Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 12-6-2007 by
Alan Carnahan
Crawford Alan Carnahan
August 21 1988 - May 12 2007

A tribute to a wonderful son

Crawford Alan Carnahan

This online memorial was created in loving memory of my son, Crawford Alan Carnahan whose life story is told throughout this memorial site.


Please sign Crawford's guestbook and let us know that you came to visit. Help us keep our son's memory alive forever.

Special Note: His family and friends appreciate your comments. We also mourn the loss of your child or loved one.

In living memory of our children who have passed.

Each of the animations and pictures upon these pages either reminds me of my son or the things that he loved in life. From the toys that he used to play with, to people that he loved and whom loved him, to the things in life that he experienced, and to the loss of a young man whom I loved dearly with all my heart.

These pages remind me of a man named, Crawford Carnahan, and that he once lived within my life. My son. My only child. My future. This now, is all gone. In his memory..... 

It will take just a little while to upload each page due to the amount of animations that I have put upon these pages. I hope that you will agree with me that it's worth the wait.

Will you look at some of the other pages instead of just the first one? I've put so much time into making this site for him.

My suggestion to anyone that views this site without a quick processor and memory card; RE-CLICK the page link after uploading it the first time so that the page uploads all the way. You will then see all the pics and animations on each page. Note: I have made these pages to be viewed on a larger monitor. Some of the pictures and animations will look out of place on a smaller monitor.

Thank you for visiting my son's memorial site. We all miss him so much.


How and why he left this world

My son, Crawford Alan Carnahan, was born August 21, 1988. He died on May 12, 2007.  

My son died from a disease named Leptospirosis. And/or, bacterial meningitis. The autopsy was inconclusive. The last specialist diagnosed it as Leptospirosis. The name is not known by many because it is not reportable to the CDC (Communicable Disease Center).

Read the information that I have gathered and/or click the below link for additional information about Leptospirosis.


Leptospiral infection in humans causes a range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis is a biphasic disease that begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, myalgias, intense headache). The first phase resolves, and the patient is briefly asymptomatic until the second phase begins. This is characterized by meningitis, liver damage (causing jaundice), and renal failure. The infection is often wrongly diagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms. This leads to a lower registered number of cases than exists. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. Initial presentation may resemble pneumonia. The symptoms in humans appear after a 4–14 day incubation period.

Complications include meningitis, extreme fatigue, hearing loss, respiratory distress, azotemia, and renal interstitial tubular necrosis, which results in renal failure and often liver failure (the severe form of this disease is known as Weil's disease, though it is sometimes named Weil Syndrome). Cardiovascular problems are also possible.

Leptospirosis was postulated as the cause of an epidemic among native Americans along the coast of present-day Massachusetts that occurred immediately before the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620 and wiped out most of the native population.

The leptospirosis hypothesis is supported by the occurrence of modern outbreaks identified as severe leptospirosis, some accompanied by high mortality rates (the Andaman Islands in the late 1980s, the Philippines in 2009, Ireland in 2010).

Leptospirosis; if identified and identified quickly, can be cured. But, the "specialist's" here at St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis, IN made many mistakes and delayed his treatment for many hours. I hold them responsible for his death.

I ask myself why this disease is not required to be reported to the CDC? It's a mystery to me. Maybe, they "The government" do not want to frighten the hikers, campers, and naturalist's who give millions of dollars each year to our state and government parks.

Leptospira is a corkscrew parasite(s) that enters through a scratch, wound, mucus membrane or through water soaked skin.Leptospirosis is the official name of the disease and the damage that the parasite(s) cause to the human body. The parasites travel in the blood stream and attach them self to multiple organs (especially the heart) causing total organ failure within 2 to 14 days.

In my son's case; it was 2 days. Leptospirosis starts out mirroring a stomach flu. Symptoms are nausea, fever, and diarrhea. In addition; it's accompanied with a severe stiff neck (start of meningitis). Crawford thought that he had just "slept wrong" on his pillow the night before. We didn't know any different. As the parasite(s) multiplies and infects the heart; the blood flow to the body drops. Within hours there's total organ(s) failure. He lived in a coma for 5 more days and died on the 7th day after contacting the parasite.

The parasites live in infected wildlife animals (rodents, raccoons, deer, etc.) and are passed in their urine and feces dropped onto plants or onto the ground in the woods. All it takes is for one to touch or brush up against a infected plant, walk through a infected stream wearing shorts, barefooted or with pants on; or pick up a infected stick from the ground.

If that stream, plant, or item has been urinated on or had feces dropped upon it from a infected animal; you have a good chance of parasites entering through your skin.


