A number of parents and friends have helped in Gilly's House efforts and we want to include their stories in our newsletter. Roseanne Kurposka was the 4th parent to adopt a bedroom to honor her son, Jeffrey Idzal. Her dear friend, Kathy Harford helped with designing & decorating the room.
This is how she found Gilly's House:
As a child, Jeff was bigger than life! Always with a smile, he would continually sing, read books way beyond his years, and join in on any conversation, whether it be with children, peers or a grandparent! He was, by nature, a community builder. He brought people together and often brought our home to life with his gatherings, entertaining sense of humor, music and stories. In the short 18 years of life prior to his accident, Jeff lived a full life, including great love.
Jeff grew up in our home in Wrentham with his younger brother Chris, and his little sister Katarina. Chris and Jeff often spent time together. Having similar interests, they often explored the woods behind our home, played with our animals, played video games and created and played music. We adopted Katarina at 15 months old from Moscow, Russia. Jeff was 15, and when Katarina’s Dad and I brought her home to the US, Jeff was the first in the family to hold her. A solid bond was created that day and moving forward that even his passing cannot end. They were often found together in his room or the den, Jeff on his guitar, and Katarina on her play guitar. They spent a great deal of time together before Jeff left for college. Jeff always loved children and was wonderful with them. He grew into a very loving young man.
Jeff’s greatest passion, by far, was music. His father, being a musician, always shared his technical musical knowledge and sounds with our family. So, it came as no surprise when Jeff picked up a guitar and never put it down. He created a band with friends, and they played until it was time for the boys to head off to college. Jeff would write song lyrics on any little slip of paper he could find, and being a not so organized individual, he would leave them all over the house. He even wrote a song for me as a Mother’s Day gift on several sticky notes! And he sang and played it on his guitar. Best gift I ever received!
Jeff attended King Philip High School in Wrentham, and he graduated in June 2008. In August 20, Jeff left home to attend Hofstra University to major in Music Business and Sound Recording. He was so excited to begin this new phase in his life! Three weeks into his freshman year, on September 25, 2008, I received a call that Jeffrey was in the hospital with a brain bleed. My husband Scott and I got in the car and headed to New York immediately. To date, we have no idea what caused Jeff to experience one hit to the back of his head that caused a severe traumatic brain injury. Was it a robbery or a hazing? We were unable to uncover the truth. After 7 weeks of Jeff being minimally conscious, in critical condition and having experienced several brain surgeries, we were able to airlift him to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Unfortunately, Jeff’s brain was too badly damaged. Over 19 months after the accident, Jeff passed.
I learned at this time the difference between curing and healing. Curing meant that Jeff’s body would heal, but it didn’t. Healing mean that Jeff’s spirit needed to leave his body. It was a very difficult 19 ½ months, watching my bigger than life son in a minimally conscious state, unable to tend to his own body and live a functional life. So his passing brought peace, knowing that his soul was free again.
Whatever I can do to help another family from not experiencing such a tragedy, I’m in. Designing a “music room,” in collaboration with my dear friend Kathy Hartford, in honor of Jeff helps. I feel blessed to have been connected to Gilly’s House because Jeff was raised in Wrentham, and he grew up with some of the young men who struggle or struggled with addiction in the area. I continually send prayers to all families associated with Gilly’s House, and I am grateful to all those who support it.