synonomy

He put his notebook away – closed it, really – tucked it under his arm.

 

The next thing. It’s not linear, but I’ll try to make it make sense.

The phone call to my brother-in-law answered by my sister-in-law followed an unusual path. I set in motion a game of church-telephone, similar to the childhood one, beginning with my unconscious inability to say that word. The D-word.

Without hesitation, my sil jumped into action. She tracked down her husband in church by getting hold of someone there. Third hand, my understanding is that the message morphed from my intent of ‘gone’ to ‘gone missing.’

When told his brother was missing, my bil’s response was, “Which one?” The lovely thing about this is that, in this extended family, the pre-cursor ‘step’ was never more important than the word ‘brother.’ And, there were eight possibilities, so the question was wholly legit.

Back to the beginning of this post and the end of the last post…

A milli-second after the officer’s pad pages met in closure, my sil burst through the door and near-breathlessly huffed out, “Did he leave a note?” Other rapid-fire questions followed.

I’m not sure of the accuracy of my recall. I was too busy short-circuiting, in panic mode – trying to absorb that my emphatic word had not been absorbed.

I heard Wal*Mart and scooter and a suggestion that maybe he’d gone for an early morning ride to the store down the dirt access road at the end of our street. Trying to follow along, I pictured Jeff 4-wheeling in an electric scooter on the recently rain-soaked non-road.

I glanced at the officer, who was looking questioningly at me. I shook my head from side to side trying to convey that she wasn’t asking about a suicide note. She was asking about a where did he go? note. In an almost impossible way, I managed to squeak and scream at the same time. “No! No, he didn’t leave a note!”

Honestly, I have no idea who else might have been in the room with the three of us. Bits and pieces of garbled voices and suppositions were hovering just outside of my tunneling-vision.

Time stopped long enough for me to realize this was exchange was going wrong, way too fast.

Using the same words I’d been using all morning,  I tried a little harder instinctively adding the universal double-handed hand signal signaling ‘no’.

“No. No.” I insisted, more firmly. “He’s… gone. He’s … (pointed silence)… Gone.”

The shock dropped her to her knees with a keening wail, and it occurred to me, I hadn’t done that. Surreall,y I internally questioned myself, “Why haven’t I done that?”

I don’t recall her rising from the floor, but she must have because I’ve heard the story of the revisory call.

That’s where this segment ends for me. I don’t know what my next move was, where I went or what I did. I skip through scenes.

None are cohesive, none are in real-time. It’s all a shattered photo bleeding from one puzzle piece to another. I cannot make them fit correctly.

Quote for the Week: 2019 12 10 It’s important to use the correct words jakorte

 

Repeat, Repeat …

My inquisitor and I ended up sitting almost knee-to-knee.

I was asked to recount the whole experience up until then. I tiredly, bare-bones explained the events of the night before and the morning of.  I was asked a lot of clarifying questions.

I told him about sleeping on the couch, about the bacon and about Sadie sitting perfectly still.

When asked if I thought Jeff might have decided to overdose on purpose, I said, “No.”

“Maybe accidentally?” was the next suggestion.

“Absolutely not,” I insisted.

“Was he depressed?”

My hesitant answer was yes, but that Jeff was taking medication to help with that.

We spoke for a while about how Jeff felt awful he couldn’t work. How he hated saying he was on disability. How he meticulously filled his tackle bait box to avoid any over or under medication misses.

How he was doing less of the things he enjoyed. But, also about the way he rose each morning, verbally thanking God for another day. And how he repeated the sentiments aloud each evening, saying it had been a good day to be alive.

Then, we went back to the sequence of events.

I explained again what had happened.

There were questions about what time it might have been at certain points and when Jeff last took meds.

I guesstimated on the times and had no idea about the drugs. I learned later, Jeff’s estimated time of death coincided with Sadie’s signals.

What I find odd now, is that I really don’t remember Jeff taking pills. I can’t even picture it in my mind. I obviously recall the medication box and the myriad of reminders I arranged to be sure his meds were taken. To-do lists, email, phone calls.

Insulin was occasionally out in the open. Sometimes right before going into a restaurant, sometimes at a restaurant table, but rarely at home.

I suppose Jeff may have been discreet for my sake. Likely, though, it was more for Jeff’s sake – so he didn’t have to listen to my objections about his self-administering through the leg of his jeans or through the middle of his T-shirt.

It was commented more than once, that they would be able to tell by the pill count if he might have overdosed.

