Mathew’s Story

It has been 10 years since William Thomas Ellerbrock, age nine-and-a-half weeks, was dropped off for his second day of daycare and put down for a nap.

It has been 10 years since baby William never woke up.

It has been 10 years, but not a day goes by that his parents – Matthew and Chrystal Ellerbrock – don’t think about William or work to educate others about how to put babies safely to sleep on their backs. How to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). How to make sure no other family has to go through what they’ve been through.

“I miss my son.  I miss what he may have become.  I miss seeing him grow and do all the things my other children have been able to do.   However, I no longer feel any anger, there is no confusion.  Just the loss of the love I had for a little boy who came into my world and completely made me a liar.  I told everyone who asked….  ‘I don’t care if its a boy or girl, I just want a healthy baby.’  Now of course we all want healthy babies, but when William was born and I realized I had a son to raise, to teach, to play nerf guns with, to watch Star Wars with, to (possibly) play rugby with…. The toughest memory of July 14, 2009 that still lingers with me today was leaving the hospital after there was nothing left for us to do.  My dad drove us home so I could sit in back and hold onto Crystal.  For us to fit in the car with Bella, we had to put William’s car seat in the back storage area of the vehicle.  It hit me square in the head that at that moment, we left the hospital as a family, and we were not taking him home with us.  God Bless my father for driving.  I don’t think he said a word, but in that terribly vivid moment of how huge the loss was, we were given the ability to support each other in that moment.”

It was to First Candle that Ellerbrock and his wife turned when their son died to help them handle their overwhelming sense of loss. They’ve been committed to raising money and SIDS awareness for the organization ever since.