Thursday, September 09, 2004

The aftermath

Everyone left me alone with him. I eventually quit crying and just went into shock. I was numb. That wonderful nurse asked me to come to the hallway, saying that nothing would be done to him till I decided it. She then told me what I had to do legally, about signing paperwork and such. And I was getting ready to ask for a pen when she stopped me. She told me to go outside with the family, take time to regroup, and eat something because I would need the strength. Then I could do what was needful. We all went outside to stand in the heat. I looked down and noticed my wedding band. I could no longer wear it. I took it off and gave it to LJ's daughter Nicole, John's granddaughter and told her that was for her when she grew up. I called my grandmother, why I don't know now, on my cellphone. She was crying, and that shocked me. We went in, ate, and I went into the ICU to call a funeral home that was suggested to me. I called work and told them I would not be back for a few days. I walked into the ICU, and began filling out the forms. It didn't take long. I walked to where he was still lying, and touched his face. He was starting to grow cold.
We walked to Markey to gather his things, most importantly something for him to wear. I grabbed his favorite black Hawaiian shirt his mom gave him, a black pair of shorts, his sandals and his old beat up denim hat he had worn his whole illness. The shirt was misbuttoned, he did that a lot, and we decided to insist that was the way it was kept when they dressed him. I was so numb. We all went back to the new apartment, where I had not even unpacked anything. LJ and Charles offered to move boxes to a back room as Billy, Anne, Randy and myself drove to the funeral home.
This turned out to be the worst ordeal. We had no insurance to bury him. Before I could even think, Anne and Randy pulled out the credit card, then started to try to bargain them down. Billy and I were mortified ( pardon the pun). The got it down to 1500$ just to cremate him, put his obit in the paper and have a service. Getting that done, we went down to see him dressed before he was cremated. I understood then about shells, how people always talked about the body was a shell. That was not my husband on that table, it was his holding case. I touched him, he was icy and I freaked and went outside.
The net few days were a blur. I came home to a apartment totally unpacked. Billy and Randy proceeded to repair the whole place in the ensuing days. He died on a Monday, and the funeral was on a Wednesday. I found 5 joints of south florida's finest that we had stashed away, and we smoked it. Food poured in, cards poured in. We were sorting though pictures. It was just a blur. The funeral came. We played classical music. I had Patrick, the Asatru priest who had married us, do a Norse prayer of crossing over. LJ stood up and spoke. I was still numb. I gathered the box he was in and gave it to Billy to take to Connecticutt, to scatter later. It was done.