Thursday, April 23, 2009

A week, and a year

The atmosphere is heavy here at home today, because it marks one week since Billy died. My husband, in particular, feels some resentment at the "life must go on" philosophy. I agree, it seems a bit too soon to just "forget about it." The weekend with family brought back all the never-ending drama that surrounds so many of our relatives. And even 150 miles away, we keep stumbling over little reminders.

One year ago, Billy was in very bad shape. I had saved some of his e-mails. They were all written in block caps with no punctuation or sentence division. You had to read them over a few times to get the rhythm, tempo and shadings. They were brief, almost like haiku. When he wasn't giving Larry the Cable Guy a run for his money with his outrageous, wry humor, he was sending out clear cries for help. But trying to respond was akin to tracking someone out at sea in a dense fog. You'd swear the voice was coming from the east, but once you arrived there, you found nothing, and resumed paddling about, listening for more clues. We had gotten so many "goodbye cruel world" messages from him, interspersed with the clowning, that after awhile, we could do nothing but sit back, wait, and try to offer him friendship and encouragement when he would accept it.

While there won't be a clear cause of death available for a couple more months (pending all the autopsy & toxicology reports), we're reasonably confident that he died of natural causes. The scientific term for this is "Just one a them thangs." The medical personnel at the scene say that his body showed no movement or struggle after he hit the water, unlike a person trying to save himself from drowning. Death must have come very, very fast. Was his state of mind such that he welcomed it? We'll never know. He wasn't in the midst of extreme hardship, as he had been a few months before ... but his relationship with his daughter had to have been at the lowest point possible. He viewed her as flawless, an angel. It appears that in the weeks leading up to Billy's death, she resisted that characterization to the point that she went out of her way to rub her father's face in her imperfection; to make it impossible for him to harbor any illusions. He may have felt great relief that parts of his life (finances, friends, health) were turning around, but doubtless felt an endless void with regard to the one person that really meant anything to him.

I'm just one person among many, surprised again every day at just how badly he is missed.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss.