Blanked

And that’s where the details end. I’m not sure if my prior detail comes from having re-lived the sequence daily or twice for 13 years straight, unable to let it go.

Or maybe the lack of it from here forward is the indicator, where my mind blanked – the result of short-circuited overload.

The bits and pieces I recall are likely to be jumbled. So many things happened at once.

I don’t recall answering the door, but I was standing in the right place to maybe have. There was an officer inside, still on the threshold, asking me if there was anyone I could call to come be in the house with me.

“No one near here,” I said. I was thinking of Jeff’s family, my family. No one could be there immediately.

“A neighbor?” he offered. I thought about the couple across the street.

I don’t remember seeing any extra people arrive. I don’t recall them in the house. They must have been there, though, because, by that time, two police cars, a sheriff’s car, an ambulance were lined up.

When the officer returned, he told me that he’d woken my neighbors up and the man of the couple had burst into tears when he heard. He continued saying that my neighbor would be over in a little bit, once he got himself together. I don’t remember him arriving, but I know he was there.

I don’t know when I started making calls. I don’t recall being prompted. I’d been standing in the living room, close to the front door. Someone suggested I might want to sit down.

I can’t tell you which order they were in, but I made two phone calls from my seat on the couch.

I called my brother-in-law, who lived closest. My sister-in-law had answered the phone. He was at church with my niece and nephew. She’d been there to pick-up because she’d stayed home not feeling well.

I explained that Jeff was gone and the police were here and I needed him to know and to come. Immediately.

I suppose it could have waited until church was over. Nothing would have changed by then, but the urgency was real to me.

I phoned my mother to tell her Jeff was gone. I asked her to call my brothers. She offered a stunning excuse for not immediately coming. The call ended with an implied you’re-on-your-own request to just let her know when the funeral was and she would be there.

Quote for the Week: 2019 11 12 reaching the point of blank jakorte

Slightly Familiar & Fourth

 

Sometimes, if I move a certain way, it recalls the exact physical feeling; the act of turning away, turning my back on Jeff and the eerie finality of walking out our bedroom door.

I got as far as the dining room when the phone I amazingly still had in my grip, rang.

911 was calling me.

Apparently, I was supposed to stay on the line until it could be confirmed help had arrived. Until I was securely handed off to the next step.

I opened the door to find a man already standing in place, ready to move in, so I stepped back.

I registered the familiar face and was bit stupefied by that.

That and the fact that the situation had changed into something; moving, forward, fast.

With the screen door behind him and one foot inside our home, he said something official-sounding announcing he was who he was.

I don’t think I moved.

He told me his partner so-and-so had gone back to the ambulance for more equipment, then bent to grab what was already piled up on the porch.

I don’t think I said anything.

Which may have accounted for the curious look he glanced my way while straightening up.

When his focused eyes took me in, he actually sort-of smiled.

“I thought I recognized this address…” he said.

 

I couldn’t blame him for the almost grin. Jeff was a memorable rider, always joking. Even with acute pancreatitis.

Even the night that Nannee blew her airhorn. There was a lot of laughter that night. From everyone – Jeff, me, the crew of two. Nannee, as well.

This would be his fourth trip to our home.

 

“Yes.” I agreed with his observation.

A full beat passed before I added, “I can’t wake him up.”

“Where is he?”

“In bed.”

He glanced around.

I realized he was waiting for direction, so I led the way.

 

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 29 Adding a slightly familiar element to an unexpected jakorte

He Would Have Laughed, Part 2 (graphic, dark humor, but it won’t get any worse than this…)

 

This is the last of my confessions. Mostly silent for 13 years; hesitant for dark humor.

At the time, not even an iota amusing. But, you know the bottom line as well as I do:

he would have laughed.

______________________________________________________________

 

Despite what should have been a series of solid physical confirmations, I still wasn’t sure.

I mean I suspected I was sure, but surely there had to be some way to be surely sure.

I needed to be absolutely sure. I didn’t want to tell the EMTs that he was dead if he wasn’t really dead.

After all, it had been getting harder and harder to wake him up, so maybe….

I couldn’t let them just assume he was dead and take him away.

I faintly heard the siren.

Desperation encouraged denial. I launched one final effort for conclusion.

 

I reached out and squeezed.

His stuff.

Hard.

Very hard.

Nothing happened.

Nothing at all.

Nothing. at. all.

 

That was the catalyst. My epiphanic moment, framed with the possibility of tarnished guilt, dully matted with automatic apologetic thoughts.

I believe I was rather rational. Calm, while mentally running through the untimed Sunday morning sequence of events from opening the bedroom door to believing in my own final absolute surety.

I relived it all – this short period of my life flashed before me like I was the one who’s life was ending.

That’s when my internal irrational being woke up and spoke up and slapped me.

A solid smack to the back of my head, snapping it forward, then back, as the blinking-red ticker-tape of panic resumed its scroll.

“Oh, my God. What if there’s bruising? They’re going to think I abused him!”

I hadn’t yet conjured a remedy for that, when the knock came.

“They’re here,” I announced and promptly hung up the phone.

Quote for the Week:2019 10 22 Death should ever be treated with irreverence jakorte

 

 

 

He would have laughed… (beware – graphic, dark-humor truth.)

Warning: graphic, dark-humor truth. He would have laughed. You might, too. You might not, though. 

Peripherally, I spied Jeff’s ever-present mega-jug from Speedway on his night table. I tested the weight out, concluding there was water in it.

Actually, I didn’t conclude there was water – I really just concluded liquid. It likely could have been what I call soda or what he called pop. I assumed it was water, which is why I decided to pull the lid off the monster mug and dump the entire contents on Jeff’s head.

