J.R. Storment and Jessica Brandes’ lives were turned upside down when their 8-year-old son Wiley suddenly died in his sleep last month. Storment and Brandes penned emotional essays about Wiley’s death on LinkedIn, opening up about their lives as a family of four in Oregon and the parents’ distinguished careers, her as a naturopathic doctor and him as a tech mogul.
Although they acknowledged regretting their hectic work schedules and urged working parents to make more time for their kids, Storment and Brandes’ social media profiles highlight sweet trips, silly moments and displays of familial love.
“Ollie enjoys a trike ride while Wiley waters the plants (chores!)” Storment wrote in a 2013 Instagram post of the twins, Wiley and Oliver, in a yard.
Another post that year showed the little boys sporting wide smiles as they played together in the water. Storment gave the photo a simple caption: “Summer is the best.”
According to Brandes’ essay on LinkedIn, Wiley died in his sleep likely due to Rolandic Epilepsy. Brandes found Wiley dead in his bed that day, called her husband and the authorities and then worked to break the news to Oliver.
“The weeks that followed were and continue to be a dizzy blur of people, apologies, food and flowers,” she wrote. “Our family of 4 now has to learn to be a family of 3. We’ve lost our son, and Oliver has lost his twin and his perpetual best friend since before birth.”
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Storment began his emotional essay by discussing how he founded his financial analysis company, Cloudability, around the time of his sons’ births eight years ago. According to his LinkedIn, Storment has been in the tech business for two decades, and has spent the last eight years “working with some of the largest cloud consumers in the world.”
Storment’s passion rubbed off on his son. The day after Wiley’s death, the family found the boy’s journal, in which he wrote that he planned to “develop technology” later on in life.
“Wiley was obsessed with starting a business. One day it was a smoothie stand, the next it would be a gallery, then a VR headset company, then a ‘coder,’ then a spaceship building company,” Storment wrote. “In each of these scenarios he was the boss. His brother (and sometimes us) were invited to work for—not with—him and were each assigned jobs.”
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In 2015, Brandes founded Infuse Health, an independent private medical practice based in Portland Oregon with another location in London. She often shared her expertise at health events. According to her LinkedIn, Brandes is also a tech lover and even owns a hot yoga practice.
Now the grieving parents are coming to terms with their new normal.
“We’re going to work on this new life—how to live it as best we can. We are navigating uncharted waters and we will be for the foreseeable future,” Brandes wrote. “If we’ve learned anything at all, it’s that life is fragile and time really can be so cruelly short. We wish a lot of things were different, but mostly we wish we’d had more time.”