiss them, hug them, love them every chance you get. You never know when it may be your last time you ever get to see them."
A gofundme page has been established by friends of the family to help with expenses for the funeral, which will be 11 a.m. Jan. 11 at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton. It had raised more than $9,200 Tuesday morning with a goal of $20,000.
Jennifer said the family was unprepared for funeral expenses. If fundraising exceeds the need for Payton's funeral, she anticipates creating a scholarship for the club soccer program.
"That was his passion, " she said. "He loved it. I think he would love for kids who don't have the money to be able to experience that."