By Conor Kane
Six little words: “Mammy, I don’t want to die.”
They were the last words of six-year-old Jake Brennan after he was struck by a car while playing outside his home in 2014.
And they are the words chosen by his mother Roseann for the book she has written about her beloved son’s life and death.
Due to be launched on April 18 in Kilkenny, Mammy, I Don’t Want to Die tells the story of little Jake from the time Roseann and husband Christopher found out he was due, through all the happy times of his short life, the day of his death and the aftermath.
“It’s been very therapeutic,” Roseann says of putting the book together with journalist Kathryn Rogers.
“When I’m having a bad day, I would just go to the chapter when it happened, when Jakey was taken on me, and I just think ‘if I got through that day, I can get through this’.
“It helps me with seeing just how far I’ve come.
“Some days I feel like I’m getting nowhere but when I look at it, I have come a long way.”
Jake died on June 12, 2014, when he was hit by a car while crossing the road outside his house in the Lintown estate in Kilkenny City.
He left behind heartbroken parents as well as a sister, Savannah, and a brother Kaelem.
In the months and years that followed, the despair felt by his close and extended family and friends has been lessened somewhat by Jake’s Legacy: A campaign started by Roseann to lower speed limits within residential areas and which has been acted upon by a number of local authorities.
There have been many bad times, including a period after Roseann took an overdose of pills and woke up in hospital.
“It took me weeks to even feel right after that,” she says. “It was scary that I ended up doing that and never planned it.
“I never had any mental health problems. It was hard because I just wanted people to help me and save me.
“I had to rebuild my own life and my own confidence again in being a mother and a person... I just hope my book might help someone reach out and talk to someone.”
Roseann’s book tells the story of some special days in the family’s life, such as her and Chris’s wedding day, her pregnancy with Jake, and his early years as a happy, loving, outgoing boy.
“You get to know Jake and then you have a few days coming up to the accident, then you have the full day I detail — the full, horrible day,” says Roseann.
“I tell everything exactly how it went, and anything that was put into the inquest is all in there.
“We just wanted people to see the true story.”
The launch takes place at Langton’s House Hotel in Kilkenny, when the special guests will include former hurler of the year Henry Shefflin.
After that, the book will be on general sale and Roseann’s main purpose in putting it together will be clear for all to read.
“I wanted people to fall in love with him,” she says.