By LOU WILIN
In his 19 years on earth, Kyle Trentman liked to laugh and to make others laugh. One of his favorite shticks was impersonating ventriloquist Jeff Dunham’s characters.
He was protective of his younger sister, Cathy. He liked to fish, golf and hunt.
He golfed and fished with his mother and stepfather, Jennifer and Josh Augsburger, in Bluffton. He hunted and fished with his father, Scott Trentman, in Arkansas.
“He would talk about his dad and how they would go hunting in Arkansas,” said his mother. “When he would go home (to Arkansas), he would talk about the stuff we did, like the golfing and fishing, or how his uncle would take him to Cedar Point.”
Kyle struggled to come to terms with divisions and strife in his family.
“Once he hit his teen years … it seemed there was a lot of rebellion, possible frustrations or regrets, whatnot,” Jennifer Augsburger said.
Custody of Kyle was taken away from his mother and given to his father and there was much bitterness in the family and extended family surrounding the conflict. Kyle was in the middle of it. He showed a lot of frustration, his mother said.
“He couldn’t control his anger. His temper was bad at times. It could get out of control … He got really upset. He would hit something,” she said.
“And then once he would calm down, he would cry. All I could do was reassure him that things weren’t going to happen again. I was sorry that this happened the way it did.”
Kyle did not live long enough to untangle all of those knots. In fact, his anger worsened when his heart literally broke, his mother said.
In December 2011, at age 17, he began having difficulty breathing. He initially was diagnosed with bronchitis. But medications did not work and months later, the diagnosis was changed to cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart.
The weakening of the heart in turn weakened his lungs. Kyle needed a heart and double-lung transplant, which Arkansas Children’s Hospital was unable to do.
“They told his dad on April 4, which was his dad’s birthday (and two weeks before Kyle’s 18th birthday), that they should let (Kyle) go, that we should let go of him, and let him pass away,” she said.
But Kyle’s family was not ready to let go. They got him to the Cleveland Clinic, where Kyle received a heart and double-lung transplant in August 2012.
By October 2012, he was living with his mother in Rudolph. But Jennifer became concerned because the doctors had said Kyle should stay active, and he was not.
“Not as active as I would have thought he should have been,” she said.
Kyle seemed to think he was invincible and seemed to take his second chance for granted, she said.
More than once, Jennifer tried to get to him.
“This kid lost his life so you could have a life … This teen gave up his life and you received the transplant, and you act like it was no big deal,” she recalled telling him.
“You have been given a second chance at life and you just don’t seem to really care about it.”
After one of his mother’s exhortations, Kyle improved.
“But not a whole lot. Not enough to probably make a whole difference he needed to have made. He just seemed like he was invincible to whatever in the world,” Jennifer said. “He was taking things for granted.”
Kyle was not invincible. His body’s mild transplant rejections, which had been manageable, gave way to more severe ones.
In September, he began to decline. He had difficulty breathing and was hospitalized at the Cleveland Clinic. He developed pneumonia.
Kyle died Nov. 13.
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