For The Count

 

Someone in some official capacity let me know that they were going to be in our bedroom for a quite while because they had to count all of Jeff’s pills.

You know… the major medications we’d finally got on track to fill at once, instead of making multiple trips to Schmidt’s Pharmacy per week. Yes, the multiple prescriptions that had just been filled a few days ago.

Somehow, our across-the-street neighbor got pulled into that and spent time counting along with I don’t know how many others. If I had to estimate, I’d say it’d probably taken an hour and some. But, then again, my reality clock wasn’t wholly functioning.

I did learn an interesting bit recently. I’m still not sure of the order of things, though.

Our next-door neighbor told me this.

She’d seen the line-up and flashing lights from her kitchen window and dropped everything to come over and see what was going on.

Shortly after she arrived, an officer came to find me. I was asked to return to our bedroom. My friend followed and was told she could not enter. Her response had been, “Where she goes, I go. I’m not leaving her alone.”

When asked who she was, she answered, “I’m a friend and I’m staying by her side. She’s not going anywhere without me.”

Pulled aside, it was explained to her. They wanted to see my reaction to my dead husband. Because she is a fiercely protective and feisty  Oklahoman, she set them straight. She pretty much told them they were crazy because everybody who knew us knew we were deeply in love. She stood her ground and stayed.

For all the irrational panicked murder-mystery thoughts I had, it never occurred to me they actually investigated our home as a crime scene and me as a suspect. It was quite a shock to me when I learned this 2 weeks ago.

I vaguely remember. I think it may have been the EMT, who’d told me that there had to be an investigation anytime anyone Jeff’s age died at home. I didn’t think that meant what it meant. I thought it was more like a “yeah, sorry, procedure” thing.

This part I remember on my own:

Walking toward the living room, I noticed there was one chair sitting in the middle of our living room. I stood in the dining room watching as an officer dragged a second seat away from the dining room table.

He asked me to sit. Seeing a notebook in his hand, I suggested we could just sit at the table.  He pointed to the chairs and said we could sit there.

So, I sat.

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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.

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