I took a few days before writing this to really consider how far into detail I want to go. I could get horribly graphic. Hell, I could even throw in a couple of photos, but that would be horrible.
Wednesday after work I attended the Celebration of Life for a friend and Co-Worker who died at age 34, and as of writing this, we’re still not sure what happened. My guess is that an interaction of prescription medications, a little alcohol, and over-the-counter stuff she was taking to counteract a cold were just too much for someone who had been run down by a year of working long hours, going through too many challenges in her personal life, and just “life.” All I can say was that she was very much loved, and died way too soon.
The day before, I left work early, after receiving a call from Adam that his ferret (the ferrets chose the humans, not the other way around…) had died after a coughing fit. We had her for five weeks, and she had started putting on weight, growing, loved to play… when we got her she was way too thin.
I should have buried her when I got home, but it was raining. Adam had put her in a towel in a plastic bin, to be buried. We actually did something I had never done before, and brought home a new ferret to bring the number up to three. I’m very glad we made that decision.
I digress, though. Thursday I had the day off, planned, to take my husband to the doctor. He hadn’t been feeling up for long-distance driving since the previous week when he lifted too much cat litter for his mother and aggravated a hernia he acquired during an event last year.
I got up early and buried the ferret, putting some azaleas from the bush in our front yard in the bin and over the grave. Then I drove my youngest son to school, as he had overslept. That was how my day started…
The original plan was to go to Orlando after the doctor’s appointment to sell some of the art that belonged to his grandparents, who both passed away in the past few months. Then we would go to his mother’s house and pick up some stuff for her… I had already taken more cat litter on Sunday night, along with a few grocery items, and I had fixed the settings on her BluRay player, taken out her trash, etc. He had last talked to her Monday afternoon, and had tried to call her Tuesday and Wednesday to no avail.
We were both concerned about not hearing from her. It wasn’t typical. So we decided to go to his mother’s house first, then Orlando. During the hour-long drive to her house, we both became increasingly worried as Adam continued to dial her number, trying to call her. By the time we pulled into the neighborhood, I hoped the worst we would find was her, unable to answer the phone, maybe needing transport to the hospital. She was diabetic.
Yes, I am talking in past tense here. Because it was far worse. We found her in the bathroom, and all hope was gone. When I called 911, I was more concerned with getting help for my husband, who saw what NO human being should ever have to see. I wish I could unsee it myself, and yet I am glad I was with him, and that he was not alone.
It was a very long afternoon, and I am not going into graphic detail. The grief counselor advised, among other things, that we do something to take our minds off of what we had seen. Adam was wearing a Star Wars shirt, and we talked about going to see the movie Thursday night. Originally we would have waited a day or two, especially since somebody already spoiled the movie for Adam.
We had both hardly eaten anything all day, so by the time we got back to Gainesville, we were feeling somewhat queasy from hunger, so we decided to go to a local sports bar and grill. It happened to be in the same plaza as one of the movie theaters showing The Force Awakens. I walked over and purchased tickets while we waited for the diet Coke, water, coffee, and single beer for Adam (who couldn’t drink more than half of it) we had ordered.
Just about everyone in the restaurant was donning a Star Wars shirt.
I bought tickets to the 12:45 a.m. showing. We ordered our food. Just before the food arrived, Adam stepped outside to smoke a cigarette.
Some redneck frat-boy type was standing out there, probably smoking. I don’t really know. He decided to strike up a conversation with Adam.
“I guess you nerds are all excited about the Star Wars movie.”
“Yeah, it should be pretty good,” Adam said calmly.
“I’m just here for beer and pussy,” Redneck stated proudly. “But I guess some people don’t have their priorities straight.”
Adam did not punch him in the face. I’m not even sure what his response was.
After dinner, we went home, and thankfully Adam slept for a few hours. I played with the ferrets with my kids. I read the news, rife with all the stuff about Bernie Sanders and the information leak/software glitch. I set my alarm for 11:45 and tried to take a little nap.
I couldn’t. I kept seeing my mother in law on the bathroom floor. I kept reliving the events of the day. I loved her, I cared about her, but I can’t even begin to imagine how Adam felt.
We went and watched the movie. And it was good. And for a couple of hours, all the pain and anguish were held at bay, as we were treated to a magical world that more than captured the fun of the original Star Wars series.
I’m not going to say more about the movie, because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I will say that it was the first Star Wars movie I have ever truly loved. Even if it will forever be tied to a horrific day of grief.
Today I went back to Valerie’s house, to make sure her cats were cared for, as we had some complications reaching the kind neighbor with whom we left the key. I gave them water, fed them, cleaned the litter pool, (her litter box was literally a kiddie pool) and I also cleaned the bathroom, took out some garbage out, and put food out for a raccoon she had pretty much tamed. I talked with her neighbors, and they now have our phone numbers so that they can call if they have trouble finding the key. I cried a bit, and found some photos, and I brought them with me.
Then I went to my parents’ house for a little bit, because I needed to. I needed to visit my own parents, and my grandmother.
And when I came home, I had to bathe, to wash away the mostly psychological perception of the smell of death that permeated everything. This is going to take a while.