On Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007, at 9:20 p.m., the call came from Rowan University.
“Mrs. Farrell?” the officer said.” Your son Donnie has been assaulted. The ambulance is taking him now to Cooper University Medical Center in Camden. You need to come.”
Fueled with fear, minds in a fog, my husband and I headed to Camden. Two and a half hours later, our car pulls past the police cars lining the emergency room.
My husband, Donald, and I are ushered in and quickly swept away from Donnie’s girlfriend, but not before she says, “Donnie is out of surgery.”
I dropped to my knees to kiss the ground in thanks, only to be immediately picked up by an aide. “The doctors want to speak with you.”
We are led toward a small room near the trauma intensive care unit. My brain is screaming, “Oh no…not the little room…please don’t take us to the little room.”
His brain has suffered extreme damage. Prognosis grave. My husband and I were escorted into thetrauma ICU and brought to our son’s bedside. My beautiful boy. Lying there. Eyes closed. Unresponsive. Tubes, buzzers, people scurrying. How could this be?
Donald James Farrell III, the second oldest of my four children, was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
How do you live after the murder of your precious child?
My survival from then until today was, and is, nurtured by many. Believe me; I did NOT want to survive. Every bone and every muscle in my body ached to be where my son was. But that was not fair to my other three wonderful children who I adore. It is the love of family, support of friends, care of a neighborhood, and the generosity of strangers which supports my survival.
For me to survive is to believe that God is there every step of the way. Every day that my eyes open in the morning, I pray for the strength, faith, and courage, to get through another day without my boy. I’m also strengthened by my boy’s gift of life to others. His liver, kidneys, and heart valves were donated so others could have a second chance at life.
Today, I have an awareness that I was in the throes of the fires of hell. To make it through, I must focus on the other side. Keep moving. I have to keep moving, face forward, step by step, to avoid getting stuck in the middle. If that were to happen, that I had gotten stuck, which would be very easy to do, I would not have survived. I would have been swallowed up and would have succumbed to the flames. The road that my life is taking me on now is an adventurous one. My oldest child is to be married in one month. My ‘easy button’ child is prospering. My youngest son is now moving off to college in North Carolina.
And guess what….I smile a lot at my job!