There are times when real life gets in the way of writing. But as a friend once told me, “Real life always comes first.”
Unfortunately, real life got in the way this weekend. I had decided to spend the weekend with B, the guy I’ve been seeing off and on for the past (almost) six years. When I got to his place on Saturday, he informed me we were going to his parents’ house for a Father’s Day get together. I was cool with that because I love his parents. I love his whole family as if they were my own. I mean, I’ve been to enough family functions that this isn’t weird for me.
We had a great time. The whole family from B’s mom’s side was there. It was so great to see everyone because it had been awhile since the last family function. It was a potluck type dinner with fried chicken, potato salad, green bean casserole, watermelon, cookies, and peach cobbler. We spent a couple of hours catching up, talking and laughing. I’m not only close to B’s immediate family, but I’m also close to his oldest cousin, John, who has been a great friend to me the past couple of years. So it was really great to see him and his wife as well. In fact, his whole family was there, including both of his brothers, Jay and Drew.
After dinner, B and I went about our regular weekend. I had gotten Sunday off from work so that I could have lunch with my dad for Father’s Day. B was heading out to John’s house to work on a lawnmower that needed to be fixed. He was supposed to be gone for a couple of hours. I was going to have lunch and then start my “Firefly” marathon.
A couple hours later, I got the call.
It was B. When I answered the phone he said he needed to talk to me, that I needed to listen and not say a word. He sounded deadly serious and my heart immediately started pounding and my hands shaking. I agreed to his terms. He said that he and John had gone over to check on Jay because he wasn’t answering his phone. They found him dead in his house. B told me he would be several more hours and to just wait and be there for him when he got home. I agreed of course, and tried to remain calm while still on the phone. As soon as I hung up, I allowed myself to fall apart and cry for a few minutes before I got up and started thinking about what I could do.
It was definitely one of the longest days of my life, just sitting around, waiting for anyone to contact me and let me know what was going on. At one point, B called me and let me know that him and our friend Baskins were coming by to get a few things. I hadn’t seen Baskins in quite some time, and the moment I saw him, I gave him a hug. Baskins was very close to all of the Greshams as well as B and his family so I know he felt the loss very deeply. They were only home for a couple of minutes before they were gone again, leaving me home with the dog, trying to find something to do to keep me occupied. Finally his roommate, Kay, made it home and I had someone to sit with.
When B finally got home later that night, all Kay and I could do was talk to him and sit with him while he cried. B and his two brothers raised with the three Gresham cousins. They were like six brothers instead of cousins, they were all that close. My heart broke as I watched B cry and break down over the loss of his brother. But there was nothing I could do for him. It was an even longer night.
The next day, B and I each had some errands to run before we could go visit the family. He agreed with me that I should go because I’m not only close to his family but to John, as well. It was late afternoon before we got word that it was okay to go see John and his parents, Karen and Charles. We hugged everyone and then the family sat around and talked about funeral arrangements, Jay and his arrogant-but-lovable attitude, and even traded stories about him. It was hard to watch his pretty, young wife sit over on the side as she went from sad giggling to devastated crying. I hate seeing people in pain, especially when there is nothing anyone can do to make it go away.
We all knew Jay was sick. He had been sick for a really long time with pancreatitis and several other ailments that can often go along with that. As Baskins said, “He was acting like Jay again. I think we all forgot how sick he really was.” Because he was acting like Jay again. I saw him Saturday night, and he looked fine. He hugged me to congratulate me on my promotion. We stood outside together and talked with his Uncle Randy. It’s so surreal to me that he’s gone now. That just a few short hours later he died alone in his living room.
As I’ve been writing this, B called me. He told me that the coroner’s report came back. Jay died of a blood infection. Apparently he had been complaining of phantom pains from time to time, but had never gone to have them checked out. He had had this infection for quite some time. No one knew about it. There was nothing that could have been done by the time it hit him. At this point in time, I’m not sure what to do with this information. All I’m waiting for is the funeral when the shock finally wears off and people are going to start breaking. Until then, I’m going to try to get back to my normal.
Rest in peace, cousin. We will all miss you.
Health, Peace, & Happiness,