Don’t you just love the questions that come after your spouse passes away at the young age of 40? So have you found out what happened, was he sick, have you heard back from the autopsy, do you think it was his heart? Some people I believe genuinely cared, because they care about me. Others I think just wanted an earful of gossip. I’ve spent the past year picking and choosing who I give the answers to, and that’s ok. I do what I feel is best for me and best for Jason.
The morning of my 36th birthday when my 8 year old daughter found her father dead I was almost positive I knew what happened. I hoped and prayed I was wrong, but had a sinking feeling I was right. That morning was full of first responders. From the 911 operator, my amazing neighbor who spoke to the 911 operator for me, paramedics, fire department, police officers, detectives, etc…There were so many people in and out of the house on and off the phone. I remember feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath. I remember thinking this can not be happening, this can not be real, this is not my story! Who are all these men, why are there so many, where are the kids, why can’t I breath normally, this can not be happening, this is not my story. Where are all these people coming from? Did I turn the stove off?!?
Next thing I know my sisters appears. She was the first person I called, after 911, and it seemed as though she was here as soon as I hung up, immediately assuming the role of ring master of the nightmare of a circus going on. She was incredible. I honestly could not have done the things she was able to do. She is my hero and strongest person I know. Also the first person I answered when asked “what happened?” I told her I did not know, but had my suspicions. I did not want to be right.
Once the paramedics determined there was nothing they could do to save Jason the questions started rolling in. So many questions. Do you know what may have happened, were you two getting along, any history of alcohol or substance abuse, what medications was your husband on. Turns out when someone as young as Jason dies there is no choice, but an autopsy. So then the detective comes. Turns out Jason had a pocket full of illegal drugs. My suspicions are being confirmed, but I still didn’t want to accept them. It was so scary knowing I had two small children at home, a house full of police and detectives, a dead husband, and his pocket full of illegal drugs. I was terrified I was going to loose my husband and my children at the same time. Thankfully they did not take my children. We were able to leave and go to my moms house as soon as I was done answering the detectives questions. Without any hesitation my sister stayed at the house and continued her new roll of ring master. Answering the never ending questions, finding this grabbing that, calling all those that needed to be called, cleaning out the bedroom, removing the bed, and securing my house. She loves super hero movies, but I don’t know why because she is the real super hero.
The weeks it took waiting on the autopsy results felt like years. I thought I would never know what actually happened. I came up with 100 different things it could have been. I still kept hoping even with what I knew that it wasn’t what I suspected. I kept hoping that maybe one of these other options could be what actually happened.
Well, the day finally came and the results were in. My suspicions were right, sort of. I suspected he did some cocaine and then to fall asleep took some Xanax. I figured the combination of the upper and the downer probably stopped his heart. Well I was right, but there was more. Not only were Xanax and cocaine in his system, but also hydrocodone, ketamine, and methadone. To say I was shocked would be an extreme understatement! I didn’t even know what methadone was. As if on schedule a whole new set of questions arrived along with the results. Why, where did that stuff come from, how long had he been using, was this a regular thing, things were so good for the past 10 months what happened, is an alcoholic a drug addict, why, what was he thinking, was he thinking? Who do I tell, do I keep it a secret, can I save someone else, can I save another wife from the pain I’m in, other children from the pain my children are in? What do I do? What did he do? The questions still haven’t stopped 14 months later. I don’t know if they ever will stop.
When the questions come from my kids I do my best to answer honestly and openly. When the questions come from loved ones I also answer openly and honestly. When the questions come from those just wanting an earful of gossip I give as little information as possible. I hope someday I can use our story to improve someone else’s life. Maybe save a life or help someone else survive grief.