The Last Six Minutes Virtual Book Tour

•August 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Last Six Minutes-A Mothers Loss & Quest for Justice – Virtual Book Tour

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The Last Six Minutes-A Mothers Loss & Quest for Justice Book Trailer

•July 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

A look into what you can read in this book….

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Losing Matthew

•April 18, 2009 • 18 Comments
September 20, 1988 - July 2, 2005

September 20, 1988 - July 2, 2005

I can not even begin to describe the emotional pain I have endured since the loss of my beautiful son Matthew. There are no words to explain the pain that emanates from my soul. My life as I knew it, ended on the morning of July 2nd, 2005, when I had to say goodbye forever to my 16 year old son. I would not even get the chance to kiss his beautiful face, or even look into those eyes, as he was covered with blood soaked towels. The only thing I was given to hold were his hands, and even so, the stench of his blood that had seeped into his skin and fingernails remains with me always. Watching my son take his last breath was the most terrifying moment of my life, I wanted it to be me, not this child who had so much to give back to this world, who had so much love to give.

This is my last memory of him before he passed on. Leaving my sonʼs body at the hospital, and not even getting any of his belongings only exacerbated the situation for me. Not a single item of clothing, jewellery, wallet, nothing was left for me to hold onto to. Driving home from the hospital that day was the longest drive of my life, I knew that his two younger brothers would be anxiously waiting to see their brother coming home with us, with some stitches and cuts, but no, I was left tell them that their brother had succumbed to the brutal assault to his brain and body. I watched his siblings go from being happy little boys, to angry ones, in a matter of hours. Standing in the shower screaming their brotherʼs name, asking God why? What had they done to deserve this?

For the first 6 months after Matthew passed away, my mind would actually try and tell me that it was a mistake, that the boy who died was not actually my son. I fought hard to repress these feelings, sitting by the bay window of our home, waiting, watching for Matthew to come home as I usually did before his death. It wasnʼt until I realized that the reasons I was feeling this was because I never got to see his face, not even during his funeral, as the damage to his head/face were too severe. I truly felt as though I were losing my mind, I really believed he was going to come through the front door. I have since been able to grasp that he is gone, but I will never be okay with it, never.

Matthewʼs younger siblings lives will forever be changed, nothing will ever give them pleasure, as they tend to have guilt, guilt for having a moment of happiness, when their big brother will never have any of it. It has taken me over a year to even allow my children the luxury of having any kind of social lives, Iʼm afraid that something will happen to them, afraid someone will hurt them, or even worse kill them. I have become a hovering mother, who must be in constant contact with my children. If they are even 5 minutes late coming in from school, I begin to panic, and have anxiety. My mind starts to think of the most horrible things, and Iʼm ready to call the police over every little thing. This of course has taken a toll on my relationship with the boyʼs, as they donʼt understand why they are being punished for being late after school, or for wanting to go visit their friends. The impact this has had on Matthewʼs two younger brothers has been severe. Braydan was just nine at the time of Matthewʼs death, and has had to try and deal with the pain in his own little way. He has shown his grief by becoming defiant, and angry at the adults around him. He has had to be removed from the only school he has ever known, due to his inability to focus on his academics. His teachers have informed me that he had begun signing his work, and the school sign in sheets as Matthew Martins, when asked why he had done this, he stated that he wanted to live his life as Matthew, and didnʼt want for anyone to forget his brother. He even went as far as to dress exactly as Matthew would in hopes of preserving his brothersʼ memory in his own little way. Braydan has also kept Matthewʼs shoes at the end of his bed since this happened, and every once in awhile he will slip them on, trying to be close to his brother, he also sleeps in his brothers shirts, and has asked that I not wash them, as he finds comfort in the clothing smelling like his big brother.

He has had to have weekly visits to a child Psychologist, to try and get through his grief with Play Therapy. Braydan will now be moved again for the third time since this all happened to the Alderwood Program, a school for children who need constant therapeutic and psychiatric care. I can only pray that he will find some inner strength to get through all of this, but as a mother I fear that this pain will indeed last for what should be the most carefree, wonderful years of his life. He also carries a little framed photo of his brother where ever he goes, he keeps this in his pocket as a little reminder that Matthew is with him.

