June 6, 2005

Odd Start to the Week

The man who used to be my father-in-law died last week. I heard about it two days after the fact via a voice mail from my ex-husband. I am grateful to be kept in the loop. I hate when people die and I don't hear about it for weeks or months.

He filled me in on the circumstance in the returned call. Despite his father's poor health over the past decades, his death arrived unexpectedly. As he recounted what happened, I yearned to press for details but knew to do so would be in incredibly poor taste (my mother did manage to teach me a few manners).

He had a coronary while driving, his wife the only passenger. (Were they on a freeway? Highway? Country road? Close to town? Where were they heading? What was he wearing? Was it daytime or nighttime? Raining? Was the radio on? Sirius or XM? What were he and his wife discussing? Were they enjoying the day? Arguing? Laughing? Was their dog in the car with them?)

The wife was able to steer the car off to the shoulder of the road and safely stop. (How did she manage that? How fast were they going? Were there any other cars on the road? If so, could they tell something was wrong? Was she crying? Shouting? Was she talking to him when it began? What alerted her that something was wrong? Could he speak to her? Make eye contact?)

She dialed 9-1-1 and began CPR. (Did she have good signal strength on her cell? Was she calm? Did she stretch him out on the front seat of the car? How the hell did she manage to maneuver him? Had she had formal CPR training? Was he dead before she got the car stopped? Were his eyes open? Did anyone stop to help her? How long did it take the paramedics to arrive? How many of them were there? Male or female? Old or young? Did they declare him dead or was that done at the hospital? Did someone comfort her? What happened to the car? Did it get towed or did she pick it up from the side of the road later? Will she ever be comfortable driving it again?)

All those questions. I’ll never have answers. I have no need to know. It’s just morbid curiosity. Or natural curiosity. Is there a difference?

Another oddity of divorce in a family: who keeps in touch with whom? Who fades away to become someone I used to know? In the case of our family and our divorce, we all kept in touch rather closely while The Boy was younger. His dad wasn't great about making sure The Boy got over to see his grandparents on a regular basis. They were kind enough to include me in invitations for holiday gatherings and other occasions. With me came The Boy. Doh. But I enjoyed participating and always felt welcome. They are good people and it was important to me for The Boy to know that side of his family.

But by the time his high school years rolled around The Boy was so busy, we didn’t see his father’s family very often anymore. It was hard enough keeping up with my own. Distance was a factor. Everyone had moved a bit south and we had moved a bit north. His dad still wasn’t good at making sure The Boy got over to see his grandparents on a regular basis. We made do with minor contact on big special occasions.

I guess today is one of those big special occasions as I feel compelled to attend his memorial service, particularly since The Boy cannot.

And perhaps because a cake is better with icing, someone else died today. This morning actually. Dealing with that will have to wait. Well, dealing with the body will happen now but dealing with the loss will happen later.

I'm on autopilot.
I heart autopilot.



Anonymous said...

Im praying it's not Cosine. Whomever it is, my thoughts and good wishes are with you.

Katie said...

Oh, Suzanne...

I echo that girl.

I'd say "horrible start" rather than odd.

I'm thinking of you too.

Melodee said...

Oh my. You'll be in my thoughts. (And I have to laugh at those questions--I'd be thinking pretty much the same ones.)

Bent Fabric said...

Yes, an odd and horrible way to start the week. Hang in there.

Elizabeth said...

One day holding a new life another day losing an older life. That's the Lion King way. Too bad your son didn't get a chance to know his grandfather a little better.

If I need someone asking about my death, I'd pick you.

Glad to see you're feeling alive.

Eyes for Lies said...

Oh. I'm worried about Cosine too!

I'm so sorry you are dealing with so much right now.

Hugs to you...

WenWhit said...

I'm sure Suzanne will appreciate the concern all of you are expressing. I'm happy to say that Cosine is still with us. As for the other, I'll leave the Suburban Lesbian to tell the tale.

Gina said...

Suzanne, my thoughts are with you and what you are going through.

Try to keep your head above water. Sometimes it is all we can do to just tread.

Jennifer said...

Am keeping you in my thoughts, too. You should know you're in my heart, as well.


Sandra Scoppettone said...

Sorry about the deaths. I know how hard that is. But I don't think it's morbid curiosity. I think it's being a writer.

Pisces75 said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Seems to be something in the air.

It is these times of death that makes me realize what is important in life.

I hope your day gets better.
Thinking of you.

weese said...

just so you know. i would have answered your questions.


Heather Plett said...

Oh MAN do I hear you on the need for details. After my Dad died in a farming accident, my siblings and I went to the scene of the accident and tried to piece together what happened. We weren't quite satisfied with the police report or the bits of information we'd gotten. We had to understand what dad was DOING at the time and perhaps even what he was THINKING. We even figured out how he was lying when the ambulance showed up. I'm not quite sure why it was important - it just was. Perhaps it's morbid, but perhaps it's just a need to hang onto those we know and love and find a way to feel connected, even in their last moments.

Grief is a tough thing. Hope you find something/someone gentle to help you through the rough bits.

Princess Wild Cow said...

We just got a cat since we have been catless since last fall...sorry for your loss.

And, as for windows, we have no curtains because it is in the middle of nowhere...can't see another house in any way shape or form...one day I was showering and when I got ready to exit the shower, the fuel oil guy was there, right outside the bathroom window...I took a much longer shower that day.

Career Guy said...

Those are wonderful questions and all very important for visualizing the scene. Not morbid, just needing to know how it all happened, since it's going to happen to all of us one day. Hope you are doing OK.