Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Untitled Death Post

Three weeks ago I got a phone call from the police letting me know that my mother was dead. She had been shot in her sleep by her husband, who then shot himself. No one found them for two weeks.

I never talked to her all that often, sometimes only once a month, so it wasn't strange that I hadn't heard from her. She didn't call me on my birthday, but I attributed that to her being a forgetful, wacky old broad. Instead she was rotting on her bed near the corpse of her killer.

I started calling people I knew to tell them. I didn't need anything from them, I just thought that it was the sort of thing friends should know about when it happens. There was a fascinating spectrum of reactions. Some were quiet, some were angry, some were startled, but all were stunned, wanted to help, and had no idea of how to do it. They would fumble over their words and tell me that they didn't know what to say. I told them that it was okay, that no reasonable person could possibly be expected to know what to say. It was strange finding myself comforting my friends who were trying to comfort me. Eventually we all fell back on our standby coping mechanism: Gallows Humor

There was an impromptu party at my place that night as people kept coming over and no one left. In fact, I barely got a moment to myself for three days as people kept coming by with pies and casseroles, as is custom in the southeast U.S.. All of it was a blur and none of it seemed real, until I got to her house.

One of the more overwhelming parts of the experience is that I had no idea of what needed to be done, how to do it, or where to start. There was no other family and none of my friends had ever been the ones to deal directly with arrangements. I realized that I needed information. Life insurance, health insurance, car title, utilities... I couldn't even get her out of the examiners office without her Social Security Number, which I didn't know off the top of my head. I was going to have to go to her house and try to find it all.

Let me start by saying that my mother had many fantastic qualities, however, she was also a slob and a borderline hoarder. Also, in case you didn't know, the police don't get anybody to come clean up when they're done investigating a murder, that's up to you. However, crime scene cleanup guys cost thousands of dollars, and I have approximately no dollars. So the blood and stink of two rotting old people as well as the cats who starved to death and the weeks old litter box were going to be a concern while we were digging through piles of papers, boxes, and knickknacks to find a few sheets of relevant information.

I find it strange that I've been saying things that I only hear about on television. Like, sometimes I mention a conversation I had with the lead homicide detective. That's not something real people do, that's a TV thing. Also, sometimes you see a person on TV go glass-eyed and say "The blood. There was... so much blood." I totally get that now. There's a lot of blood in a person and on a hardwood floor, it has no where to go. Also, fun fact, when there's that much of it, it doesn't actually dry, it just turns into a dark sludge.. which we know because one of the friends who went with me to the unspeakable horror house slipped in it and nearly fell on his bottom. We knew it was going to be bad, so we brought gloves and masks, and Vicks VapoRub to put in our noses. However, the stench crept through our masks, past our VapoRub, and into our souls.

There has been a lot of contemplation on the subject, and I may or may not delve deeper into that later, but I just needed to get the gritty horror of it out. Thanks for listening, guys.

I love you all very much.

9 comments:

Norman said...

It's been forever since we talked but I'm so very sorry to hear this. As cliche as it may be I hope you know if you need anything at all don't hesitate to ask. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

wbalelo said...

I'm so sorry Adam. I have great memories of your mother. I love you.

wbalelo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VMD said...

Again, I'm so sorry. If you need anything, call.

Michelle said...

:::hug:::

-Rising Unit- said...

Hello,

This is my first time on your page. I wanted to leave a comment because I thought this was a nice little piece, and I believe youve just begun to open a great sort of dialogue. Let me try to explain...

Im from Minnesota. There was sort of a local story that got some national attention a few months - a year back. There was a man named Mark Weber. I heard him one day as a guest on our local sports radio station. He wrote a book called "Tell My Sons," which dove into some grittier parts of life. (you can look more into that here if youre interested
http://www.amazon.com/Tell-My-Sons-Fathers-Letters/dp/0345549449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381348421&sr=8-1&keywords=tell+my+sons
He was actually Lt. Col. Mark Weber, formally a part of the US Army. If I remember right, he was getting ready to go to Afghanistan when doctors found that he had stage IV cancer. Long story short, he beat every deadline the doctors gave him until they stopped giving him deadlines.
The part that got me was not just his incredible story, but the rest of the subject matter. It wasnt just about dying, but how do you deal with the people around you? How do you discuss arrangements with your loved ones? It seems awkward to talk about these things, but it has to be done. He had a quote on the radio show i mentioned that was something like "a heavy subject doesnt have to be a heavy conversation." This is what came to me when I started reading your post. Not to sound callous, but I think you have a very intriguing story to tell here. It may seem a taboo-ish subject, but as you said, you dont know about those things until youve experienced them. I think you could draw some inspiration from this guy...here is a bunch of interview links he did:
http://www.tellmysons.com/in-the-media.html
If you scroll about 2/3 the way down they have the 100.3 KFAN interviews i heard.

I will leave you with one of his quotes that resonates when I read your post:
"To me it's really about just seeing the humor in life, the way comedians see it. The ironies, the hypocrisies, the contradictions," Mark said. "And in seeing it in that light, not losing your mind. Because if you couldn't laugh about it ...

"We had a saying in Iraq. If you couldn't laugh about that stuff, you'd just want to cry. Because it felt that hopeless on most days. You'd wake up and it was 'Groundhog Day' all over again. And for how many years in Iraq? And the same in Afghanistan. I don't know how you'd get through the day if you couldn't find something to laugh about.

"It's not that war is funny. Or that cancer is funny. Or that any hardship is funny. It's that right next to that same hardship, like within death, there's something funny right next to it. Within war, within the chaos and horror of war, within an event, there is a piece of humor right next to the tragedy. And you have to let yourself see it.

"The best example I can use is when my boys get really mad after they've been punished. You can just see the scowl on their face. And they're mad. And after about two hours, I'll intentionally say something funny. And I'll see a little crack come out at the corner of their mouth. And what do they do? Any parent can appreciate this. They try and fight that smile. They don't want that smile coming out.

"And I think we do that as adults."

Adam Jones said...

Thank you everyone for your concern. It means a lot.

-Rising Unit- - Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.

Rhondi St. Onge Peacock said...

I'm sorry Adam. Thank you for sharing....

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