Sunday, November 14, 2010

goin up to the spirit in the sky

Time to wrap up the saga of little brother. A sad, self-inflicted ending to a sad life, wasted in foggy self-administered (natural and man-made) drug coma, allowed because of denial of spiritual being, inability to seek other paths that may have brought self-esteem and perseverance, and a brilliant ability to attribute blame for one's situation onto anyone other than self. He'd cry out to God "if you're there" in his writings but never could get God to do the magic things immediately that were sought, thus cementing unbelief... like a child who doesn't get what he wants right away... throw a tantrum and walk away saying the hell with you.
He apparently thought he had at different times, two common-law wives, both of whom apparently OD'd and died leaving him in grief to muddle about and never relate substance abuse to possible death in others... but often hoping his own intake would result in the same outcome for him... which it never did... thus the chosen ending using a weapon of brain destruction that couldn't be remedied.
The hobby seemed to be to crap on "the man" whenever one could get away with it; beg, borrow (never paying back), or steal. No big deal if you had more that he had at the time because why would you miss what he needed when you seemed to have so much?
Classic portrayal of outward/inner man not matching; what you saw was not what you got if you wanted to get close to him. For no one could get close even a mother who thought he took such good care of her.
One man's reality, another man's fantasy.
Some day I may know how it truly finished as he went to meet the Spirit in the sky, however there will be no sorrow or grief for me because it is finished and I believe.
Don't waste your sorrows on him, me or anyone else but yourself until you can be certain of the One Who offers you salvation through The Cross: Jesus Christ Himself. A shroud has no pockets. At the final millisecond of your life here upon the earth, what else will TRULY matter?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Grand Daughters

Had a fun day with my granddaughters, who are becoming ladies far too quickly. I am so proud to be their grandma and I give them many reasons to make fun of old people. And they do a good job of that. Keeps us laughing a lot. But they ain't seen nuttin yet. I am quite sure there will be many more times and events for them crack up over as they spend time with "the old folks". The generation gaps are hysterical really... might as well laugh because you can't change things much.
The girlies are getting so old so fast that I've decided to keep my hair grey... just so no one thinks I am their mother. It's nice to not be the mother who has to discipline. With a grandmother you can do almost anything...(ALMOST anything) and not have to have a butt-kicking contest. But I hope to always have energy for canasta! I can kick butt at canasta!!
Hoping for several more fun times with the 2 of them before Ms Autumn has to go home to ID.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful twin sister Joan. She's been my best friend forever. (We need to get more look-alike clothes!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

little brother died, part two

So, here I am, next of kin to a suicide case in Las Vegas; no wife or children to speak to and say, "here ya go; you handle it; you're it!". Joan is home in Calif with eye problems, awaiting surgery; other brother has been estranged from little brother for many years... I think the last time they saw each other was in 1984 when Dad died. Thank God my husband has agreed to be in LV with me and go through this experience with me. Our kids want to be here for us, to support us, but their circumstances with their families call for them to stay home and keep on with their lives. Our LV friends have offered so much support, and wish to accompany us as we go through the steps of settling things. It will be a learning experience for us all.

Tuesday (April 20) we go out to breakfast with our friends. 2 calls come in on my cell: Davis Mortuary is still bugging Joan about what to do with John's body,(first they ask her what to do with her father's body; she says he died in '84 and she's pretty sure they don't have HIS body) she tells the guy John isn't even with them, the guys says "oh, wait a minute" and puts her on hold so she hangs up. jackasses! Mr M calls telling me Mz A is begging for a viewing of John so she can tell him a proper goodbye, and Mr M would take her if I can arrange a viewing. I think "well, didn't you already do that in your 'dear john' letter ?" But then I think I need to be kind and will look into this, although who would want to see a corpse with a GSW to the head? Unless you're a CSI freak, But people are damn weird, if they are anything... so I call the mortuary guy. The guy at NV Funeral Services tells me it would cost $150-200 extra to fix John up for viewing, and it would take a lot of time and delay cremation. Only I can authorize this, no one else can even if they pay. I leave a message for Mr M that I won't pay this extra money, and he says he can't pay either. So I tell him to tell Mz A "no". Later I get a voice mail from Mz A crying, begging me to let her view John's body and that she has the "$200 to restore his face". Then I get damn mad at the balls she has to ask this, decide there is no way I will let this happen and that she can just say goodbye to a freakin box of ashes later on sometime. I do not want to talk to her, so I ask Mike to leave Mr M a message that we've decided her request is unreasonable and won't be done. He leaves the message for Mr M to pass on to Mz A, and that matter is settled as far as we are concerned.

