Curren’s Story: (Re-posted with permission from Heaven Has A Hero: Curren Collas)
Written By: Jackie Collas
I wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. I feel like “Thank you” is exponentially inadequate. I wish that I could explain how much I appreciate everyone’s kind words, thoughts, prayers and hugs. Each and every message has meant the world to me and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the food, fruit and flowers.
Words do not do this justice at all.
Not too long ago Jake shared a story with me about a little boy passing away, I immediately grabbed my heart, took a deep breath and teared up. I was so deeply saddened. I could not imagine the pain the parents went through. I was right. The pain of losing your child is nothing you can ever imagine. It actually hurts physically. They are a part of every aspect in your life. You see them in all and everything you do. You cannot escape it. Something as simple as seeing his sippy cup sitting at his spot at the table, is excruciating.
The image of him from that day is forever burned into my mind.
It is there when I least expect it, when I shut my eyes, when I walk into his room… it’s there… haunting me… forever.
For you who know me, you know how fiercely I love my children. They are my whole life. The best part of my life. They are everything. My one job in this world is to make sure they are healthy, happy and safe. I failed. I know that I should not blame myself, but I do. Curren needed me. He needed me. He needed me to save him. To keep him safe. The one time that he needed me, I was not there for him and that guilt I will feel for the rest of my life. I just want my baby. I want him back. I hurt so deeply. And I am angry that I was not there for him.
Some people have asked me how it happened. I want to tell you the story of how my little baby love left this world. Everyone that has come by or called, I have told. I feel like I could not share this in a text. I could not tell this in a couple of sentences. I want to do him justice. I hate that I have to put this in words. Words are just words. They have no emotion. I thought of making a video so you could understand better, but I don’t think that I could calmly tell this.
The story begins on the morning of Tuesday, February 25th.
I went up to get Curren dressed for breakfast like I do every morning. As soon as I opened the door I knew something was wrong. The dresser was completely flipped over. Then I saw that his body was trapped underneath the dresser.
At that point I started screaming. His head was trapped between the edge of the bed and all of the weight of the dresser was laying across his neck. I tried ripping the dresser off of him. It took me a couple tries to pick it up. I wedged my body between the dresser and Curren so I could scoop him up. I tried to pick him up like I normally do, but his little body and neck was so floppy. I am not sure why I thought he would be OK. I think I was just in denial.
His face was completely purple from broken blood vessels, but he was still warm. I placed him on the bed and tried to feel for a heartbeat. At the time I was still screaming and uncontrollably shaking. I’m not sure why they say check for a heartbeat. I was shaking so bad I would have never found one.
I picked him up in my arms and rushed downstairs. I immediately called 911 and began CPR. The ambulance came and took my baby to Paoli Hospital without me. I answered all of the detectives questions, gave my statement and waited for the little boy’s mom that I was watching to come pick him up. While I was waiting, I told Jake to get to the hospital asap. While a police officer drove me to the hospital I kept thinking that he would be OK. I thought I would walk into the room and I would see his big blue eyes. That he would just need to heal.
Never in a million years did I think he wouldn’t make it.
When I walked into the ER they pulled me aside and told me to wait down the hall in a little room. As soon as they said it, my heart sank. I knew that something was very wrong, but still thought he would be OK. Jake walked in the room. I asked him if he was OK.
He shook his head and told me that he died.
I started screaming at him that he was lying. That he was lying and that my baby wasn’t dead. Why was he lying to me? He told me that he was not lying. I just screamed and screamed and screamed. The only way that I can explain it was that my heart was being ripped out of my body. It was a soul piercing scream that only a mother can make. I then yelled at everyone to let me see him. Looking back I feel so bad for scaring the whole ER.
I went through the door to find my little boy laying on the bed with tubes coming out of his mouth. He was so small. He was so still. I went and wrapped my arms around him and hugged his cold body. I held his little hand. I rubbed his beautiful little feet and begged him to come back to me. I held my still little boy in my arms for an hour after he died. I layed on the bed with my arms around him and tried to keep him warm. I smelled his hair. I kissed his face. I felt like I was dying and at that point I wanted to.
I then realized that I would never see those big blue eyes again. I would never wake him up and have him run into my arms and tell me “Morning Mama, love you. Dressed? Breakfast?” I would never put him to sleep by singing him all of his favorite songs and tickling him like crazy. After I held him and said good bye I just wanted to hug Aiden, Isabella and Hayes. It was almost time for Hayes to get home from school and I needed to be there for him. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do – leaving my little Curren there all alone. I have never been apart from him for more than 2 hours. I realized that time would just keep growing.
The police officers that were with us told us that they sent an officer to the kids’ school to gather them for us to pick up. We picked up the kids and drove them home. I asked them to take their shoes off, put away their backpacks, hang up their coats and have a seat on the couch. I told them that Curren had an accident. That he tried to climb up his dresser and it fell over on him. That when the dresser fell on him he could not breathe. That Curren died.
Immediately Isabella started hysterically crying. Hayes looked around and kept asking where his little brother was. Aiden was silent. We told Hayes that he went to heaven and that he was with my daddy. That Grampa would take care of him now. That we wouldn’t see him with our eyes any more but we would feel him with our hearts. Bella couldn’t stop crying. Aiden was silent. After a bunch of consoling and hugs, Aiden started searching the house. He searched for Curren’s favorite toys and put them at his spot at the table. We talked about Curren and told silly stories until bed time. Aiden climbed into bed with us and we talked for hours and he fell asleep with his arm wrapped around me.
Yes, It hurts so much that he passed away. But it is the little things that sneak up and literally bring you to your knees. It is seeing his sippy cup sitting at his spot at the table. Seeing the empty chair while we eat dinner. It is opening our pantry to find his play food put away with the real food. Finding his cars in his secret little hiding places. Telling the kids to keep their voices down because the baby is sleeping before you realize what just slipped out of your mouth. It is moving something up higher so that he can’t get it. It is walking into his room and smelling… him… looking at his little slippers that he puts away carefully everyday.
I am wondering how we are going to get through this. Will we ever heal? Will the pain become more bearable? Will the things that are causing so much pain now give me a little smile in the future? I told Jake that I feel like I needed to have physical pain. Like I needed something to distract me from the complete devastation that I was feeling. Something else that I could concentrate on so it wouldn’t hurt so bad. I just want my baby. I want him back.
The reason I had to share this story with so much detail is that I don’t ever want to forget. I am so afraid that my memories of Curren will fade. I wanted to share this because I want you to learn from my mistakes. Bolt EVERYTHING down. Dressers, book shelves, TVs, anything that could possibly fall.
Please share this. Pass this advice on. Hug your children with everything you have. Tell them you love them.