Mitchell who was just days away from his 13th Birthday will forever be reminded of his brothersʼ death, at a time when he should be celebrating. Mitchell has not been well since this happened, and now suffers with terrible anxiety, and depression. Since his brotherʼs death, he has begun sleeping with his bedroom lights on, and has left school due to bouts of anxiety and not wanting to leave the house. We continue to try and find Mitchell resources to help, but his reluctance to discuss his problems with others has made it difficult. Mitchell now sleeps in Matthewʼs room so that he can feel closer to him, all of Matthewʼs pictures and posters just where he had left them. Many nights I hear Mitchell crying himself to sleep, and all I can do is hold him, and comfort him. He cries out in pain for his brother to come back, but I can never bring his brother back, or change the events of that horrible night.

.When Matthew was killed, I was in the first Trimester of my pregnancy, I fought so hard to try and keep strong, but the shock and stress of it all would eventually challenge the life of my unborn child also. At 27 weeks I was under complete bed rest due to premature labor, and bleeding. I was sent into an even greater depression, afraid I was going to have to endure the loss of another child. This pregnancy and my family were the only thing keeping me together through all of this, and I knew that if I lost this baby, it would for certain be my demise. The thought of Matthew not being able to hold or meet his new baby sister caused me so much grief and angst. It was as though I was constantly being tortured every second of the day and night. The boyʼs had begun suppressing their sadness as they saw how this affected me on a daily bases. They would hide and cry, or lash out at others in anger; they no longer trusted the adults around them to protect them from their fears.

My career as a Medical Professional working in Acute/Palliative Care was over, I could no longer perform my duties to assist those who needed my constant focus, and total confidence. The constant anxiety of being in the hospital room began to show in my work ethics, and in this field there is no room for error, when someoneʼs life is at stake. I felt as though I was reliving the final hours of Matthewʼs life every time I entered a patients room. I would see him lying there, taking his last breath. I also tried to return to the Clinic I had been at for a few years before and after Matthewʼs death, just to try and keep busy. I found that I know longer felt for the patients the way I had once, I could no longer tolerate the transients, drug addicts that would come in to seek medical attention. I would be angry with them, as I felt that perhaps their lifestyle choices were similar to those who had assaulted my son. I also found myself becoming very upset when young men or women would come in after having been assaulted, I could no longer separate what was happening in my life, with that of work. I have since not returned, and must try now to find other employment, and to think that once I thrived, and loved everything about my job, but now I must resort to trying to find something else.

I unfortunately will never trust again, I have a hatred for others that I never had before. Iʼm so very angry still, and this I have no doubt will take years to overcome. There are those who have asked me if I could ever find it in my heart to forgive the ones who did this, and I truly donʼt think I ever will. I pray that my sons face, and the sound of his screams haunt them for the rest of their living days, as I am haunted by these thoughts every moment of the day. I am plagued with night terrors, I can hear Matthew yelling for help, but I canʼt find him, Iʼm in a panic, running, always running towards the sound of his voice, but I canʼt find him. I jolt from these night terrors, and cry uncontrollably, as the thought that my son is calling out for me to help him, and as a mother not being there to protect him when he needs me most, is a pain so great, I can physically feel it.

The financial strain that this has had on my family has been tremendous. I was ill prepared for the cost of Matthewʼs funeral. I had no idea how we were going to come up with just under 30,000.00 in less than two weeks. A trust fund was set up, and had it not been for the kindness of strangers, and family, my husband and I would not have been able to bury our son in a manner agreeable to our religious beliefs. It has taken my husband and I until now to finally pay back the financial institutes, and our family members. The strain of this and my not returning to work has created unmentionable financial stress on my husband. He must now support me, and the three children on one income.

The toll this has taken on us can never be repaired. I think of all that Matthew would have grown to be, and all that he will never experience in life. Matthew was to graduate from High School the following year, but instead his chair was left empty, his name never to be called, to walk across the stage feeling triumphant. These things we will never have. Matthew will never know what it feels like to fall in love, to marry the girl of his dreams. He will never watch his own children come into this world. Matthewʼs life has been robbed of so many things that can never be replaced. Our lives will forever be altered, a life with so many dreams, and aspirations that will never come to fruition.

Not only has our family suffered this terrible loss, but we have had to endure in graphic details all that Matthew suffered that terrible night. The toll that the past few weeks of this trial has taken on our family is horrendous. Not only did we lose Matthew, but we also lost our Father during the trial. My father died not even knowing the outcome of this trial. We must live the rest of our days, with the constant pain of what we have heard, and seen during this time. I can only pray that we will finally have some closure to this matter, and that my beautiful son will Rest in Peace.

Sandra Martins-Toner