Friday, December 12, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Ok, time to lighten things up a little bit. Maybe it will lighten up my mood!

Christy and Jess tagged me, and the instructions are to write 8 random things about myself and then to tag 8 other bloggers. So here goes:

1. I grew up in New Harmony, IN, a town that was the site of a utopian experiment. It's a beautiful little town with a very rich history, and it was THE perfect place to grow up. Think Mayberry RFD with a bit more of a northern presentation.

2. I won third place in the Posey County Spelling Bee when I was in seventh grade. Still have the medal. I missed the word "edition", I thought they said "addition".

3. I have 4 children - 2 I gave birth to, and 2 that I was blessed with through marriage. At one point, we had 4 teenagers in the house! (I think I need another medal!)

4. When I was 15, the government essentially took away our home and 40 acres in order to put in a state park. (Eminent Domain.)

5. When my dad died in 1979, there was an auction set up by my stepmother. All of us kids had to buy family possessions at the auction, but I stole a couple of things. I should have stolen more.

6. I have lived in 8 states - Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Michigan - had a bit of wanderlust in my soul before I had children.

7. I love a clean house, but am over being obsessed about it. Life's too short to spend all my time cleaning!

8. One of my ears is pierced 4 times, and the other has only one piercing. I love the odd and assymetrical.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Suicide and Loss

I'm writing this blog today to tell you about our son-in-law, Bill. Bill died last Monday by his own hand. We are coming out of the shock and going into grief, which includes sadness, guilt, and anger. Bill was married to my older bonus daughter, and they have been extremely happy together for about 10 years. They have 2 little girls that everyone adores. The girls are 5 and 8 years old, but will both have birthdays within the next month.

When our daughter met Bill, I will tell you honestly that we were not thrilled because she was too young for that kind of relationship. When she became pregnant with their first child right before graduation from high school, we were not happy grandparents-to-be. We sat at the graduation ceremony and cried because we felt she had really messed up. But then our little Gabby was born. She has red hair and brown eyes and really long black lashes, freckles and dimples! We didn't think God could make a prettier child and of course we fell in love with her the minute we saw her - and all was forgiven.

The night she was born, we were at the hospital with them and his mom and stepfather and other family members. After she was born, Bill came out and hugged his mom and he was crying. I loved him beginning with that minute. He was a good man, a good husband, a good father. He was good all the way around and DH and I came to feel that he was our son. He was an important part of our family, and we always said what a good husband our daughter was married to - we told everyone how great he was.

He had gone to culinary school and worked as a chef in different area restaurants, but never made a lot of money. When he lost his job, my husband was able to help get him hired in with the company we both worked for. People said he only got a job because of my DH, and that is probably true. But his work ethic and easy-going good attitude and humor soon won over our coworkers and nobody doubted that he was the hardest working guy in the press room. He always did more than what was asked of him, and he really enjoyed working there. He excelled at everything he attempted, both at work and at home. He really was a very special man.

My DH and I both lost our longtime jobs this past year. DH worked there 34 yrs and I worked there 16 yrs. We were maxed out on pay and benefits and the company is moving production to Brazil so they let us go. (God forbid the CEO miss out on his $3 million bonus this year.) It was hard on all of us. There is still resentment for how they treated my husband after all those years (by me). Bill had to go in there everyday, to a job he loved, but working for a company he was ticked off at. Two weeks ago, the company announced that they were closing the plant. We had tried to warn Bill that it was coming, but I really think he was in denial. Add to that a bit of marital problems, and Bill made a decision. He could not live like this anymore.

I went to his Facebook page and looked at his status reports over the past 2 weeks. There was nothing telling there, really. But knowing what I know now, I think I do see where the pain started for Bill.

The day before he died, he came to see us and cried and clung to us. He said "I love you" 3 times in 2 days, and I know that he did. He said "Thank you for everything you've ever done for me" that day, and though I thought that was an odd thing to say, I never dreamed that he was telling us goodbye. I'd been up till 3:30 on facebook chatting with him, and finally said I had to get to bed. We were meeting friends at the local watering hole the next day for lunch - did he want to join us? He only slept 2 hours that night. He came and had lunch with me, went back to work at 1, but was texting me by 1:30. He called me 3 times after lunch. At around 4:00, I walked into the kitchen to ask my husband a question and he had this look on his face. He sobbed out "Bill shot himself!" My brain could not even process that information. We know a few Bills and I think I said "Bill who?" before crying Not OUR Bill!!!! My husband and I stood in the kitchen clinging to one another and wailing NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Looking back, the whole thing is just surreal. The sheriff's dept called. We needed to come down to their house and get our granddaughters.

DH is a firefighter and paramedic and so we have a scanner. He'd actually heard the dispatcher call for EMS and says he sat there praying Please let it not be Bill, over and over until the phone rang.

Our family is devastated. Our daughter has moved in with the children and we are now trying to make things seem sort of "normal" for the children in a very bad situation. We downsized homes last year and so there's really not enough room, but she says she can never go back to their house, and nobody blames her. Her car can't navigate our private road, so there are logistics issues. And the kids don't quite understand how Daddy had this "accident". But we are all together, and I think that's good for all of us.

This blog is a tribute to a good man, a humble man, an exceptional man. If he could have seen what his death did to everyone who loved him, I know he would never have gone through with it. He had so many friends that some people told me they didn't come to the funeral only because there was just no place to park. The church was packed. Many shared good memories of him, and told what he meant to them. That was comforting. But he is still gone.

And so Christmas gets closer and we are not ready, and we are missing an important part of our family this year. We have traditions that involve him and now they are but a memory. How do we get through this?