We all 4 go to the Public Administrators (PA) Office at 1 PM for our appointment. There is a huge sign that says right off the bat there is a $150 charge for ANY PA services, and I think "geez, I hope they take my Visa". About 1:20 PM we are called into a small office off the waiting room, there are 4 chairs so we all sit down and a lady begins to let us know what was taken by the PA investigator from John's house. All she has is in one 8 1/2x11 clasp envelope. Can't be much I think.

First I have to sign a paper stating I am John's legal next-of-kin and that I have the right to receive property of John's. If I am a fake, I will have to pay to his estate 3 times the value of what I heist. But this don't scare me none, so I sign the legal paper.
The PA lady then empties the envelope on the desk and item by item and checks off the content as she shows me what is there: a bag of coins, check books from bank and credit union, car and home keys, gun registration card, a paper with xeroxed charge cards but not the cards themselves, and 2 watches. Then she says, "We found 211 dollars and kept our $150 fee and you'll get a check in the next few weeks for the balance".
I think I asked a few questions as Mike took notes, but I can't recall what I asked. We were given the name and number of the lady who is a manager at Archie Grant Housing area where John lived. We should let her know if we go to John's home. There is no will we're told so we can dispose of his stuff as we see fit. He was in public housing, on public assistance and disability, and other than the contents of his house, had only a car. I'm pretty weepy by now, so we thank her and leave with the envelope of all the PA investigator cared to take as "valuables". I think: 58 years and your valuable stuff is put into ONE STICKIN ENVELOPE?? Then I recall that we are laying up treasure in Heaven, not on this Earth, and I am comforted by this thought. And I recall telling ol' rich Uncle Frank once that a shroud has no pockets. It's the same for a rich man as it is for a poor man.

After leaving the PA office, we walk next door to the Coroners Office. I give the case number and ask if there is anything we need to do next. I am told I can get 3 reports in 2-4 weeks for $40 if I want the Medical Examiner, toxicology and autopsy reports. I say I'll think about it, but later decided to not order them. I forget to ask for a copy of the suicide note, but perhaps it was just the living will or advance directive John wrote before dying. It would be useless now anyway.

We then head to NV Funeral Services, a little building out on Fremont Street. The owner is a nice guy named Steve who spends about an hour with us (me, Mike and our friend Syl) filling out papers, putting the $506 charge on our Visa, and telling stories. I like him and feel at ease there in a tiny room filled with small demo caskets and expensive urns. That don't scare me none. Steve of course tries to sell me a fancy box, and when I say (three times) that I'll just have the ashes in the cheapest plastic box please, he writes "plastic" on the order instruction form and it is settled. He has to call in info to the LV Clark County recorders office, and then death certificates can be bought, but that'll take a few days. We'll have to go to the LV Records office to get the certs. I give him Mr M's name to put down as another person who has permission to pick up the ashes or "cremains" as they're known; since we cannot bury John at the Veteran's cemetery with Mom, we have to find another place. Steve says the coroner may release the body the next day and then cremation will take place. He tells us each mortuary owns their own crematorium, and he finally got permission to have his crematorium here at his building, so now he won't have to go across town anymore to do his work. Maybe by Friday, he says, the ashes will be ready. (But the fol owing Monday when I call about picking up the ashes, we're told John has not yet been cremated.) All siblings have to sign permission for Steve to cremate so he asks about any other siblings. I tell of my twin, and estranged other brother; he says "well, in NV the majority rules, so I just need your sister to fax permission then I'll do it. Two out of three of you is acceptable." Later that day we call Joan and Kim and they deal with the faxing and notarizing. Luckily Kim has recently gotten her notary status and she is a big help to us.

