My beautiful fifteen-year-old child died July 29, 2009. It was around 8 p.m. Jeffrey was walking home from our town’s church carnival. He took the longer route to be safe, crossing at the crosswalk. We didn’t know at the time but the crosswalk had many faults—it was a lurking killer.
When the pedestrian walk signal turned green, he walked. Stranded after only seven seconds in the 5 lane state roadway, the crosswalk turned red, giving traffic the right of way. Six feet from the curb my son was struck by a car, he was flailing in the street, his body broken and he suffered a brain stem injury. Cars simply fought to get around his body, rushing, not noticing a boy struggling in the street. He was alive but unconscious for four days in the hospital.
An ambulance worker from his accident came to see us at the hospital. She said he seemed conscious, crying out, “It hurts, it hurts” but we never heard his voice again. The coroner’s report said he died of a brain injury, he said it was an accident, leaving my son’s death no one’s fault. Six months prior, two other pedestrians were killed at the same intersection. If the state would fix the faulty crosswalk, then my son would be alive today.
Jeffrey was an aspiring artist; we shared our talents and helped each other with new creativity. He was kind, caring and wise beyond some grownups. It’s been almost two years; I just can’t move on, I miss him so much.
I was a stay at home mom; he was my baby, my life. I would make him tea every day after school, then we would go over his homework, I would ask him what he wanted me to cook, he loved my cooking, he was a big boy for just turning fifteen. He loved my cooking. He also gave great hugs; I miss that the most. He had a comforting way about him that always made me smile.
I have two other grown children and two grandchildren.
Other things that have helped me in the past: Last year, I helped change the laws to make a sidewalk bill that would protect people when crossing in my state. I display Jeffrey’s art in our town library and at fundraising events to earn scholarship money in the arts and special education in his name. Being close to my grandchildren helps me move forward on the days my heart bleeds with the sadness of loss. Spending time with Jeffrey s closest friends has helped me see what he would be doing these days if he were still alive. His room is now a sunset with his paintings, drawing, and memories.
These days, the pain is so great I chose to leave my home, my husband, and my life. The memories cut so deep, passing the church where he was baptized, the carnival was there, his wake, and fundraisers are held there in his memory. At the end of my street is the constant memory of where he was hit, the thoughts of his lonely pain plagues me.
I have seen him in my dreams, It started with images of colors moving raptly across the outer walls to his room, then he walked behind us with his friends close to me, he always comes in silence, willing to give me needed hugs, it warms me. I always know in my breams that I miss him, but I never realize he is dead. I try to put it together as he fades from my dream. Only when I wake up, does the reality of my nightmare begin again. My baby is gone, and then the tears fall hard again from deep in my heart.
I lost my dad the September before Jeffrey died, then my best aunt the following March. I was very sad, but I was able to get through it. Losing a child has changed my life forever. Some people say, he is gone, move on. Or your sadness will keep him from the light. I just think to myself they are lucky to have never felt my pain, that why they are so clueless. I can tell now after almost two years that the pain will never go away. But then, it’s my love for him that makes me hurt so badly, so I wouldn’t trade it for the world. God bless and live on!