The Last Day of His Life

I have fought doing the latest assignment for the Writing 101 course – A Day In the Life. My daily life is always different with lots of driving. I have had some really good days and some really bad days. Unfortunately, the day that stands out in my mind is the day the one I loved died.

I don’t like to think about that day and especially not in detail, but, maybe it’s time to put it out there, with some major details withheld, to work through it. So, here goes.

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My oldest wasn’t at home. He had left the day earlier with his class on a trip to the Smoky Mountains for a few days. My youngest was off school on Spring Break. The day was October 6, 2009.

The one I loved was working partly at work and partly at home in my office, doing the financials for my business and home. He also ran a few errands. I know now that he was getting everything in as much order as he could before he died. But I didn’t know then that anything was different that day. I remember talking to him that morning, but I don’t remember much that was said except for his telling me where he was going the times he left.

At around noon, a friend and I took my youngest and her children to see “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”. I hated that movie only because one of the main characters looked way too much like the “friend” who had an affair with the one I loved. It was like she was there in front of me through the entire movie. I tried to enjoy the time with everyone, but my heart and mind were in an uproar.

When I went home, I remember having a short conversation with the one I loved about the movie similarity. It wasn’t a good conversation and I was exhausted after the movie, so, I took a nap.

In the evening, the one I loved was getting ready to leave for a night meeting. I was in the kitchen working on dinner, when he called our youngest over to him to say goodbye. He gave his daddy a hug and said, “Bye, Daddy” and then ran to do whatever he wanted to do. The one I loved said, “You can do better than that!” At that point, I quickly looked at him with alarm. He had never anything like that before. It didn’t stay in my mind for longer than that split second when I looked at him.

He then stood up and came into the kitchen. I vaguely remember his telling me some information about the work he’d done in the office. I also remember his asking what the code was to one of the houses I managed. I asked him why and he said he needed to give it to someone he had coming over to fix a problem in the house. I told him and didn’t think anything more about it.

As he was ready to leave, he told me that he was sorry for what he had done (the affair). I looked at him and said, “Prove it!” then I turned and walked down the stairs. It was the last thing I verbally said to him and the last time I saw him alive.

I have thought about this last conversation many times. I wish it could have been different but I was hurting so badly. It was the first time he had said he was sorry for something I had found out about four days earlier. This fact hit me hard and I was being honest. Plus, I had no idea what he was leaving to do.

After he left, we went downstairs and I started going through his cellular records. I texted him several questions that night about some series of calls and phone numbers that kept showing up. I don’t remember what the last text was that I sent him, but “Yep” was the last thing he texted me. That word on a text still bothers me sometimes. When I answer in this way, I always spell it “Yup”. I just can’t get past that word written out.

When it go past the time he would normally be home. I, of course, started thinking he was with someone else. I finally went into my room at about 11:30. I texted the woman he was supposed to have had the meeting with and asked her when he had left. She told me he had never shown up but had texted her. At this information, I went downstairs to talk to my mom and she said she had a strange feeling all day that he was going to do something bad. She had noticed a few things I hadn’t, but she had thought he was just upset because of how things were between us.

We went upstairs and one of my friends texted me asking if the one I loved was home. I asked why and she told me he had asked her husband to meet him at the house we had talked about earlier. I thanked her and went into my office. There on the desk was a piece of paper he had written with all the information I needed for all business and personal accounts. I knew at that point that he was going to commit suicide.

I went back upstairs and showed my mom. I told her what I thought and called my friend again telling her what I’d found and asked if her husband could make his way back to the house because I thought he was committing suicide. I told them I was on my way over there, too, and my friend asked me to come by and get her so she could go with me. My entire body was shaking as I made my way to the car and started to drive.

On the way over to their house, I called a couple of friends, told them what I thought was happening and asked them to pray like crazy. I picked my friend up and, as we were on our way, she got a call from her husband. He was trying to get into the house and wanted to be sure about the code. She relayed the code and she waited while he walked in. I could hear him on the line screaming my husband’s name. I figured he had found his body. When we arrived, the husband was outside the house in front and confirmed he was dead.

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When I got home, my friends were with me and my in-laws arrived shortly after. We talked until the middle of the night. When they left and Mom went to bed, I sent a quick Facebook post out telling everyone what happened. I felt awful doing it this way, but it’s all I had energy to do. I tried to sleep, but I never could.

At about 6:30, my youngest came in the room, said good morning and asked me what was wrong. He came over to me and I hugged him tight.   I then told him his dad had died. He cried on my shoulder and then he just suddenly stopped. He told me a couple of days later that he had looked out the front window and saw an angel. He told me that he felt like she was telling him everything was going to be alright and he stopped crying. He has remembered this sighting many times; in fact, he brought it up again just last month.

At noon the next day, my friend drove me down to and back from the Smoky Mountains to tell my oldest. When I walked into the cabin, he was the only one in the room (thank you, God). I took him out for a walk and he immediately asked me, “So, who died?” Unfortunately, we had already lost two grandparents and two family pets in 2009. I just said, “Daddy” as I started to cry. He was pretty calm and asked a few questions. We then packed his things and made the trip home. By the time we got home and got him in bed it was late.

But I couldn’t go to bed then because the suicide letter was waiting for me to read (they never release the original letter to families and a copy is not released until the next day – his dad picked it up and delivered it to my house). It was a long, handwritten note and it included a typewritten note he had written in February. He apparently had planned to take his life the day he wrote it but his granddad had died that day, so he didn’t. This was shocking news and the note was much less personal. When I finally got to bed, it had been 34 hours since I had last slept.

We buried him about a week later to allow for family to arrive from out-of-town. It was a very nice funeral and graveside service with a dinner following at the church.

~ Joanna Lynn

(As a light side note, I have one last smaller story to share. When I sought out counseling for all of us at our church, the woman I talked to said she had been in the foyer during the funeral in case anyone needed to talk. She told me that at one point my youngest was at a table in the foyer with a girl. There was a piece of candy on the table and the girl said, “I should get it because I haven’t had a piece yet.” My youngest then said, “Oh, yeah, well my dad just died.”   He got the last piece of candy!)

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