We go by John's housing complex on the way home, see his car is still there, and I note a cemetery filled with flowers on graves is just around the block from his home. Note to self: call this place, it is in a crappy part of town and probably will be cheap. (I am so damn ignorant.)

Wednesday morning I'm up early to make calls I'd determined the night before to make. Sleep doesn't come easy as things swirl through my head and I know I have to get through this nightmare and back to work next week. I call the cemetery by John's house and ask what a cremation plot would cost. The lady on the phone coughs a smokers cough, clears her throat and rattles off a litany of costs that eventually total over $1500! There's the cost of the plot, opening AND closing of the hole costs, outer box cost (it's the law she says) place marker cost depending on what I want, ... carrying of box to grave cost, setting box in hole cost, chairs cost, rent of chapel or memorial room cost, undefined cemetery licence fees, tax and gratuity, air tax, sun tax, Mayor Goodman's special fees... etc etc. I jest, but it was RIDICULOUS!!! and I was shocked! So I hung up and thought, if Mike and I drive home at midnight to LA I can just open the box when we're off Zzyxx Road off the I-15
and let John blow in the wind! geeeeeeezzzzzzz. Thanks a lot for making sure you had everything covered before you blew yourself away, Kid.

I call Screen Actors Guild with John's member number to let them know he's dead, and to ask about residuals because Mr M told me they are given in perpetuity and I need to settle this matter. But after papers are sent to me, there will be a 40 day waiting period before I can sign and notarize and return the papers. Another hurry up and wait situation.
I try to call Social Security office but no real person will take the call, so I give up and make a note to visit the Soc Sec office which is out in North LV.

I call LV Metro Police and give the case number and ask to speak to the detective on the case. I'm told it is a Det "B" but there are 4 or 5 of same name and did I know if it is a lady or a man who investigated. How the hell would I know, I think, but i say "no, don't know; don't you know?" I am given a number of the detective who the person on the phone thinks may have been the one, but when I call that number, the voicemail box is full and I can't leave a message. Oh great. Need plan B to deal with the police.
We go to John's bank but find out we cannot be told anything until we have submitted a death certificate and wait 40 days. I suspect this gives all the places he owes money to time to try to collect what they're owed from his account. I know he is about 8 K in debt; the collectors can fight over the $29.99 left in his account... IF there is that much even.

Wednesday afternoon I let the lady at Archie Grant know we will be going into John's house and we have permission as next of kin to do so. She says she's so sorry for our loss and John never gave her any problems and he seemed like such a nice guy. The complex is made up of cinder block (?) one-story four-plexes and is public, crowded housing. read POOR. I feel like it is a foreign country we enter.
We go, 4 of us; first we unlock John's car and the trunk to look for papers. A black lady comes across the lot from another four-plex to say she'd buy the car for $500 cash right now. She was a friend of John's and always "liked his car". I tell her John's friend will sell it later, after Saturday. (We'd set up Sat at 10 am to meet Mr M at John's to clean stuff out together. Mz A's grown son would be there Sat as well because John had promised him furniture.) John's car ashtray is full of ashes and cig butts; he'd kicked that habit a few times but guess it never was permanent. We note a few other people on porches watching us, and I think I see Mike standing up a bit taller and note him speaking in his deepest voice possible. I say a prayer for protection and hope it's not noted that I am crippled, use a cane, and couldn't beat off a fly if I tried. !! joke.

When we enter the home, it reeks of cig smoke, ash trays and cat poop. It's musty and very dusty and cluttered with lots of stuff piled on the bed and a living room table piled with papers and unopened mail. We each take a different "station" to start sorting through stuff, making trash bags and "take to look through later" bags. We find some old journals I want to read, some pretty decent looking afghans I know Mom made, Mom's coin collection and tea pot, and the Danish Ceramic Dogs Mom always had on her mantle, some CD's, and other assorted junk I think I recognize and want to look through. John had brought a lot of Mom and Cis's stuff to his house when they each had to go into nursing homes. I am mostly interested in photos and journals. I take mail thinking to let bill collectors know John has died, and there will be 15 or so of them to notify. We found a paper that he'd been to a debt counsellor in Dec, and we found receipts from University Med Center Clinic for health visits recently. The papers note diagnoses of Hep C, cirrhosis, a skin problem, and arthritis; he needed knee surgery and was on many meds for depression, anxiety and sleep and pain relief. Nice assorted combo to go along with whatever street stuff he stayed on for years.

