Michael Nattoo – Staff Reporter
“The image of his body lying there in the morgue, I can’t get it out of my head. When I close my eyes, I see him. I keep seeing them wrapping his broken body in a bag, wrapping him in a sheet and putting him in a bag – he was my only child, my son. I haven’t slept in days…” – the words of Easton Stapleton Snr who, despite not being able to sleep over the past few days, has been trapped in every parent’s worst nightmare.
He has not been able to shake the image of his deceased 7-year-old from his mind, and with no professional help forthcoming, it seems that damning nightmare is set to continue.
Last Friday, June 15), the Western Mirror reported on the tragic incident which claimed the life of young Easton Stapleton Jr, who was involved in a freak accident on the grounds of the Anchovy Primary School. The minor had reportedly just left class, when he was moments later run over by a teacher’s car, killing him on the spot.
“Most of my family is out of the country, so aside from friends who called me when they saw me on the news, I’ve really gotten no professional help to get through this… and I need it,” a sleep-deprived Stapleton explained to the Western Mirror. The grieving father revealed that because of thoughts he harboured following the tragedy surrounding his son, and in a desperate bid to get some form of psychiatric help, he considered going to the Cornwall Regional Hospital.
“I just wanted to go somewhere, to talk to someone. Generally, when I talk to people in the streets or elsewhere, they just try to rationalize what happened to my son. But I don’t want that,” Stapleton lamented, citing that he just wanted a listening ear, and is disheartened that no professional has seen it fit to reach out to him, despite him giving his contact information to a number of them who requested such from him at the time of his son’s death.
Conversely, according to Stapleton, the mother of his son has been getting the professional help he so desperately needs, but he revealed that their strained relationship has prevented him from partaking in it. “She lives in Ramble, but I was told by a relative of hers that I am not allowed to visit the house,” Stapleton explained. He continued: “The other day I was at home and I was thinking about everything, and I started feeling something in my chest. I had to go to one of my neighbour’s, who helped me to feel better.” Stapleton added that the whole incident has taken a toll on him, both physically and mentally, and reveals that the isolation he now feels has made everything worse.
“Sometimes I’m walking and talking to myself, asking ‘EJ (short for Easton Jnr), why you gone? Why didn’t you come home?’ It’s just been really tough,” the hurting father said, “I don’t know… I don’t know how to take it. I’ve never had a child before, I’ve never had a relative who’s lost a child before, so everything – from his death to dealing with it, is all new to me. It’s all new territory for me.”
In the meantime, despite his grief, Stapleton has considered ways of curtailing incidents such as the one which cost him his son, explaining to the Western Mirror that the government needs to do more in order to prevent these kinds of accidents.
“This happened on a school compound, so it could have been any other child. The government needs to consider dedicating separate roadways for children and cars on school properties. More than one kid could have died, you know? They need to look at something, to make some kind of change to prevent these things,” Stapleton proposed.
Stapleton looked exhausted, but without being prompted to, revealed that his son would have officially lived with him in November – something they both excitedly looked forward to.
“You know, I remember going up by his school, and hugging him and kissing him, telling him I needed him to focus because I want him to get an education,” Stapleton reminisced. “You know how kids get when they are around their friends, he was embarrassed, but he was happy. As opposed to other reports, I’ve known my son way before and far longer than two months and was looking forward to many more. Now, none of that will happen. Somehow, I still can’t come to grips with this, because I refuse to accept that it’s real.”
Stapleton revealed that he has since made attempts to get in touch with the investigating officer handling his son’s case, as he wishes to expedite the process for the autopsy, which he was told may take place within three to six months. However, he has not been able to reach the officer.
“I’ve tried calling the officer, but his phone rings without end. I even visited the police station wanting to get in touch with him, or even a superintendent, but nobody seems to care enough about my requests,” he explained.
Even so, Stapleton holds out hope that he will soon get the help he needs and remains optimistic that his son’s autopsy will be completed soon, so that he may have access to the body.