I repeated, “Absolutely not.” More than once, as well.

Then, came the canned movie line. If I thought of anything else that might help, I should call the number on the card I was handed.

I took the end of the interview as a sign that it was settled; that he finally believed me.

Jeff would never do that.

Quote for the Week: 2019 11 26 There are times when it is appropriate to be thankful jakorte

Queen of Coin, King of Remote

 

During this time, Jeff and I were always on the brink of broke. Paycheck to paycheck became my paycheck and only half of Jeff’s paycheck. Juggling money became my specialty.

There were days when timing was everything. Money was scheduled to come in, but money was also scheduled to go out. These were the days I would clearly and emphatically instruct Jeff, “Do not take any money out of the bank today or our such-and-such check will bounce.”

There were days when at 4:00 PM, I would check our account to be sure we were clear, and discover my paycheck had made it in, Jeff’d withdrawn $20.00, and our check hadn’t cleared, yet.

I would go into a tailspin. Jeff would either assure me without reason or concrete evidence, “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” Or, he’d point out that we didn’t actually bounce anything, so there wasn’t any problem, and there was no reason for me to be upset.

I was the self-appointed queen of the coin. Jeff was reigning king of the remote. The thing is, he’d fall asleep and change channels. He’d be searching for something during a commercial and hit a button that crashed our dish. He’d doze off and turn the TV off.

I’d wake him up and ask him to give me the remote. He didn’t ever want to give it up. Jeff would insist he was awake now, wouldn’t be nodding off again, and he would get everything or the show we were watching back to the right place.

It had been one of those teeter-totter banking days and Jeff had done what I’d asked him not to – took $20 out of our account. He’d also not done what I asked him to do that day – call the doctor about a new dizziness and increased pain. I must have been more convincing than usual regarding the TV remote, because, apparently, Jeff conceded on that one point. Granted it was the only particular point left to address that he or I could do anything about right then.

Our 2004 email treasure began this way…

Me: Thank you for giving me the remote last night… I know it was traumatic for you, but you handled the separation like a pro! Kisses.

In one hilarious email response, Jeff managed to address all of my previous evening’s complaints: banking, health management and our TV troubles.

Quote for the Week: 2018 05 15 Disagreements do not break relationships jakorte

The Daily List

I guess you could say, somewhere in the middle, I somewhat started on a weird winding road of acetic acceptance.  On the daily drive home, I used to think to myself, “I wonder if today’s the day I’ll get home and find him dead.” I decided I’d have enough of that scenario in my head. I felt it was time to let it out.  Time to ask for help.

I wrote a letter to some of Jeff’s friends and family. I’m surprised I don’t have a copy of that letter, but I don’t. I asked everyone to come see him, to tell him he was important, to see if they could convince him to take better care of himself, to stop chewing tobacco. I don’t know which came first, in a chicken or the egg sort of way – either I told him, or he found out about it.

It’s one of the few times I made Jeff really mad. He said I made him look stupid. I shrugged and raised my voice. “You are stupid! You’re not doing enough to help yourself.”

 It was also one of two times, I made Jeff cry. Tough love is tough on the person giving it, too. If he cried, I cried. If I cried, he’d try to cheer me up or make me laugh. Not exactly an even exchange, but, somehow, we’d both end up laughing.

He said the problem was that he was bored being stuck at home with nothing to do and no one to talk to. The meds made him foggy and mostly he just watched TV, or read, or spent hours at the computer. 

So, I started a daily Jeff list. Only 3 or 4 things that I’d like him to accomplish that day.

It wasn’t all chores. It was some mundane tasks, a few challenges, and some silly stuff.  I found a few of my lists in between orders in the store files. Don’t know if Jeff put them there on purpose or if they accidentally got filed away with paperwork. Some of the highlights were:

Launder bed sheets (I’ll put them on when I get home.)

Check the Power Ball #’s. (No one matched all 5 #’s, but I’ll take anything!)

Water plants (I love our garden!)

Don’t forget to check the NASCAR channel. Al Unser Jr. is expected to retire today.

Go through papers on the dining room table, please.

Call Kapnick’s and find out how much the sweet cherries will be. The sign says “place orders now.”

Research Michigan vendors who might sell us their hot sauce at wholesale.

Figure out what meds you need to re-order.

Wear socks! It will help the rubbing of your feet.

Call the doctor re: Anodyne machine

Defrost the chicken, so it will be ready to cook for dinner.

Set your alarm for med times.

Take naps often – feet up, please!

