I remember not sleeping much that night when I got home. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was my dad. Waking up the next morning, I remember coming downstairs and seeing my girls having breakfast at the table. My fiancée woke up and got the girls ready for the day and gave me my time to wake up. I had so much to do that day. I had meetings with the funeral home and had some other things I had to do like call the company to come in and clean the basement where he took his life.
When we got to the funeral home I was met by my mom, grandma, and aunt. At this point I was just happy to see family. I remember when the police had asked us if we had a funeral home of “choice” or if they should decide. At that time all I could think to myself was, “how in the world would I know where to send my dad.” My grandmother chimed in and told them SHE wanted him to be brought to where she lived. But I knew my Dad and knew he’d want a place close to his family in the Southern End of our county. When the funeral director had come out and started talking to us it became very surreal. We were hear to talk about possibly burying my dad. I remember him handing my dads wedding ring to my mom. I was still in a fog, but that moment watching that ring fall into her hands it made it all to clear for her. She immediately broke down and was sobbing. It was at the moment I looked down and saw the red on my shoes. I hadn’t taken notice to the blood on my shoes up until this moment. I stared for a long time at my shoes and thought to myself, this is the last thing I have to remember my dad. A smudge. A smudge of HIS blood from when I hugged his belly that morning I had found him. As the funeral director told us the type of memorial we were having, I remember thinking I wanted something to remember him and something for his friends and family to remember the teddy bear of a man who just took his life. We decided as a family that we wanted a memorial service that was a procession and no one speaking except for the ones who loved him. The next thing was the obituary. I remember the funeral director explaining to us how to go about doing this and the prices. He explained how the more you write the more expensive it was. It was so weird to think that we’d have to pay to write words in a newspaper about this man. About the man who cared for me my whole life. My mom was still a mess, obviously. She demanded that she write the obituary because she wanted it her way. I wasn’t at the point where I wanted to argue, especially about this. We left the funeral home that morning and although still completely devastated and overwhelmed I felt ok. I felt like this man who was going to help us with this gorgeous service was the perfect person. He had been the funeral director for many of our family so it just felt right.
I left the funeral home that morning and was on my way back to the house where my dad was found. My childhood home where all the memories were made. As I pulled up to their home I was met by a van of people who clean homes after these types of situations. The coroners office had given me a list of companies to call and I remember just calling the first number I saw. I was still very much running on adrenaline and didn’t know what exactly to expect when talking to this crew. The one memory that still sticks in my mind to this day was the words “Hazmat Clean Up Crew” on the side of the van. Although now I think back and I wanted so bad to scratch those words off the van, but I knew they were here to do a job.
The first words they said to me were, “Are you sure you can do this?” I shook my head and we proceeded inside. This was the first time back in that house. The first time in knowing my Dad wouldn’t greet me at the door again. We went downstairs and I remember thinking, “ok you can do this.” Many people still ask me why my mom didn’t do any of this considering it was their house. I took this upon myself because I knew if I wouldn’t have done this and met with certain people it wouldn’t get done. As I opened my eyes after getting downstairs i thought, “ok this isn’t as bad as what I thought.” There was a small blood pool on the floor from where he bled after the shooting. He was lying down on the couch when I found him and they told me that the sofa and cushions soaked in a lot of the blood. The woman of the cleaning company was taking some notes and I distinctly remember her telling the other guy there that, “There’s only one small spot on the ceiling, and a small spot on the walls to clean up.” The entire time we were there they were talking to me and going through the motions. I can’t remember anything they said other than what I have said so far. After I signed some papers and went through the motions I remember leaving and heading back to my grandmas house. It was there that I gave my mom the paperwork to sign so they could start cleaning the next day. Without her consent to be in the house they couldn’t start any work. She didn’t want to sign anything and didn’t feel she was ready. I told her ready or not it needed cleaned and she wasn’t allowed back in, other than to get clothes, until it was cleaned,
I got the paperwork signed and then we had to talk about how we were going to pay for this. My parents had a life insurance policy but there was a specific clause about suicide. They did cover a small amount but definitely not anywhere near the amount we needed. I had decided myself that I was I was going to call their life insurance rep myself and find out what was covered. As I called him I remember the phone ringing and thinking,“ I can’t believe I am calling Brad.” He didn’t answer so I left him a message and just hearing the words coming out of the mouth, “my dad passed away suddenly by suicide Monday morning and I need to find out their policy requirements for a funeral.” My heart suddenly shattered. As I waited for his return call I said to my mom that we need to find a way to get the rest of the money. The funeral home required payment upon making arrangements. I am a prideful person and will never ask for money if not needed. I told my mom that I saw something on Facebook called #GoFundMe. I was very hesitant on starting something like this. So many people were looked down upon for doing these. I knew in my heart we needed this. This was a cause for something that determined if we could hold a memorial or not. Within hours of me starting this fund we had reached our goal of what we needed. To say I was taken back was an understatement. I couldn’t believe the outpouring of people who came together for this. I immediately called the funeral director, made a date for my dads memorial, and told him the money would be given to him as soon as it reached my account. I had actually given him my credit card number and told him when he heard from me again that he could run my card. I was beyond proud of everyone who rallied together. The money not only helped us give my dad the perfect memorial, but gave us the chance to purchase a beautiful box for his ashes, and the little bit that was left (less than $40) we took and ordered our favorite meal from my dads favorite Pizza Shop. I remember sitting there at the Pizza Shop and telling my mom that now that we have a set date we need the obituary done. She kept telling me she would do this when SHE was ready. I told her she had until Thursday to get this done if we wanted it published in the newspaper. She again told me SHE would do it when she could.
Thursday morning rolled around and it still wasn’t done. I took it upon myself to start writing the obituary. We didn’t have time to wait for her. I remember starting to write this and thinking to myself, “Okay you can do this.” I remember the words coming out pretty easily and as I completed one section I showed it to my mom. It was never how she wanted it. There were always corrections being made and words being deleted, but we were getting somewhere. After about an hour of writing it was done. Showing this to her she said she didn’t like it and would do it. There wasn’t enough time, we had a deadline by noon on Thursday and it was almost that time. I went through it again on my own, made some corrections, and submitted it. I did it without letting her know, and she never asked me another question about it. The next morning when it appeared in the newspaper I remember reading it in disbelief. Although I had just written it, it didn’t seem real. The next bing to make it through was the memorial.