Four-star eventer Colleen Rutledge’s son, Connor, died on Feb. 3. He was 8.
Connor was born with severe disabilities and was confined to a wheelchair.
On Jan. 27, Connor stopped breathing, and Rutledge’s husband, Brian, performed CPR to revive him. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., where he fell into a coma and was unable to be revived.
“If you want to know how the world appears to me right now, put on your darkest sunglasses and walk inside from the bright outdoors. You can still see, it takes time to adjust, but everything is dimmer. Connor was and always will be my light,” wrote Colleen in a post on her Facebook fan page on Feb. 3.
“Even when things didn’t look good (the first three years of his life), he taught me more about myself than anyone or anything. Perseverance, sheer determination, stubbornness, tenacity are just a few of his main personality traits coupled with absolute love and affection,” she continued.
“I am the person I am today because of him; he changed my whole world and the way that I view everything. My appreciation for every moment in my life was enhanced because I saw how hard he worked for everything, and I was so proud of him for achieving everything he did. My heart not only hurts because I’ll never hear his infectious laugh again, but it is also so glad that he was a part of my life. I wouldn't give up one second of the pain that I’m feeling right now because I had EIGHT years with him when they said he wouldn’t survive a week. He surpassed everyone’s expectations because we never told him what he couldn’t do. So he just did, and did and did. He has touched everyone around him with his amazing spirit. I am so blessed to have had him in my life, and I will miss Connor forever.”
Friends and fans can help the Rutledge family by taking meals to their Frederick, Md., home or purchasing pre-made meals. Visit the Take Them A Meal page  for more information.