I can breathe again. More or less. Still trying to make sense of the fairly convoluted (for such a small company) terms and conditions of my separation package. David compared this morning to walking the Green Mile; I didn't feel that way. I felt like I was going to the dentist to have an impacted molar removed.
Last week I wrote that I was 98% certain I would be terminated at 9 AM on Monday morning. I should have written 100% certain because I think I was. There was that last little 2% fear that it wouldn't happen and I'd have to ride it out another couple of weeks or until the doors shut or until I found another job. No breathing room at all. Now I just have to stay upright until the housekeeper comes and goes and I can let go.
In all of this, I am still trying to make sense of Frank when I know perfectly well there isn't any sense to be made of Frank. He was here and now he's not. The rest of it is fallout that has very little to do with Frank at all but how we feel about ourselves in relationship to Frank and how Frank died.
Lets start with the fact that we don't know how Frank died and we may never know. The detectives have ruled out foul play; so the apartment is no longer a crime scene, or a biohazard for that matter. We could have told them that.
There were apparently enough fluids left to send out for a toxicology report that may or may not arrive with new information in 8 to 10 weeks. Consider the facts. Frank was last heard from on February 14. Frank's body was discovered on March 4 in a bent forward position with his head and feet on the ground and the rest of him elevated. He had one leg in and one leg out of his sweatpants. He was in the bathroom. He had an arm full of towels. He didn't tip over but remained sort of wedged, if I understood the detective correctly, between the wall and the bathroom hamper. Near the toilet but not on or in it. The two cats are still alive. I actually asked the detective if there was any sign of cats eating the body. He didn't take the question well at all. I wanted to know. I want to know everything. I want answers and I want closure. I want these things for Frank's siblings. All he would tell me was that there wasn't any way for the cats to get to the face because Frank's face was on the floor. He didn't have any eyes though, David noticed that from the photograph.
I'm getting ahead of myself.
Imagine the decomposition of a body that may or may not have been sitting in a warm apartment with the radio on in the bathroom for more than 2 weeks. It can't be good. Frank goes back to the earth without the benefit of earth to swallow him up. There were, however, flies. There are always at least flies. Flies and cats. Can't seem to let go of that, can I? Nature finds a way.
First the blood flows and pools with the assistance of gravity to the lowest points on the compass. Then the flesh begins to melt and that too flows downward like slow moving and minimally contained lava. So there wasn't much left to identify.
The medical examiners office did their collective best to straighten out the body and push the jelly back to it's originally intended locations before they photographed the face. They cleaned off the flies, fly eggs and baby flies (isn't that a nice way to say 'maggots'?) and glued his eyelids shut. Somehow David caught that the eyes were gone. It makes sense but I wasn't thinking about eyes at the time. I was thinking that I was looking at Frank's beautiful face, beaten and bloody, peering up out of a pizza. And wondering, Frank, what have you done now that you've gone and gotten your face stuck in a pizza? The beating I can understand; I think you've taken lots of beatings in your life. But the pizza? Really, Frank, a little over the top, don't you think? For some reason I'm still thinking that.
The detective did not want me in the room when the photo was identified. I refused to leave. The detective did not want David to look at the face any longer than it took to positively identify Frank, or what was left of Frank. David didn't want to give the photograph back; it was all he had left and he wanted to keep it. Not happening. But he didn't give it back until he absolutely had to.
There was a wedding ring in a biohazard bag. Dayle has it now and I suspect she'll keep it even though it seems to be David who does most of the keeping of small things. Dayle will be the keeper of Frank from the ring to the muscle car to whatever else she can jam into her already packed house. Possibly even the cats. The jury is still out on the cats.
Consider the facts. The medicine cabinet was a pharmaceutical wonderland. An empty bottle of oxycontin; among other things. Frank's body propped up like the lights just went off and never came back on. Frank in the condition he's been in since November. Earlier than that even, but in November what had been a gradual downward slide picked up steam and never seemed to stall or look back. It is highly unlikely that Frank would have intentionally overdosed with his cats in the apartment. Frank loved his cats.
Arteriosclerosis. A chronic disease in which thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls result in impaired blood circulation. It develops with aging, and in hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other conditions. Also present, according to the medical examiners office. How they can tell that from a leaking bag of jelly is beyond me, but there you go. Nothing conclusive. Frank was 44 years old and in fairly poor health.
Consider the facts. Frank cried like a baby the last time David talked to him. Just cried and cried and cried. David didn't call Frank back right away the last time he called so we'll never know the outcome of that cry. Because by the time David did call back, Frank wasn't answering the phone anymore. Did it help? Did he feel heard? Did he know just how much he was loved and wanted?
Consider the facts. Those are all of them; that I'm aware of. The rest is pure conjecture. And you can conject anything you feel like conjecting. So here is the real question: What do you surmise when faced with these facts or any other similar set of facts? What do you make up? Is it powerful? Does it support the way you want to be and feel in the world? Is it dis-empowering? Does it leave you with a sense of incompleteness, things unsaid and done, and maybe even guilt and anger? Is it a big fat slobbering ball of all of the above? In no particular order and coming at you at the speed of light when you least expect it.
I called my brother. I called my brother because I needed to hear his voice, if only on his voice mail. I needed to say that I love him. A lot. More than I'll ever have words for. He pisses me off, he hurts my feelings, he often leaves me feeling like a piece of unremarkable crap. He loves me, he supports me, he comforts me when I'm open enough to show that I need comfort. He comforts me when I am absolutely unwilling to show that I need comfort. I am unbelievably proud of the human being he is in the world. I have passively lived with the fact that he could be dead and alone in his death for years. Most of that is gone now; I don't think so much about the fact that he might die on a climb or a skydive or an unbearably ridiculously unprepared for base dive. Any of us could die at any time, obviously. I got used to it.
I haven't called my mother yet. I am afraid to call my mother. I am afraid that I will have to face the fear that this is exactly the way her body will be found; two weeks gone and fodder for the animals. There's nothing to be done for that; I either have it or I do not. I think when I call her I will have to have it. I will have to call her soon.
I did call my oldest and dearest friend Deeb who is often too close to the open windows for my comfort. I called not because I was afraid I might never hear from her again if I didn't but because she is so remarkably comforting and wonderful. She's like a big warm blanket and if I'm willing to let her love me the way that she loves people then I have a safe place to crawl into for awhile. It's hard for me to do that, not having any skin.
I wrote to my friend Ridgewalker because Ridgewalker would know and understand. Ridgewalker is like the ultimate validation for me. I feel this way, I hear this, I see this, I make this up, I can't shut it out and Ridgewalker just knows exactly what I'm talking about. Always, it seems like.
I haven't called my father yet. I haven't called my father because I am afraid he will be unsympathetic. I am afraid he will not want to hear the story or how I feel or how David feels. It is not wrong to feel this way but it is wrong to act on it, or not act, as it were. I will call my father. I do not know how I will feel.
Plato says: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Niceness counts, kindness counts. Kindness might count more than anything.
I love you, Frank, and I'm sorry.