Soon some skeleton of a cig-smoking woman with a yapping little dog who wanted to attack someone (but he's on a leash) walks in, walks over to a poster on the wall and says, "sorry about John, can I take this poster? John and I met at this play and it would mean so much to me to have this". It was a shitty little magazine-page-like poster, but I said "No, nothing can be taken or sold from here until Saturday" so she tells me to save it for her then stands in the room and smokes and talks. I finally ask her to smoke outside before I start coughing, but it is too late, I've waited too long and have a coughing spasm. Then I tell the others we shouldn't let anyone else in; they can wait for Saturday. And I didn't let her take the poster thinking that it'd only take 5 seconds and the whole Archie Grant complex population would be clamoring to come in and take shit. Mike finds a cane with a knob on the top that'd make a good noggin-whopper and keeps it near himself to use as a weapon PRN. Thank God for Mike. 2 or 3 more people come to the door saying "sorry about John shooting himself, can I have some furniture?" The vultures circle.

After about 1 1/2 hours, we close up and leave. The lady who wants the car runs over to carry boxes and won't take no for an answer when Mike tells her to leave them be. She hands me her name and phone numbers and reminds me she has $500 for the car... cash money. She retreats to a porch overlooking the parking lot, and will probably sleep there with one eye open on that car until she can buy it. Mr M had told me he and his wife had given John that car 4 years ago, and I told him then he can have it back to sell or keep. It won't be my problem. Later I will learn the DMV won't do anything with a dead person's car for 41 days after death. So the car sale is still in limbo as I write this.

Thursday morning it rains, so I take time to look through stuff from Johns in our friends garage. The musty smell is awful, but I feel compelled to search for "stuff".. info, clues to the life John lived. The afghans Mom made turn out to have large cig burns when we unfold them... they go into the trash instead of the washing machine. damn shame. Mom crocheted afghans to last decades, but with burns in them, they are trash. I toss a lot of papers but find something John wrote about himself to give as a speech to his Humanist Group about Homelessness and Addiction. It is his story and I keep it, and will write it up at a later date.

After the rain stops, we make a visit to Metro Police HQ downtown LV; have a hell of a time parking and finding a ramp to enter the building; then we have to take a number and wait to talk to a dummy behind the bullet proof glass. When I ask to speak to a detective about my brother, we're told there are no detectives there, they have a place a few miles away, but I can order a police report for 6 bucks, which I do. Oh, but I need a death cert to get the report I'm told.. why? I ask... you know he's dead, it's in your report. But protocol is king, so I pay for the report and can maybe get it later if I am lucky and fax the death cert to the right place. I ask about probate in LV, would I need to go to the courthouse? The gal prints out some info for me about probating one's estate. But it has to be valued over $20,000 to need probate, so I know we won't need to do that probate hassle. I confirm this later by a call to the probate court and a clerk tells me the same info.
We head to the other LV Metro police bldg and are able to talk to a nice volunteer guy working the desk. He makes some calls, gets us the name and number of the right detective who is handling John's case, and he tells us the Det will be in tomorrow and to call then.
We go back to John's for another hour or so. Mike finds John's wallet somewhere near the bed and a hand-written one page "last will and testament" where John wrote he leaves his meager belongings to his friend Mr M. There's 24 bucks in the wallet, so I pocket it for my troubles. His drivers licence and other membership cards are in the wallet, and it makes me glad to know he was legit and law-abiding in some things.

