This has had to be one of the worst days of my life.
I am drained, tired and exhausted.
Now for my kids, let the healing begin.
We were lucky I found Holiday Inn Express - Jackson California to stay in, I explained what we were coming there for, and they allowed us in our rooms early to try to gather our stregth for having to view my ex-husband. They were VERY kind to us. It was clean, and smelled good, no cigarette smells in the rooms. Large enough disabled room for my daughter and bathtub that was safe for her. My daughter and g-boy in one room down the end of the hall so she could have access to outside for her smoking and me a couple of doors down, where my son and his girl would stay with me as well. We were able to reflect and meet up with my son before going to the Mortuary.
This was THE most horrific thing I have ever had to force myself to do in my entire life, and if you knew what I have lived through, that is really saying something. I never expected to have to walk my kids through the process of dealing with a parents death. Nor dealing with my ex-husbands death. His family has refused to view the body with the kids, and anyone who knows me knows how I will go to the ends of the earth for my kids and stand by them in thick and thin...and this is part of my responsiblity as a parent to them. Some may not understand why I am doing this, but they don't know my heart.
We had about an hour and half of just dealing with the business of death...the arrangements before we could view the body, and it was looming over us, my daughter broke at one point...her anger comes out when she is overwhelmed.
Once we were there my daughter started crying and telling me she couldn't do it without me, that it was the last time we would be together as a family...how to you break your childs heart by reminding them you haven't been a family in over 13 years .... I put on my big girl panties and went in with my kids. I really was not prepared to view him. I thought I would be there for my kids to go in...and a rush of emotions hit me right in the chest when I walked in.
My daughter had insisted that her 8 year old son be able to view him the whole time, and finally she agreed SHE would see him first and then decide. My son's girlfriend stayed with him in the front of the mortuary where there was a beautiful room with a fire going. My daughter was so upset when she saw her father that she couldn't make the decision and asked me, I made the decision to spare him of having nightmares the rest of his life. AND I will stand on that decision for as long as I live.
So many conflicting emotions. He looked so far removed from the man I loved, really the boy I fell in love with...I was very young...we were 15...what do you know when you are 15? Anyway, he looked like the choices he had made and it broke my heart. My son, brought clothes for the undertaker to put him in, he was dressed, cleaned up and the man took care to wrap a gauze bandage on the worst part, my daughter brought her favorite bandana and he placed it over his head, covering the injury. He had his leather jacket on and his cane and leather hat were on his chest. One hand was out because my kids wanted to hold his hand.
My heart broke. On many levels. He really didn't treat me very well while we were married and we were married for 20 years, together for 24. And only while being able to see the past of the whole life can it break your heart that he was never able to make better choices. The potential he had was so great, but instead he ended up like this...
All of his bad choices laying directly in front of me...his death the direct result of a decision to go out to a bar, drink, sing and then get in his car to drive home and speed on a mountain road while he was drunk, and not turn with the road. Honestly, I just thank the universe that he didn't hurt anyone else in his car crash...that we don't have to deal with another family grieving and being angry with him. He knew better...he is responsible for this outcome...and I am angry he made that choice...that he is putting my children and I through this...and the reprocussions of the hard days coming our way.
The disappointment and anger I still have of his family. His mother and closest sister refused to see him with us. That just brings up so much anger in me. The woman who bore him, abused him, tormented him, dangled a promise of I will love you IF, refused to see him ... The sister that went through hell and back like they were thick as thieves refused to see him. There I stood with my children...in an empty room...saying the final good-bye and struggling to forgive it all for the last time in person. I am rendered without words to convey the contempt I feel for his family that got between us while we were together and fought me every step of the journey. NEVER there for the hard...
I was proud of my son's girlfriend. She was there, she stood by my son and his family. She walked in after our time with my son, and said goodbye. She is a keeper. She is a person who has substance and I adore her more now.
After all of that we went to Mel's diner and finally ate something...we were all drained and emotional...and needed food...and some laughs. Passing down to the next generation the nose and spoon trick! And I really lusted after that Betty!