Entering Into My Season of Grief

adult alone anxious black and white
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

July 4, 2017

As the sun shined into my husband’s childhood bedroom, I woke up to the sound of my two-year-old son, Blake, jumping on the mattress of his crib. I looked at the time on my phone and it was 7:47am. “Wow,” I thought, “I can’t believe I actually got to sleep in on a holiday!”

We stayed up late watching the movie Hidden Figures with our family the night before, and I was grateful for this late start to my day.

“Good Morning! How did my baby sleep?” I chirped to Blake as I lowered him onto the carpet.

“Good” he mustered as he waddled towards his changing table.

I put an episode of Daniel Tiger on my iPhone, lifted him up onto the changing table, and proceeded to change his diaper and put on his festive 4th of July outfit.

“There you go—now you look ready to party!” I exclaimed and we proceeded down the stairs.

I took my phone away from Blake and put an episode of Arthur on the TV for him while I made my morning coffee and breakfast for Blake. My husband, Aaron, was still in bed sleeping and nobody was up yet, not even the dogs.

It was just a normal, peaceful morning at my in-laws house and looking back, was just the calm before the biggest storm of my life.

“It was just a normal, peaceful morning at my in-laws house and looking back, was just the calm before the biggest storm of my life.”

I chose a K-cup from the carousel, and placed my favorite Harvard Business School mug on the Keurig and selected the largest output possible.

“Why did I not remember to buy one of these when we were in Boston last year for the reunion?” I thought to myself, rather annoyed.

I got an apple juice pouch out of the refrigerator and proceeded to pour Blake a small bowl of Coco Puffs. Blake was casually playing with some Hot Wheels while watching Arthur, so I placed the food and beverage next to him on the carpet.

At that time, my in-laws, Terry and Sue, came down the stairs.

“Good Morning!” I greeted them and asked Blake to do the same.

I walked back into the kitchen to get my coffee, and proceeded to pour some sugar and cream into the hot, black liquid.

As I was talking to Terry and Sue about our potential plans for the day—Should we go to a parade? What time are we going to have a cookout? What time will we head back home today?—I felt the vibration from my FitBit signaling that someone was calling me.

“That is so odd. Who would be calling me this early in the morning? It’s only 8:20am,” I thought to myself.

I reached to get my phone off the kitchen counter and looked at the screen. My phone displayed a 419 area code number and with the city of Bellevue listed. I am no stranger to receiving multiple telemarketer calls a day, and I briefly hesitated, almost declining the call. Then, an ominous feeling came over me that something was wrong. One of my best friends, Tish, is from Bellevue, and I automatically thought that something must have happened to Tish and that one of her family members was calling me.

While I was standing at the kitchen counter, looking into the living room at my son cheerily and nosily playing with cars, I answered the phone.

“Hello,” I answered quietly.

“Is this Misti?” a man asked.

“Yes, it is,” I confusedly replied.

“Misti, my name is Mike and I am a Chaplain with the Marblehead Police Department. Your father is dead. You need to come right away.”

“Misti, my name is Mike and I am a Chaplain with the Marblehead Police Department. Your father is dead. You need to come right away.”

As the man said these words, I leaned my body towards the kitchen counter and placed a hand on my forehead, trying to comprehend.

“I am sorry—who did you say? It is really hard to hear you,” I expressed.

“Your father is dead,” the Chaplain exclaimed.

“My Dad?” I asked.

“Yes.” The Chaplain a matter-of-factly said.

“Are you sure? My Dad?” I asked again, hoping that I misheard him.

This must be a sick joke, how could this be possible? My initial reaction was to grab a pen and notebook of paper, thinking that I probably need to write something down. At this time, Terry and Sue whispered to me “Is everything okay?” as Blake ran over to show me a cool car he found. I shook my hand no and asked my in-laws if they could take Blake away for a couple of minutes. Terry and Sue asked Blake if he wanted to play with his cars on the back porch and he excitedly ran outside to move his cars around their circular patio table—one of his latest obsessions.

Now that Blake was out of the house, I was able to gain additional information from Mike the Chaplain.

“I’m sorry, Mike—my son was in the room with me. You can continue.” I told the man.

“Ma’am, your father is dead. We are here with your mom and she is very upset. We have her hooked up to some machines. Is there anyone that you know who can come over to be with her?” He asked.

“My Aunt Lynn lives right down the road—you can get her! She will be awake!” I exclaimed.

As I was trying to put all these terrible pieces together, I immediately thought that my Dad must have been in a boating accident. As a charter captain, it wouldn’t be uncommon for him to be out on Lake Erie so early in the morning. He just helped fix a jet ski we just bought, so maybe he was out on that early this morning and was in an accident? I just wasn’t sure. At this point, nothing made sense.

“I am sorry, Mike. I am not following this really well. How did my Dad die?” I asked him.

“It looks like he took his own life, Ma’am,” Mike the Chaplain told me. And at that time, the wind was knocked out of me and I knew that I would never be the same again.

“‘It looks like he took his own life, Ma’am,’ Mike the Chaplain told me. And at that time, the wind was knocked out of me and I knew that I would never be the same again.”

At some point during this conversation, Terry ran upstairs to get Aaron out of bed.

“Aaron, something is wrong with Misti’s Dad! You need to come downstairs right now!” he exclaimed.

By the time Aaron came downstairs, I was pacing in my in-laws front yard. I don’t even think that I had shoes on, which is a rarity for me.

“Can I talk to my mom? Does she want to talk to me?” I asked the Chaplain.

“Misti, he’s dead!” My mom shouted into the phone.

“Mom, we are going to get through this. I will be there as soon as I can.” I calmly told her.

“Misti, you don’t need to come up here. He’s dead, there’s nothing you can do to change it! He isn’t coming back!” My mom sobbed.

“Mom, of course I am coming. I just need to get ready and I will be there. I love you.” I wearily stated and hung up the phone.

What seemed like an eternity was actually 9 minutes in duration.

9 minutes.

That is all the time it it took to change my life forever.

 

 

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