My son loved being in the woods. He built tree houses as a young kid, ramped and rode his bikes on trails and loved to just walk through them. I learned from his friends during his sickness that Crawford was with a group of his friends in the wooded area behind our housing addition just a few days before. They were all celebrating their up coming graduation from high school with a cookout. They thought that it would be fun to build benches and a raft to cross the small creek with dead tree logs. Something that they did often as small children.

He was the only one that had been in the creek (for about an hour) tying the logs together as he made the raft so he and the others could float to the other side of the woods. He also helped build the benches out of logs. Was he infected while in the creek, touched nearby plants that had infected urine on them; or did he pick up infected feces off the ground as he lifted up the logs? Were the parasites on his hands as he later ate a sandwich? These parasites are microscopic; until they enter a host's body. Then; they grow as they feed off the host's body.

Did they enter through a cut; through the pores in his skin while he was in the water, or did he ingest them? The State Board of Heath in Indiana came out to the wooded area and after testing; confirmed the presence of Leptospira. You cannot feel it, taste it, see it, or smell it.

Your loving pet can be vaccinated to prevent Leptospirosis; but humans cannot. Why is this? We will never know how the parasite(s) entered his body. All we know is how devastating this parasite is.

Son; you were a healthy 18 year old on Friday; then; two days later, you were fighting for your life. You fought a great fight, son. As you did with the bullies in school; you fought back. Those you won...This time; there were just too many of them. ONCE THEY GOT TO YOUR LOVING HEART; THEY KILLED YOU.

I love you and miss you, son.


Your Father





Why does it have to happen to children?

It is so unfair for a parent to lose a child.

Why? I ask myself.... Our children should be burying us instead of us losing them. Especially; losing them at such a young age. How does a parent cope with such a loss? I don't know. I am still trying to accept my loss.

He was everything to me. I have a step-daughter and he had a half-brother, but, he was my only child .

When a parent dies; you lose your past. When a spouse dies; you lose your present. When a child dies; you lose your future.

I love you and I'll remember all of our times together and grieve for you until I die.


At the hospital and his last words

As I upload your pictures onto this site; it makes me cry for my loss.

Your images will forever be burned into my memory. I stare at the many pictures that I have of you everyday. I hold them to my heart and cry. I find myself thinking of you many, many times throughout the day and I dream of you at night. I cry for you then, too.

Before your passing; the last time that I cried was when I was a small child. I started crying for you when I was with you up in the hospital room before your surgery. I was holding your hand when you saw me start crying. I saw the startled look on your face. I know I scared you when you saw me cry; you didn't even close your hand around mine. You knew from my crying that you were in a very critical condition.

I'm sorry that I scared you, son. I didn't mean to. I was so scared for you. Haylee (your girlfriend) who heard your last words, told me that you started crying yourself after we left the room. You told her that "you didn't think you was going to make it". She asked you why you would say that. You remarked, "Because; I saw my Dad crying and the doctor's couldn't tell me that I wouldn't die".

I haven't stopped crying for you since the hospital. When will this stop? I feel the "need" to visit your grave everyday since you died. When will this stop? I don't know, son; but, I know that I must be strong and carry on because I will see you in heaven soon enough.

In your memory, son


Remember to say; "I love you."

I long to hold you and tell you how much I love you and miss you.

I didn't tell you I loved you very often or you me. Just a "guy" thing. But I showed you how much you meant to me. Now I look back and wished that I had shown you much more. We take for granted that we will always see each other everyday.

You look back at all those times that you should have taken the time to be together. Now it's too late. My only child; my everything. You cannot be replaced even if I had another.

The only son of an only son. Without grandchildren; Our last name died with you.

I will keep your memory alive the best that I can for the rest of my life.You left a hole in my heart that will never mend. If possible; your name will be the last word uttered from my lips before I die. Please be there to greet your dad to the here after.

With only memories left........




A police officer's heart died with you

Crawford.... Or as his female "girlfriends" called him..Crawfy.

His male friends were not allowed to call him "Crawfy". Just his female friends. Unmanly. Male friends just called him by his given name; Crawford.

His mother and I chose Crawford as a first name after I saw it in a baby name book. I was looking for a true "Irish" name and thought "Crawford" was a very manly name, even when used as a first name. Also; we hadn't ever heard that name used as a first name before. "Crawford" it was. Then in grade school it became "Crawfish" or "Crawdad". But he liked being called "Crawfy" by his female friends.

I asked him if he was sorry that we had picked that name for him and he told me, "No, I like it. No one else has it and I don't have to look around when my name is called like my other friends named, John, Michael, Jason; etc." That made me feel better. He lived up to the unusual name. One of a kind; and as his friends told me....their spokesman and leader.

He never got into any trouble of any kind. Not an arrest, detainment or even a traffic ticket.

I didn't know how many friends that he really had until I saw so many of them at his funeral. Over 500 of his friends came. Over 2,000 people attended, in all.