Quote for the Week:

2018 04 17 Routine jakorte

Pampered Peppers

After Jeff had been off work for a significant length of time, we co-decided he needed something to do. He took to gardening the 4’ x 6’ landing of the staircase leading down to our back yard. This became our first official salsa garden. It was truly amazing how many plants were living on the balcony and hanging off the wooden railing. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cilantro thrived for a few reasons.

First, was the amount of TLC Jeff gave our greens. Second, was the fact that the planters that hung over the edge were really difficult for critters to get at, especially since they were at the top of a 7-foot stair case. Third, was that the bugs didn’t rise that high, either. Fourth, was our Sadie squirrel deterrent. For a little girl, she had an astonishingly loud voice. We saw quite a few early morning varmits take a startled dive over the edge. Jeff would always check, peering over the railing to be sure that the creatures weren’t hurt. There never was one that was.

The garden was awesome but didn’t really keep him as busy as he’d thought. Even with Sadie to take care of, being our designated chef and chief launderer, Jeff was becoming bored. Too many hours of TV and internet surfing lost their luster, so he wanted to find something that would bring in a little extra income. I supported that, too. Jeff was a people person, and the lack of daily socializing depressed him.

I’d been to a few Pampered Chef parties and I always would end up asking Jeff what he’d like me to get for him, because he was the one who’d be using the gadgets. With the help of his sister, Nicole, a consultant herself, and the input of a male friend who had begun consulting himself, Jeff saw an opportunity. He could share his love of cooking with the guys he knew were also cooks. For those who weren’t, he’d be able to give good recommendations as to which gifts his buddies should buy the women in their lives.

The things I remember most about his trial host party are the many men who came, and the constant hilarity and laughter. So much so that Nicole was forced off track numerous times, and ended up laughing so much herself. I didn’t actually attend the show. I don’t remember what the food demonstrations were, at all. I spent most of my time in the kitchen, staying out of the way.

I think  I remember who amongst Jeff’s friends, former co-workers and family came. But the important part is that I love you all for showing up. I still get teary-eyes about it, too. It did so much for his spirits to have personal connections there with him for a little while.

For Jeff, the term ‘friends’ included family and the term ‘family’ included friends. All of Jeff’s friends were close friends, and his close friends included his cousins and siblings, as well.

For me, the best term I can think of now to describe you all is, tribe.

Quote for the Week: (minor apologies for the awkward physical splicing of 18 year old old-fashioned prints.)

2017 09 11 anything can bloom anywhere you plant it jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Pampered: Chef

Social vs: Lonely

Balcony: Garden

[j1]

Kindnapped

I never did take communion with Nannee. I felt it would be disrespectful to take communion on false pretenses. I’d have to be a believer to do that. I obviously wasn’t one and had no intention of becoming one, either.  I’d thought she perhaps just didn’t understand. But, then again, she knew my upbringing and now I wonder if it was her way of trying to “save” me.

As Nannee was getting sick more often, not ever getting fully better, Jeff and I would stop on our way home from work and drive over on weekends to make sure she had everything she needed. We’d pick-up her prescriptions, bring in dinner, do her laundry when she was too tired to go down to the basement.

If she knew we were coming, she’d have dinner ready no matter how poorly she was feeling. If she didn’t know we were coming she’d express her disappointment that she wasn’t prepared by saying, “If I’d known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake.” I always thought that was cute.

About this same time, Jeff’s medical issues began to take over our life. He would miss work because of leg and foot pain. He had difficulty walking long distances. He struggled through his delivery job; struggled to keep his blood sugars in check.

He’d be on and off work as doctors recommended all sorts of ‘hopefully this will be a quick fix’ patches. A week of putting his feet up was supposed to help. Trying a new medication that made me him a little loopy was followed by rising and more frequent insulin injections.

He was in and out of hospitals numerous times, suffering through rampant high blood sugar induced yeast infections, and bouts of excruciating pancreatitis. He gained weight and gained sleep apnea.

After a string of absences and unresolved issues, Jeff was encouraged to apply for FMLA. He happily did so, convinced this was just a temporary blip in his life. However, having to take more time off morphed into short term disability, then continued into long term disability.

Throughout it all, Jeff really wanted to get back to work and fully expected to. Eventually, the pain won and left him with the very much unwanted and depressing status of permanently disabled.

In the middle of all this, Jeff and I kindnapped Nannee.

Quote for the Week:

2017 05 17 Some people always see blue skies jakorte