It has been a year since I saw my son alive. I woke about 0550 on July 12th a Monday.
I was nursing Callun and hadn't since about 10 pm so I woke up suddenly. I had no idea what time it was until much later, much later.
When I went to check on Callun, I knew instantly. From the moment I saw him. My heart wanted to believe different, but my mind was being honest. I knew everything that I was saying and doing was totally and completely in vain. I didn't care, I wasn't ready to give up hope that he could be revived. That somehow a miracle would happen as I held him in my arms in the entryway.
I couldn't be 100% honest with the 911 operator. I don't remember his name but I know his voice/face. He was one of the guys that did the fire safety "commercials". I screamed into the phone all the necessary information about where I lived and the need for them to hurry. I probably could have run to the ER just as fast as what it took them to get to the house with the ambulance, but I couldn't leave Colt and Cam upstairs alone asleep. The guy on the phone talked me through what I already knew and was already doing, but I knew, I already knew.
I thought if I kept trying if I didn't say the words out loud that somehow they wouldn't be true.
The night before my dear friend Kelly's husband left his wallet in my kitchen, she came to retrieve his wallet so he could go to work. At that moment God sent Kelly to be my angel. Kelly tried to wake Thressa, made sure Bo got locked in his cage so he didn't try to attack the police, she flagged down and opened the door for emergency personnel,made sure when I left the house I had on shoes, all in less than 30 seconds. Most importantly she knew, she knew by the look in my eyes what I didn't need to say. I just kept saying "this is bad, really really bad" I know that these are words that will haunt her forever. Images that are engraved in our minds, images we wish we could remove.
There were so many things that happened in those first few moments. When we got to the hospital it was a whirlwind of noise, yelling, what seemed to be totally controlled chaos. I tried to sit on the floor in the corner to watch what was happening, in an effort to make things somehow different than they were. A nurse sat me in an office, where I immediately tried to contact help, someone to find my husband.
Then I heard a familiar voice in the hall, and hesitation on the part of the ER clerk, who then decided it might be in his best interest to let this woman in the door. It was the second angel sent to my side that morning. Thressa, she may be little but not even an act of GOD was gonna keep her from finding me that morning. Once we were together I knew that things weren't getting better. People weren't running anymore, things were getting more and more quiet, people weren't making eye contact when walking by the room we were sitting in.
I wanted to throw up, but I couldn't.
I felt like I couldn't breathe, but I could.
My legs felt like jello.
My head was in a fog.
Instinct had taken over and I was doing and saying things as if just to keep my world in focus. Like if I stopped for one second that this nightmare would take over an become real. Then came the doctor. He said the words that I knew were coming and that I didn't want to here. "We have been working on him for more than 40 mins. At this point...." I tuned him out. I really don't know what he said after that. I had to tell the doctors and nurses to stop trying to save my baby.
When I walked in the room they were still doing CPR. The anesthesiologist was a friend of mine, who went from a Dr doing her job to a friend who said "oh Angela, I am so sorry" when she realized that it was my son in her arms. She was there when we stiched up Camden's face after his bike crash, she was there when Callun was born, and I know in my heart she would not have given up if there was something more they could do for Callun that day. There were a lot of people in that room, some old, some young, some new, some with lots of experience, but they all had the exact same look when I walked into the room.
The Dr stood somewhere behind Thressa and I and reminded me that I needed to be the one to tell them to stop working on Callun. These were words that never came out of my mouth. These are words you don't ever say as a parent. You don't tell someone it is ok to stop trying to make your baby breathe, make his heart start again. I just simply told them I wanted to hold my baby. At some point during all of this my dear friend Melissa and Chaplain Bridges showed up. Thressa and I were thankful to have an extra set of eyes and ears to be there for us as we were both in a fog a sea of tears and not knowing what was going to happen next
I held my son, we looked at his hands, his quirky ear, rubbed his feet, stroked his face. Tried everything to not do what we were going to have to do. The doctors wanted me to say goodbye. They wanted me to leave my baby boy and go home. I know I just kept saying I wasn't strong enough, that I didn't know how to do it, that I couldn't leave him there. I know several times I said that stuff like this doesn't happen in real life, that all of this couldn't be happening to me, to us, why us? We cried. Everyone in the room was in tears. I still replay several instances during that morning in my head only it seems that I am a bystander watching like it is a movie. A horrible scene from a movie that you have to see through to the happy ending. Only there wasn't one.
They said it was time to go, that they had gotten a hold of people and Brett would be calling soon. This was the first of many horrible phone calls that morning. I had to tell my husband that there would be no smile to come home to, that there would be no slobbery baby kisses, no little giggle, nothing would be right. After reassuring me that he would get to me as soon as humanly possible it was time for us to leave the hospital.
The walk to the elevator was unbearable. The walk to the car even worse. The worst wasn't over, I had to tell my two beautiful boys that there baby brother was not coming back. This is a moment that I wish I could do over, but I can't. I would have taken them in the house, sat them down, but I knew if I didn't tell them right then and there that the words were not going to come out of my mouth. They are smart they already knew something was wrong, very wrong. There were police at the house, and we were not allowed to go back inside. So right there on the street I told the boys. They cried, looked at me disbelieving, no questions at this point just lots of tears.
The weather was strange and we needed to get off the street before people started wondering what was going on. Inside Sonya's house we went, a safe place. There were so many things that started happening at this time. Things I didn't want to do. The AF equivalent to CSI came in and talked to me, then they took all I had left of my son. His clothes, little did I know they had already taken many other items out of the house. They were awful, tactless people, who kept saying they cared and understood this must be hard but all the while making things difficult. They created my door nazis, my protectors. From that moment on no body got through without their permission. Never underestimate the power of a bunch of really short women.
My girls did everything, helped locate phone numbers, find a way to get in touch with Julie and waited with me while I had to make phone calls that I just didn't want to make. They took care of me, but I know it was just our way of taking care of each other. Beginning that morning, we were fed, clothed, the kids were taken care of. They made me eat, sleep, shower and never left me alone.
That night since I couldn't sleep Kelly and I sat up and talked, we both noticed that there was only one star in the sky that night, Callun, he was watching to make sure mommy was ok. I know he still watches and still sees. I never thought that I would get through that first night, let alone this first year.
There are so many people that are not mentioned here, so many details left out. Please know that you all deeply helped me and that I could not have gotten through the day alone.
My life is different now, It will never be the same. I will never be the same. I can only hope that someday there will be a cause, a cure for this horrible tragedy. I pray my boys will never have to experience the loss that I have.