I make some calls to my work, and find I can get bereavement pay for five days, and so I won't be due back to work till a week from tomorrow. That's a blessing!
Friday AM we find out the death certificate can be ordered so we go the Clark County records office and get 4 copies at $20 apiece. Hopefully we won't need more than that. We go to the local Post Office to find out how to stop John's mail. Mr M decided he didn't want it forwarded to him, and I don't want it either. We have to fill out a forwarding address card and put "DECEASED" for the new address. I don't know if his mail now gets returned to sender or what. And I won't worry about it.

Saturday at 8:30 AM Mike and I meet Mr M for breakfast; I am an emotional and mental mess and tell him I just cannot go to John's again; I cannot deal with the vultures circling, and I do not want to meet Mz A or her son. I tell him we have been there twice and there is nothing more left I'd want to have from there. He asks again if I have John's watch with 3 small dials on it because Mz A's son has been calling him frequently to tell me that John promised this watch to him. I tell Mr M that whatever is still at John's house, Mr M can give away or sell as he pleases. He says the kid is being a pain in the ass about the watch. I hope the kid don't call me, it won't be pretty. If I do have the watch somewhere, it's mine now. Mr M asks if we found the car registration. We did not. It's a 96 Buick Regal that Mr M and his wife gave to John 4 yrs ago. (Later we'll learn the DMV requires a wait of 41 days before anyone can deal with the car. Mr M will send me papers to sign the car over to him so he can sell it.)
A gal from SAG comes to the restaurant to our table to get some photos from Mr M for the SAG newsletter. She sees we are eating, so she waves down the waitress to bring "lots of coffee" and orders herself something to eat as she plops down with us. What a character. We learn she has been a friend of John's for many years, and she has kind words about John. Said he was a gifted actor and teacher at the LV SAG Conservancy. When he gave a workshop, the place was full she said. She would be part of organizing the SAG Memorial for John. When I told her about burial costs, and that I wondered if anyone would be interested in scattering his ashes, she has a good idea and says she and Mr M will do it some day soon. I am grateful for that. Another matter settled.

Later that day we go with our friends to see Mom's grave at the Veterans cemetery, have lunch in Boulder City and take a drive around Lake Mead. A nice outing.
I sleep a little better that night as things are getting done and settled.
I continue to look through some journals and papers of John's that weekend. I'll write later of what I found.
Mr M calls Sunday night to say Mz A showed up at John's and "went to pieces" because she loved him and will miss him. Mr M was at John's Sunday to take away more stuff and he let some neighbors in who fought over things, and he had to be referee. Said someone stole the cable box when he was not looking but didn't get the remote with it. So he had 2 left over remotes and can't recall who got the tv's they belong to. He said "well, you know, those people there are so poor, they take anything." He asked if I got the small boxes of the "buttons" (lapel pin-on buttons) Mom had, I said yes, I took 2 small boxes of buttons. He says, well, those are the valuable ones, and there was a whole canister of the left over ones in a 20 lb kitty-litter container in the pantry. I said I didn't want those. He said the "valuable" buttons John had taken to an antique dealer and left them for 6 months but they never sold so he got them back. Kim had taken the Elvis buttons Mom had a few years ago when Mom let her take what she wanted off Mom's button boards. Mr M said John used pawns shops a lot but Mr M didn't find any pawn tickets. We agreed to meet Monday morning again so I could get John's house key to turn into the Housing Authority.

Monday morning I call the Detective who has John's gun and he is a nice guy; said he tells families to donate the gun or sell it and "do something nice with the money" but we have to wait 6 months before we can claim the gun to sell it. So we leave the case and clip with our friends and will decide later this year what to do with the gun.
We meet Mr M again before he has to go to work. he gives me the key and fills me in on a few more details about his time at Johns with the "vultures". He said the kid is still bugging him about John's watch but I say just tell him to forget it; I ain't dealing with that. I am glad to have this friend of John's in LV be such a good help to us at this time and tell him so. He is equally glad we came to LV so he would not have to deal with John's death by himself.

