Another Loss Part 9
In the days and weeks following Curtis's death I used to lay beside Craig and fight sleep. I am one of the "lucky" ones that can usually sleep pretty well even when tragedy strikes. The doctor prescribed me some sleeping pills, but I never took them. In fact, the only reason I ended up taking a few Tylenol PMs was because I was trying to force myself to stay awake when I needed sleep.
I was terrified if I closed my eyes, when I would wake up, the love of my life would be gone.
Because, let's face it, that is what happened to Curtis. A baby that is to be stillborn usually dies at night, while the mother sleeps and her blood pressure drops. There are other factors involved, of course, but that is the likely time frame and something I learned a few days after losing Curtis.
If Curtis could just die while I was sleeping, so could Craig. So I would lay next to him, listening to him breathe. He usually has a slight snore so if that ever stopped, I was leaning across him, laying my hand on his chest and feeling the rise and fall.
When life changes so suddenly it is normal to feel this way. But I didn't know what normal was. Honestly, my life had been pretty peachy keen when it came to death. Only great grandparents well into their 80s had died. I had a grandfather die when I was 3, but I didn't remember that. I had a friend in high school die, but she wasn't anyone I had been close to since years before her death and honestly, it didn't effect me that much.
So Curtis was my first taste of the unfairness death brings.
Diane was my second.
We drove towards my in laws from Red Wing, trying to piece this all together. What had happened? How is this possible? Craig's cell phone kept ringing. His brother had been the first to hear. Working for the city, he had a co-worker who was a police officer who knew our family was friends with her family. They figured it was her heart.
This is going to sound purely selfish, but it felt so unfair. Craig and I were trying to spend a few days together away from home before he had to go back to work. We needed an espcape from everyone and we ended up back into another hellish situation. We knew how horrible it was to think this, but it just felt so unfair. We had enough going on. This situation alone would have been horrible enough.
Craig went over to be with the family. His best friend Jer, one of Diane's son's, was on a business trip and hadn't even been notified yet. They couldn't get a hold of him. He was to be flying that night and Craig offered to pick him up at the airport.
I spent the afternoon at my in laws house with one of my sister in laws and my father in law. I remember speaking out loud about my fear that Craig would die while I slept. My father in law kept saying that would never happen. But in situations like that, it is obvious how it can happen all too suddenly.
The day passed. My mother in law was at a loss. She was the last person to see Diane alive. They had been out late, at the casino. Diane had dropped my mother in law off late that night, gotten home, and died while getting ready for bed shortly after. Her husband didn't find her until closer to afternoon. They always slept in separate beds due to his snoring, and when Diane had been at the casino late, she always slept in. I remember my mother in law calling, sobbing hysterically. Repeatedly saying "I cannot believe this. I just can't." In the span of 10 days she lost her grandson and her best friend. The friend who was getting her out of the house, the friend who would help her through her grandson's death. Life is brutally unfair.
Craig and another friend went to pick up Jer at the airport. He had heard at this point. On some lay over, in some grimy airport, he heard that his mother had died. He knew it was bad by the sound of his brother's voice. He was expecting his uncle, or his grandma, or heck, even his dad. But not his mom. Not the mom who he had seen 3 days prior at some big family gathering.
At the doors near baggage claim, Craig and their friend waited. Jer came through the double doors. He took one look at Craig and said "Well, I guess she wanted to go hold Curtis."