As a Deputy Sheriff for the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Indianapolis, IN; the department asked me if there was anything that they could do for me. I asked them for only one request.... "Honor my son as if I was the one that died". They granted me,"My wish".

They gave my son a "policeman's" funeral procession. He had deputy sheriff honor guards at each side of his casket for his viewing and funeral. Plus; he had 4 deputy sheriff motorcyles leading over 60 departmental vehicles with lights and sirens for his funeral procession. As we travelled to the cemetery in a 2 mile procession; all traffic stopped on all lanes and people on the sidewalks stopped and placed their hands over their hearts.

As I drove in my car behind the hearse; I had to remark outloud; "Son, do you see all those people?"

"They think that a police officer died." They don't know that it's a son of a police officer and that a large part of me died with you".




Alan - on patrol with Sheriff's Dept.



Alan - Sheriff's Dept. Honor Guard



Alan with Greg (Crawford's half-brother)




One of Crawford's senior year pictures



Crawford....at 17 years old


Crawford at 14 years of age / He loved bowling



Crawford, you made such an impression on everyone's life that you touched.


Crawford's Senior Year Photos






Crawford and Dad on the beach



My son, Crawford


I will miss you forever, son!




Please also visit my mother's (Crawford's grandmother - Gayle Carnahan) virtual memorial site and my father's (Crawford's grandfather - Donald Carnahan) that I have made for them here. Click on the links below to view their sites.

Gayle Jayne Carnahan


Donald Eugene Carnahan




We had to give up our lawsuit against the "specialist's" in the hospital. I had the best attorney looking at it that I could get here in Indianapolis, IN. He thought there was a chance until he got all the paperwork from the hospital. Even though the specialist's named the cause of his death as Leptospirosis on paper; the lab's tissue testing came up negative.

I've been told that Leptospirosis is very hard to identify and there's only certain tests and certain times while the person is still alive to have the tests done. If the tests on the tissues are not done at specfic times; they won't find it.

This was very heart breaking to me and his mother; not knowing. The attorney said that we couldn't even go after them for neglect after having to waiting in the ER for over 6 hours as he got worse.

He told me that no one wins against the hospital for delays of treatment.


My son walked into the ER and was put into a room where they took his blood pressure, took blood, and a urine sample. He and I stayed in that room for 4 hours while he got worse. I kept walking outside his room and talking to the nurses about the delay for testing just his blood and urine. At the doctor's office, it only takes 15 - 30 minutes.

They just told me that they had to wait for the results and to be calm. Once the ER doctor came back (AFTER 4 HOURS!); he told me that Crawford's kidneys and liver were shutting down on him and that they would get him "a room" to be observed throughout the night. WE WAITED ANOTHER 2 HOURS FOR THE HOSPITAL ROOM!

By the time that we got up stairs and in the hosptial room; another doctor came in and saw that his blood pressure was 57/28, instead of 120/80 (normal) and said, "Get him to ICU, STAT!" Then, he turned to his mother and I and told us that he was sorry that the doctor in the ER didn't have him go straight to ICU due to his condition.

All hell broke loose as they told us that he was wasn't responding to treatment and had him rushed to the CCU (critical care unit) from the ICU (intensive care unit). Did you know that ER doctors are contracted by the hospital and are not their employees? The hospital does this for fear of malpractice lawsuits. I can understand, why, now!

This is what I'm really mad about. The delay of treatment................... Would there have been such a delay in treatment if it had been the ER doctor's child?...

You know the answer.....






In the year 2010; his family started a scholarship in Crawford's memory at Ben Davis High School (His Alma Mater).


This annual scholarship will be awarded to a senior that wants to major in Automotive Technology and Design in college or a trade school. This was his dream.

We also started a annual CRAWFORD ALAN CARNAHAN golf outing in 2010. All proceeds will go to his scholarship. I started the scholarship with $1,000.00 and hope to expand it with proceeds from the annual outing.

In his "3 years later" page on this memorial site; I have put information about the scholarship. Another way to keep your memory alive and to help others as you did, son.



Below is a pic of your empty seat at graduation and one of me accepting your high school diploma for you.


Your loving father



My son; a wonderful young man of 18 years and 9 months old, has been taken from me.


You can symphathize with me; but, unless you are a parent who also has lost your child; you can never know how much of me such a young man can take away.


When Crawford was alive; I accounted myself a very fortunate man; and now, one of the most unfortunate of all.



I love you Crawford, my son





The most horrifying part of Crawford's fight for life came just after he told his girlfriend; "I love you...see you when I come out." He was then prepared for surgery. The hospital personel transferred him down the hallway into another room next to the surgery room. I followed them and had to stand just outside the room. They had the door open, but, had closed the drape around his bed.