Mike and I go the Soc Sec office in North LV; it is a new building and clean and nice. We take a number and think we better settle in for a few hours, but we are called to a window in 3 minutes, show the death cert and my Calif DL, and are out of there in less then 10 minutes. I was told the Soc Sec checks would stop and John's account would be red-flagged as deceased so no one can use his number. Time will tell if this is true or not. I know too many people who had a hell of a time getting SS checks stopped when their loved one died.
We go to a housing authority office on the east side of LV, but it isn't the right office, so we are directed to go to an office downtown. So we do. We finally meet a nice lady who is authorized to accept John's house and mailbox keys. She tells us she is sorry for our loss, and I believe her since she is the most sincere person so far to say this. She even signs my notebook paper to "prove" I turned in the key, and Mike and I walk out of her office. I begin to sob because that seemed like the last item on the check-list of all the bullshit chores to accomplish to "settle" after John's death. So now I can break down and cry because the work is done for now.

So we head back to our friends house but stop for a little comfort food at an IN-N- Out first. We spend one more night with our friends and head home Tues morning. I feel good about what we've done and hope there are no loose ends to come back to bite me in the butt. It'll take awhile to grieve as I need to, in my own way, but it's OK and God holds me in the palm of His hand always.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

little brother died, part one

I feel compelled to write this down... and have no expectations of anyone reading it or commenting; it's for my healing of a traumatic time, but there may be curiosity, so here tis. Read it if you choose.
Not sure why I am putting this particular photo here, but I am... it is from 1952; Mom and Dad are gone now, and one of us had to be next, that's just the way life goes. It was John.
After something unexpectedly crappy happens, I need to sort through the "what just happened here" questions and settle on some acceptable answers for myself so that I can keep on keepin on without being devastated entirely. So I need to write down how it was to deal with my little brother's death by suicide April 16, 2010.
It was that Friday afternoon late that my sister called me to say she had a phone message from the Las Vegas Coroners office asking her to call back. I knew it must mean John died, but I was hoping of course that it was not true. John had written Joan and me a letter in March telling us his girlfriend/fiance broke up with him March 1st, (we'll call her Mz A) and that he was so sad. He told us he loved us, asked forgiveness for any trouble he ever caused us, and said it was hell getting older with physical problems taking their toll. I recall at the time telling Joan "this sounds like a good-bye letter" but she disagreed. But something in my spirit made me read between the lines of what he wrote; I left him a phone message he never returned, and emails he never answered. I assumed he would take a lot of pills and/or street stuff to OD. I knew he had bought a gun some time ago, but he told us that it got stolen from his car.

Joan called the coroner back and a Coroner Investigator told Joan that John had been found dead in his apartment's bathroom with a GSW and his gun was found in his lap. And he probably had been dead for 2 days before he was found. The housing office had Joan's name as next of kin, so she was contacted. She was given a Coroners Office case number 10-3210, told the body was to be released to Davis Mortuary after all the Coroners work was done and told to call back if any questions. I think Joan then gave my name and number as well, and then she called me. I burst out crying saying, "I knew it! I knew it" but I also knew, and still believe, there was nothing I could've ever done to prevent John's suicide; not then, not now, not ever. When people want out like that, they get out without thought to anyone left behind.
Joan asked me why would John shoot himself in the stomach since the gun was in his lap; that didn't make sense that he would do that but at a time like that phone call, one can't think of questions to ask yet as the shock is too great. So the assumption was a stomach GSW. John had left a hand written "living will" naming his Las Vegas friend of 20 years, (we'll call him Mr M) as his power of attorney for health decisions. But upon death, that living will power ends, and the Coroner decided John had died without a will, and next of kin needed to step forward.
Joan dealt with the Davis Mortuary per phone and was told they need $1575 to cremate John. They have a contract with the Coroner but a family can use any other mortuary. I knew John never kept a pot to piss in, so we would need to shop around or this episode was going to cost a fortune.

