Young flu victim's mom: 'I know Hallee's in heaven'

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As an ambulance rushed Rhonda Cartwright Wiser’s gravely ill daughter to Vanderbilt Children’s hospital, the Christian school sixth-grader asked if God was going to take her.

Hallee Cartwright, a giving, well-liked student at Providence Christian Academy, died early Friday morning from flu and other as-yet-determined complications with her death coming less than 24 hours after the flu diagnosis.

“She was at peace with God. She asked me in the ambulance if God was going to take her. I think she was ready for that,” Wiser said of her daughter’s question en route to Nashville.

Speaking late Monday afternoon, Wiser said she was “having a peaceful moment, a peaceful few hours. I know it’s just her body. She’s with me now.”

Hallee’s love of God, as expressed in those hectic final hours, give her peace, Wiser said.

“I don’t want anybody to die and leave their family and not know where they are going,” she continued, adding, “I know Hallee is in heaven and I’m at peace with that.”

Her daughter’s illness led to death with breath-taking speed. She was diagnosed with flu at 11 a.m. Thursday morning. Wiser said she asked if it was swine flu or seasonal, but didn’t ask for a test to determine which after learning the treatment was the same.

But, Hallee continued to feel awful and that night started throwing up, said Wiser who took her to the Middle Tennessee Medical Center where she was treated until 3 a.m.

“MTMC was absolutely awesome,” Wiser said, adding the attending doctor ran tests, showing a higher than normal lactic acid result and decided to send Hallee to Vanderbilt.

“He did not expect it to be critical, but wanted to get her relief, Wiser explained.

At Vanderbilt, staff determined Hallee wasn’t reacting to flu treatment with some other medical problem with the flu working together against her.

“There was nothing medically possible to be done,” Wiser said.

Hallee’s mom will remember the young girl as “a wonderful child, a giver who put others above herself. She wouldn’t make a decision without knowing what other people wanted and what would make them happy.

“She loved life. I was so blessed to have her,” Wiser added.

Hallee’s stunning demise shocked her close-knit school, a K-12 Christian facility of some 320 on DeJarnett Lane.

School was closed Monday with a chapel held in her honor Tuesday. School will also be closed Thursday for Hallee’s funeral services.

On PCA’s web site, Miss Cartwright is honored and the following posted on the home page:

“Our prayers go out to Hallee's family and friends. We will miss Hallee's sweet smile very much at PCA.

Services for Hallee are as follows:

Visitation will be at Woodfin's in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 3 until 8.
Services will be at Belle Aire Baptist Church on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 11:00 a.m.

There will be no school on Thursday, Oct. 15 so that the PCA family can attend Hallee's funeral.

Continue to keep Rhonda, Keith, Cy, Hannah, Stacey and Hallee's extended family in your prayers.”

Principal Butch Vaughn called Hallee “a wonderful Christian girl with such a great smile who just made people happy.”

Hallee’s mom has had those sentiments expressed over and over.

“She loved everybody and everbody loved Hallee,” Wiser said, “Some of the emails I’ve gotten say those same things.”

One of those emails remembered Hallee, “Hallie was a walking definition of what a true friend truly is. It made no difference if they were boys or girls, an athlete or a chess champion. She was always kind and friendly with them all. And I know they all loved her right back. She was always super polite and could always flash a beautiful smile. I always loved watching the beautiful way she played ball with such a passion (it made me want to go back and have a do-over playing again!). I know she also has always been an honor student and enjoyed learning. At the same time, I know she had a sense of humor and enjoyed a good prank or laugh with her friends. She truly was such a special young lady. I think what takes some of us a lifetime to learn, Hallie already had it down.”

Wiser underscores that final point, “She (Hallee) was Ok with herself, She was true to herself.”

Hallee Cartwright's obituary is available at:

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Members Opinions:
October 13, 2009 at 1:15pm
Deepest condolences to Hallee's family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

I know it is a difficult time but when able, I would love to know more details about how this illness came on. Were other kids at PCA sick? What were Hallee's symptoms on Tuesday? I have three children and I am sure that others most certainly want to know what to look for in order to try to avoid the heartache of a loss of this magnitude.

October 13, 2009 at 3:23pm
Absolutely tragic story. I can't imagine what the family & friends must be going through. My heart goes out to them & my prayers are with them.
October 13, 2009 at 4:11pm
How sad this youngster was taken so early in her life. May God welcome her home and give comfort and peace to her family and friends. Our thoghts and prayers are with them.
October 17, 2009 at 10:43am
I've known the Cartwright family for over twenty years they have seen their share of this world's pain. Their faith in Christ and the way they live their lives in forgiveness and constant giving, always thinking of their selves last, is a continuing reminder to how we all should live and Who we should draw our strength from. May our most Holy God grant the Cartwright family a peace that passes all understanding and a true comfort that is beyond this worlds. Here in Northeast Ohio we pray for you and feel your deep, deep loss. Be still and know that He is God.
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