The hospital personel started to insert the ventilator tube down his throat. We were unaware that this was done without him being sedated or unconscious. He was fully awake. As they were inserting the tube; Crawford, started gagging and thrashing around on the bed. They kept shoving the tube down his throat.

We found out later that his heartbeat reached 265 bpm (265 beats per minute). A normal resting heart beat is around 100. His was almost triple that. His heart raced as he was choking. Then................HE CODED!

CODED....is a medical term for HEART STOP OR NO HEARTBEAT! As I was outside the room; one nurse suddenly opened the drape and screamed; "GET A CRASH CART IN HERE...STAT!" All the nurses at a near by nurses table started running for the shock machine cart all at the same time. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing.

I started crying and put my head into my hands. I rushed to the waiting room where his mother and my wife were. I told them what I had seen and heard. They thought that I had misunderstood what was going on. I wish that I had. We all returned to outside the room and found out that they had shocked Crawford's heart and got it beating again.

The doctor and nurses then put him into unconsciousness and continued to prepare Crawford for surgery. HE NEVER GAINED CONSCIOUSNESS BEFORE HE DIED DAYS LATER. They never explained why they had to have Crawford conscious before putting the ventilator tube down his throat and into his lungs. I asked my father who had to be ventilated for a surgery of his own. He told me that they kept him conscious as he was being ventilated so that he could help them. They asked him to swallow as they pushed the ventilator down his throat. It must have been so painful for Crawford and scared him so much that it caused his heart to race until it STOPPED.

Crawford stopped swimming in any water (ocean or pools) when he was around 13 years old. I couldn't understand why he suddenly stopped swimming. He loved the water and loved swimming in the oceans on our cruises. I asked him over and over why he had this sudden "fear" of the water. One day he finally confided in me why he had stopped swimming.

Crawford told me that he was over at a friends house and was swimming by himself at the deep end of the pool when he developed cramps in both of his legs and on the side of his body. He desperately tried to call out to his friends that were in the shallow end of the pool. They were talking among themselves and didn't hear his cries for help. He struggled and went under a few times and then "dog paddled" his way to the edge of the pool as he tried to keep his head above water. He said that he was in intense pain and his arms and legs weren't responding. He told me that he was so scared. He had swallowed the pool water and was choking on it. He told me; "Dad, I just couldn't breathe; I was afraid that I was going to drown and die".

As I remember the hospital personel inserting the ventilator tube down Crawford's throat; I start to cry. I know that he was so scared when he couldn't breathe. He was reliving his worst experience......almost drowning in his friend's pool. Can a person be SCARED TO DEATH?.....I KNOW SO. They knew that his heart wasn't pumping blood properly to his other organs (His blood pressure was only 57/28 instead of the normal 120/80); that's why he was going into surgery. Didn't they think about what this would do to his heart? Didn't they know that pushing a large ventilator tube down a person's throat that had heart problems and trouble breathing; could cause their heart to accellerate as they are gasping for oxygen?.......UNTIL THE HEART CAN GO NO FASTER AND STOPS?

Every day; ER emergengy personnel have to ventilate persons that come into the ER that are unconscious. Why did they HAVE TO VENTILATE CRAWFORD WHILE HE WAS CONSCIOUS?

To watch your child suffer and die...is the worst thing a parent can ever see and experience in their life.


Please continue viewing and reading the following pages as I write down more memories of Crawford.

I use a lot of animations to give "life" to the pages. I wish that I could give life as I do on these pages.

Thank you for helping me keep my son's memory alive.


Photos of Crawford


What Will Matter

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear. So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.

It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?

How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought...but what you built; not what you got...but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success...but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned...but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence...but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew...but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.

What will matter is not your memories...but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered...by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters. This is how Crawford chose to live his life............





Son; I was told about a year ago, that placing a picture taken of you by your mother while you were in the CCU (the Critical Care Unit); was demeaning and in bad taste. We should remember you as you were and not what you looked like at your end.

I had this picture on your 1st page for years. I removed it when I was told this.

I have thought about it over and over since then. I have now replaced it here. Today, is September 22, 2011. It shows your last minutes here with us. All the memories are still so fresh in my mind. I remember how you laid there struggling for your life. You didn't want to leave us. You fought so hard, son.

This picture honors your fight to live. I just wish that I could have taken your place and given you the years left in my life. You were and forever will be a inspiration to those that knew you. To the strongest man that I have ever known.....


Crawford, we will remember you as long as we live.










My handsome son







Previous Page

Please sign the guestbook for Crawford by clicking here

This page has been visited 122128 times


Honor, cherish and share your loved one's story.


About VM    ::    FAQ    ::    Create    ::    Terms of Use    ::    Privacy Policy    ::    Resources    ::    Contact
Copyright (1996-2015) Virtual Memorials Inc. All rights reserved.