After I called my kids to let them know about John , I had many questions. I think I called the coroners office in Las Vegas 3 times that weekend. Each time I was connected to a different investigator but each one was very nice and willing to talk to me and let me ask questions. I was given a police incident number and the name and number of the Public Administrator investigator who would be handling John's case. The police case number was 100416-2448. I would learn later that number was the date, and the dash 2448 meant there were already 2447 cases that year in LV Metro Police Homicide files. yikes! I was told no will was found, the police concluded there was no foul play, a passport and some credit cards and the gun and its registration card were taken into evidence. There were house and car keys; John's car was parked at his housing lot as usual. A friend (Mz A) had called the housing office asking for a welfare check on John because she had not heard from him, and when housing maintenance men went to look in his house, they found him in the bathtub dead and called police. I said I was an RN, and although this was my brother, and I was emotional, I wanted details.
The coroner told me the "head post" report showed an intraoral GSW; photos showed John had wrapped himself up in towels, laid down with pillows and covered himself with blankets and shot himself. There would be "blood products" on the towels, and in the tub, but over all it was not too bad a scene. I asked about clean up because I knew about hospital handling of blood products and body fluids, and I knew John had Hepatitis C. I was told we would have to hire a special cleaning service to do the clean up in the bathroom but not to worry, there were many services that did this kind of cleaning. I recall thinking at the time "the hell with that; I'll bag it up myself, or just go in, look around, and leave the Housing Authority to clean it up if they want to rent it again".

There would be Coroners reports I could order (and pay for) if I wanted them: a head post, a toxicology and a Medical examiners report. And there would be a police report too. I was told there was a suicide note I might be able to get, but I should get it from the Coroners office because the police were often reluctant to give these types of notes to families.

He may have been there 2 days before he was found the report said. I was told John's body would be released to Davis Mortuary because that's who the coroner contracts with, and cremation would be about $1500 maybe, but I could use any other mortuary if I called and made other arrangements. I asked why it seemed so expensive, and was told those places are just businesses and can charge whatever they want to charge. The coroner investigator told me there is someone on duty to talk to 24/7 in the coroners' office and to call back again anytime.

I recall using a Funeral Home to cremate Mom in January of 2006, so I look up those papers and find it was Nevada Funeral Service. I call them and a nice man tells me he will cremate for $500. I tell him he's "it" and give him the details. Then I call Coroners office and Davis Funeral to tell them we are using Nevada Funeral services. Sunday the Coroners office calls to ask where to send the body, and I say I already called and will use Nevada Mortuary; she says there is no service by that name, so I go get the papers from Mom and tell her it is "Nevada Funeral Services" on Fremont St, and she says "oh yeah". There would be several more calls like this to either Joan or me from Davis, the coroner, or NV funeral before we can straighten out where to release John's body. You find out real quick that no one talks to each other or takes notes when families call in.

I verify addresses and locations of Public Administrator, Coroner and the funeral home as I talk to people, trying to write everything down and make a plan; so many questions arise. oh God, there is no What-to-do-when-your-brother-commits-suicide Book for Dummies! But there is prayer asking for God's help to direct us and open the right doors to settle things as they should be settled. We ask our friends and family to pray for us as we journey through this, led by the God we trust. We later will look back in amazement with Thanksgiving at how smoothly most things went.
I call our good friends first thing Sat morning to ask if they are at their LV home or CA home, and as luck would have it, there are in LV until May 6 and tell me to come stay with them if I want to come to LV. I think it might be better to go there then to have the pain-in-the-ass of dealing with settling things by phone tag, fax and computer.
Our daughters and their families come over during the blurry weekend; Jordan makes a batch of brownies for comfort food, which I totally hork on; it's difficult to want to eat healthy; sleep doesn't come peacefully; I call a neighbor to come over and talk because her father had died last year in the same way and I ask how she dealt with it; our good family friend JB had come right over Friday night to minister to us. The support I felt was wonderful. And I am forever grateful for its provision.
I get up the courage to call John's friend Mr M. He remembers meeting me and Kim when we went to LV to move Mom's stuff out of her retirement home in 2003 or so. Mr M reads me a letter John had left for him last week. It was given to Mr M by John when John brought over his cat and laptop to Mr M, asking him to care for the cat and computer until John would return from Calif. John said he was going to Calif to look for housing and would move back to LA as soon as he could get public housing. Mr M knew of the breakup between John and Mz A. Mr M said John always brought him a note whenever John left town, giving Mr M "power of attorney" in case something happened to John. John had done this each time he travelled since totalling a car coming home to LV from LA years ago. Mr M said he seldom read the letters since John always made it back ok. He then told me he and John had talked about suicide before, but when John seemed to imply he was going to do it, Mr M "always talked him out of it".
John had been depressed off and on, but Mr M never thought John would actually do it. I tell him when we buried Mom, the veterans cemetery people told us one child or a spouse could be buried with Mom later if need be. Mr M said John knew that and it would be a good thing to do. (We would later find out that a "child" meant a child who was "disabled from childhood" and John didn't qualify for this honor. I would argue that point since John screwed his life up at age 13 and never straightened it out, but I digress.)