It was water.

There wasn’t as much of it as I’d thought.

It certainly wasn’t the deluge I was hoping for.

He didn’t wake up sputtering.

“Are you doing it?” the operator asked, referring to the mirror test she’d requested.

“Oh, my God!” I cried. “How did this happen? He’s not waking up! How could this have happened?”

Almost out-of-body, hearing myself and thinking; cliché. Soap opera style dramatics.

Frozen, fleetingly, I wondered: was drama reenactment of reality or was my reality a reflection drama?

Sensing my conclusion, I was assured, the ambulance was on the way. She said she’d remain on the line until it arrived.

Having endured Jeff’s preference for based-on-true-events TV, I’d either half-watched or got completely sucked into countless crime-solving and autopsy shows.

A horrifying scenario popped into my still grappling brain.

“They’re going to think I drowned him!”

“Oh, my God!” I blurted aloud, in response to my silent reasoning. I scooted around the bed.

“Do you hear the ambulance?” The voice surprised me out of my own head. I was shocked to find I was still holding my phone – firmly plastered to my ear.

“No. I don’t.” I replied. Swiping a washcloth from the counter, I scrambled back to Jeff.

I used the maroon square to swipe Jeff’s wet face and hair.

My inner dialog continued. “Oh, no! If he starts breathing, inhaling water could kill him!”

I pushed a small corner through the tiny opening between his teeth, trying to sop up any of the gushed liquid that might have run into his mouth.

“They should be there soon…” came consolingly over the line.

Well past the verge of hysteria, another terrifying possibility crossed my mind.

“Oh, my GOD!” I wailed, wildly recalling the frequency with which the tiniest of fibers had helped solve mysteries and finger murderers.

Fortunately, only heard within the confines of my scrambling head, my error screamed, “They’re going to think I smothered him!”

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 15 The brain works with remarkable speed to process jakorte

“911, what is your emergency?” (graphic)

Some of this is just the gist of my recollection, not necessarily verbally accurate to every word spoken to me.

Some of this is 100% precise thoughts and words and deeds – mostly mine.

Overall, though, generalization and sequence should be enough to put you there, with me.

When the operator answered, I was momentarily stunned; marveling at the accuracy of every stereotypical dramatic portrayal of a 911 operator.

“911 – what is your emergency?”

I wasn’t expecting that.

“911 – what is your emergency?”

I wasn’t particularly panicked, but I was absolutely emphatic. “I can’t wake my husband up. I’ve shaken him and yelled in his ear, but I can’t wake him up.”

“Is he breathing?”

I put my ear to his chest.

“Are you still there?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m trying to listen….”

“Do you know CPR?”

“Yes, I think so… but you’ll have to remind me….”

She urged me toward mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, instead.

“OK, tilt his head back.”

“I can’t,” I said. “His head won’t move.”

“Put your hand under his head, and push up on the back of his neck.”

“That’s not working, either,” I said.

“Is his mouth open?”

“Not really,” I reported. “Well, I mean, a little… like normal sleep…not closed, but you know, not open.”

It was explained to me that I was going to have to open his mouth in order to breathe my breath into him. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I awkwardly tried to ease his lips apart.

“I can’t,” I said. “It won’t open.”

“Try putting your hand in his mouth and pulling down” she suggested.

I inserted two fingertips and squeamishly applied pressure to his bottom teeth.

“It won’t move,” I reported. Exasperated with frustration, I raised my voice to make the situation clearer. “Nothing is working!”

“Is he breathing?” she asked, again.

“I don’t know!” I repeated. “I can’t tell.”

“Do you have a mirror? Can you go find a mirror?”

“Yes,” I said, but I didn’t move.

I stood there, frozen, scanning with my eyes. Head to toes and toes to head and head to toes. Panicked bubbled up as I almost came to grips with reality.

“Are you still there? Did you get the mirror?”

“Yes,” I said, even though I hadn’t left his side.

Instructed to hold the mirror to his lips and watch for condensation fog, I must have registered some part of the truth, at that point.

While I instinctively knew what the mirroring result would be, I also concluded we were wasting time.

I needed to try something else. Something powerful.

Something with enough impact to prove what I didn’t really want proven.

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 08 insisting on static concrete paths leaves no consideration jakorte

 

The Beginning of the Story of the End

 

13 years ago today, I think I knew before I knew.

It was the strangest feeling.

It still is.

.

I took a 20-mile detour on the way home from Lansing this past weekend.

Accidentally, really. Not even on auto-pilot, since it’d been so long since I went that way.

Just a missed turn while I was thinking about the rain and Frosty Boy and my Brookside destination.

Odd to travel that same path so close to the same days. The thing is, the story goes on.

And, again, a warning.

It’s only the beginning of the story of the end.

The reality that followed wasn’t pleasant. It was shocking, bizarre, surreal and sadly, in a glass-half-empty way, expected.

February’d found us listening to a rundown how things might go. How Jeff’s disease and complications would likely progress.

The order was correct: first, he’d be alive, and then, he wouldn’t be.

The timing, though, was fundamentally far-off, greatly misjudged, significantly skewed.

Even when you know what to expect, it’s still unexpected. Quite unbelievable, and unbelievingly challenging for the mind to process.

It’s the sort of thing the heart is much quicker to recognize.

In the same way that Sadie was waiting for me to figure it out, my certain heart was forced to wait for my uncertain mind to follow.

I picked up the phone and dialed 911.

Quote for the week: 2019 10 01 the heart will speak truthfully jakorte