It was Feb 28th 2013, the waves were firing that day at La Lancha. We had discovered this surf spot a month earlier and since we had our truck and it was only a short drive it was our go to spot with perfect waves for us. We’d only been there about an hour when another surfer came paddling out frantically yelling “Colorado – Colorado!!” Yes, that’s us we replied. Something has happened with your son, you need to get back and go to the hospital. We had a frantic paddle in. Which son was it? What hospital? As we got to the beach we could see Kalden there with two women (our neighbors). They told us Axel ‘fell’ in the pool and was pulled out unconscious but they think he is ok. “Get to the hospital in San Pancho, QUICK!” We ran the 1/4 mile up a dirt path back to the road jumped in the truck and took off. The whole time we are saying, he’s gotta be fine, they got him out.
It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hospital and once there they had to locate the doctor that spoke english as we waited. Finally he came out, brought us into an office and gave us the news that buckled our legs, Axel was dead. We were allowed to see him, he was on a hospital bed covered in a white sheet, we hugged him, kissed him and sobbed uncontrollably. Though I remember that moment like it was yesterday, it is still unimaginable to me.
And how do you move out of a moment like that? How do you leave your dead child behind and return to any sort of routine?
In what I suppose was our first step towards the Axel Project we left all of Axel’s toys, clothes, and Chariot there and they were donated to a local orphanage.
The following day, trying to put a bit of normalcy back in Kalden’s life we took him to the beach for a few hours and let him go surfing. Jen and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the beach trying to process everything.
We made it home to the open arm’s of our community devastated but with a massive support group. Over the next few months we pieced our lives back together adjusting to the new ‘normal’ and started the Axel Project.
During this month leading up to the one-year anniversary of Axel’s death I find myself unbelievably sad and also filled with guarded happiness. We are having a baby boy in May, a baby that is currently kicking and growing and can now even open his eyes. He is alive while his brother is dead. What to do with this reality?
One year later not much has happened in the criminal case. About 3 months after Axel was raped and murdered the Mexican Police released a DNA report which clearly showed they found Axel’s blood on the man’s cloths. However, he has “appealed his arrest”. Our lawyer assures us this is normal and there is no problem it just needs to go through the process. Both he and the sitter remain in jail awaiting a trial.
The world remains unsafe but yet there are miracles, light and happiness all around. It’s not a coincidence that today we launch our Kickstarter campaign for our children’s book. A ray of light in the darkness. If you have not had a chance to support the Axel Project yet please go over there today and contribute. You can support us with as little as $5.