FLOWER MOUND (CBSDFW.COM) – A Flower Mound family is preparing to bury their 17-year-old son, who died from complications of the flu during a holiday vacation.
The last picture of Max Schwolert shows him enjoying Christmas morning in Wisconsin, where his parents and two sisters spent the holiday. But by that evening, he was violently ill.
His father, Tom, says Max had signs of the flu earlier, but thought the teen was recovering. When the family stopped at a Minnesota hospital during the drive back to North Texas, doctors said Max's kidneys were failing.
"He looked at me and said 'I'm scared mom.' He had tears and I said 'I am too Max,' and he gathered himself and said 'It's going to be OK, Mom. I love you.' And that's really the last thing he coherently said to me," says Max's mother, Melanie Schwolert. "Parents are supposed to be telling their kids it's going to be OK. He was telling us it its going to be OK."
Max died after four days in a hospital fighting the flu and a staph infection.
An overwhelming display of love and support greeted the Schwolert's when they returned home Wednesday. A memorial has been set up to remember Max at his church, where he taught Sunday school. It's surrounded by panda bears because of a nickname friends came up with for the 6'4" Marcus High School senior because of his size and gentle nature.
"It's insane. It's not fair. I don't get it. Why such an amazing brother had to go? But I guess that's what it takes to make such a big impact on this community because he has," says Max's sister, Jazmine Schwolert.
The Marcus High School senior was preparing for college and had his sights set on a school in the state where he died.
"The ironic thing is he kept waiting for an acceptance letter from the University of Minnesota, and he got it today," says his mother.
Despite their sudden and heartbreaking loss, the Schwolert's faith remains unshaken, and they say they will keep spreading Max's message of love.
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