Monday it is settled to go to LV after I call the Public Administrator and make an appointment for 1 pm the next day to receive John's belongings taken from his home. I try to google what to do when a person dies without a will in Nevada, and all I get are sites telling me that Las Vegas is the US city with the most suicides in the nation each year. What luck; I figure they'll be a lot of people knowing just what to do for the ignorant families left behind. While I know sarcasm is hurtful, it drives me on.
So on Monday, Mike and I head to LV to stay 8 days with our friends and to try to "settle" things. I've let Mr M know we are coming, and he says that is good because he now has a census job and is so busy and still in shock. We arrive Monday night at our friends' beautiful LV home in a serene gated community and talk late about a "plan" of what to do. The Public Administrators office is a short distance away from their home, so at 1 Pm the next day we will begin our process and learn as we go. We've square danced together, dealt with our kids' problems together, buried some good friends together, but we never cleaned up after a suicide before, although one of her brothers did suicide when he was terminal and his wife left the house for a few minutes. But in John's case there is no wife and no kids. We lean on each other for support as we hunker down to get the job done.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Idaho vacation

well... it's back to work,sleep,eat routine after 12 lovely days in Idaho with TnT's family. They treated us so welcome-ly... Tara is a wonderful cook, makes super healthy meals, and taught me a lot about her adventure with food and healthy eating. Mike got to help Tim in the pizza kitchen and the business for gluten-free pizza crusts is growing. The kids were home on spring break and we got to shop, play cards, play Scrabble, and just talk and tell stories and bond. Will is progressing well and a change of school situation is in the works because he can learn so quickly and doesn't need to be held back by a slow pace of learning in a full classroom.
I uploaded lots of video to my youtube channel "grammajayne" for those interested in viewing the Idaho fam. they thrive there, and we had a lot of fun.
I get to work tomorrow and Friday, so will sign out and catch some zzzz's.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Not much new

HI!! It's been awhile and I haven't wanted to put my blog ideas here because I been too "otherwise occupied". Ok. I been working, and sitting in my easy chair on my days off except for a bit of gardening when I feel some spurts of energy. This first pic is of my baby cauliflower a few weeks ago.
I been working hard, using a lot of energy just to work part-time; but I ain't bitching, just tellin the facts, ma'am. We got through the Christmas Holidays with some good times with our daughters' families. Sure miss Tim's family but we plan to go see them for 10 days in March. My Mass nurse friends will come visit in early March so they can get in temps higher than 38F... maybe we can give them 10 days of pure good ol SoCal sunshine. Because if we do not, they laugh and mock our "storm watch" tv news, telling us we don't know what a REAL storm is. and we don't. Thank God.
It kinda hurts to garden... but it hurts to NOT garden, so what the hell. My friend Arthur-itis and his brothers Burr-sitis and Myo-sitis, who used to live with Gram, are present all the time now. But if one ignores them, life ain't too bad. Just so ya don't let in the Rheea sisters: Gonna, Dia, and Rhino you're doing ok.

Here's a pic of the cauliflower Mike picked for me today. The stem is so thick, I can't harvest it by myself, so Mr K cut it for us. cool, huh?
If we had to have a garden or die of starvation, we'd die for sure... but garden experiments are fun, and we hope to plant more vegs for summer again. Oh... and Mr K said he may uproot his side lawn in the front of the house and plant fruit or avocado trees. Now I know for sure the end of the world is at hand if Mr K gives up his lawn.