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Finding the positive side of death

Kelly Steinle of Osage said the positive that came out of her nephew's negatives was that he is now closer to his father.

When Jordan Bergstrom was 11 or 12 years old, his mother, Kris Karger, died suddenly of a heart attack. She was only 40 years old.

Steinle said the autopsy showed Karger had high cholesterol -- one of the arteries to her heart was 100 percent blocked and the other was 98 percent blocked.

"Mom only got sick every five years, and when she did, it was for two weeks," Bergstrom explained.

His mom had been sick for a couple weeks and was planning on going to the doctor the next day. She died before she made it to the hospital.

"It sucked," Bergstrom, now 16 and a 10th grader in Frazee High School, said of his mother's death. "You wake up as a usual routine. Mom is always there to get you up. Now it's someone else."

Plus, he added, there were lots of family members at his house for about a month after his mom's death.

When Karger died, she left behind her sons, Bergstrom and J.D. Karger.

"I go to the doctor now," he said.

Steinle added that after her sister died so young, all of Kris' siblings went to the doctor to have their cholesterol checked, which several found out was high as well.

"We all ran to the doctor after that," she said.

After his mother's death, J.D. stayed at the house for a period of time until it was sold and he moved to a summer cabin briefly. Bergstrom moved in with his aunt and uncle -- the Steinles.

"It started as a stay over and I never left," he said.

He ended up living with the Steinles for one year. He visited his dad, John Bergstrom of Detroit Lakes, on the weekends, as kind of a transition time, "gradually moving into his dad's." He also spent time with his mom's boyfriend, Bruce Trieglaff, who had become quite close to the two brothers.

After a year with the Steinles, Bergstrom was packing up to move into his dad's house permanently. They were packing up the last load of his belongings when they received word that J.D., 19 at the time, had been in a car accident and was in St. Mary's Regional Health Center.

J.D. was supposed to come visit his little brother that night.

The family rushed into Detroit Lakes, but J.D. had died before they arrived.

"It looked like someone hit him with a windshield because his face was full of glass and cuts," Bergstrom said.

He visits the graves of his brother and mother at Oak Grove Cemetery in Detroit Lakes. He said he was going to put flowers on the graves, but realized it was too cold now. He's contemplating plastic ones instead.

So how does a teenager deal with not only the death of his mother but also his only sibling?

First of all he got a dog. Trieglaff bought "Bear" for Bergstrom.

"I think if you didn't have that dog, you wouldn't have made it," Steinle said to Bergstrom.

Secondly, Bergstrom spoke with a psychiatrist for some time. Steinle said she was taking her nephew to the doctor to deal with his mother's death when his brother died as well.

The death of his brother hit a bit harder because now his mother and brother -- the two people he was closest to in life -- were both gone.

Bergstrom said he's doing good with his dad, and still talks to Trieglaff from time to time.

He's looking forward to starting baseball and driver's training.

Life has been an "adjustment," but he's dealing with it.