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BYU coach posts heartbreaking message on death of three-year-old daughter

elsie

BYU running backs coach and former NFL running back Reno Mahe’s three-year-old daughter Elsie has passed away after a tragic accident last week in the family home.

Separate messages posted to social media by Mahe and his wife, Sunny, revealed the heartbreaking news of Elsie’s passing after she was found tangled in a set of blinds with the cord wrapped around her neck. An AP report indicates that Elsie “had two neurological exams and both tested positive for brain death” and passed away Tuesday.

But the posts from the Reno and Sunny Mahe painfully illustrate the understandably heart-wrenching and profoundly devastating nature of the events over the past week.

Sunny Mahe posted the following message on Tuesday night to Facebook (via College Football Talk):

Our Elsie girl has officially been released to heaven – at least from a worldly, paperwork stand point. Her second neurological death exam was also positive for brain death.
We feel peace and we are again so grateful for the privilege of being Elsie’s parents. She continues to sprinkle love and hope across the world and I am in awe of the Lord and His marvelous plan for my sweet girl.

We will be working closely with the donation team for the next couple of days, so we have a few days to postpone making funeral plans. But as those dates and decisions are made, we will keep you informed.

Reno Mahe posted a photo of Elsie and a message to Instagram as well.

A photo posted by Sateki Reno Mahe Jr (@renomahe) on

The message reads in its entirety:

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

My brother showed me this scripture this week and it has brought me additional peace and different perspective. It has been quite a roller coaster awaiting Elsie’s transition, but she hasn’t finished showing us miracles.

Sunday morning, before I posted my previous update, the doctors gave Elsie a breathing test. She was still breathing over the ventilator, so they wanted to test out how she would do on her own. They turned back the machine to more of a standby mode and she breathed on her own for about 30 minutes. Then, they felt like they saw some seizure activity, so they turned the ventilator back on and she was no longer taking breaths of her own.

This was the steady decline I mentioned and the eventual path to this decline would be neurological death, or brain death. For us, this would mean we would be spared the decision of removing support and waiting for her heart to stop or cutting her throat to put in a tracheotomy and taking her home to die of a contracted illness – both of which likely would result in her no longer being a candidate for organ donation.

However, sometime in the afternoon, she began again taking spontaneous breaths. When we spoke to the doctors Sunday evening, they indicated that once the swelling in the brain stops, it is very unlikely to restart. So they felt that most likely Elsie had leveled out and would not decline any further.

I was simply broken by this news and the options that it left for us. I prayed for understanding since it seemed that we had been given clear direction and then that was taken away.

But Elsie was not through showing us miracles. At 8:00 yesterday morning, the doctors told us that they believed she had another seizure and was again no longer breathing over the ventilator. Reno and I wept with gratitude to our Heavenly Father that Elsie would be granted a peaceful passing and would be able to save lives through her physical body still.

As we considered the experience of her miraculous breathing and decline, we cannot help

Thoughts and prayers go out the Mahe family in this unimaginably painful time.