On the evening of August 9, 2013 I didn’t sleep at all. Sunny had completely collapsed onto the bed, exhausted and Chloe fussed about between him and I, not knowing who needed more comfort.
I lay awake in bed and read until 11:30 pm. Then I lay awake in the dark.
At 12:09 am, the radio on Larry’s side of the bed came on, loudly.
At 12:14 am, the phone on my side of the bed rang. I answered the phone call that permanently changed my life forever.
“Hi, it’s the nurse. I just checked on Larry and he is gone. I’ve called the doctor and figured you want to spend time with him.”
I hung up the phone and got out of bed, called the taxi company and got dressed. I let the dogs out for a bio break and grabbed a duffel bag. From my cell phone I called Larry’s ex wife and my parents.
I sat in the cab, numb, and wept quietly, wondering about my future. Thankfully the driver seemed to understand why I was in a rush to get to the hospital at that time of night and kept the chatter to a minimum. I suppose my eyes were red and puffy by that time and it was obvious that I was upset and not willing to speak.
Larry’s room was empty, the light over his bed was on. I went in and his body looked so peaceful and quiet. Not in any pain.
Sadly my pain was continuing.
I sat quietly for a while until the nurse came in to check on me and confirm that the doctor was coming to pronounce him dead. I began to gather his personal effects:
– the final Sookie Stackhouse book, which I read to him while he convalesced so he knew how the saga ended (because of this, I can’t watch True Blood any more – the ending was a disappointment and I have too many unhappy memories now)
– the flowers that Bekah and her boys gave Larry
– the gift that Larry gave his daughter on his deathbed, but she left (still super pissed about this – I finally gave up on trying to give it to her in April and donated it to someone who would use it)
As I finished up, I took the final picture of our hands together one last time. And then the doctor came, I introduced myself, thanked the doctor for doing this task and called Leslie and Jeff to pick me up. I needed folks who could help my spirit and they have and remain there as I work things out.
I came home to an empty house with an empty heart and sat on the couch with Sunny and Chloe for a few hours, finally posting the announcement. I went to bed out of exhaustion, unable to cry any more.
That morning, I got up at my normal time. Did my morning ritual and went out to the farmer’s market to have my morning coffee at “Cafe Gay.” Ironically, I had a funeral to sing at that morning.
Chris Godwaldt, having read the news hugged me and asked me “What are you doing here today?”
My reply was I had no where else to be. This was the truth, I no longer had to be at the hospital daily and quite honestly, home felt really empty at this point.
I sat quietly, having coffee with friends, until it was time for the funeral. I sang dutifully at the funeral, no one in the choir having suspected what I was going through, and found a great amount of satisfaction in allowing myself to grieve while helping others grieve.
I had arranged to meet my parents at Cannon Coffee Co after church, where I sat in the window seat and just was there, quiet and peaceful. My parents joined me for lunch and remembrance while various folks who saw me sitting there popped their heads in to offer their condolences.
I went home and walked the dogs and fell into a fitful and restful sleep for the first time in about a month, despite the uncertainty of my future.