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Family Tragedy…

I was hesitant to post anything here about this, but there are definitely some things I need to get off my chest. I think I’m going to forever remember this May as the most traumatic and stressful month of my life. Yes, it even tops April of 1996 when I was raped and all that happened.

I posted about everything that happened the first week of the month. It would seem things have only gotten worse.

Last weekend, my brother and his fiance came to visit us. Well, Steffy was very rude and disrespectful, to say the least, the entire weekend, and that was even after, if not *especially* after, we got the news of our family tragedy.

I went to pick them up from RDU on Saturday afternoon. We went out to dinner at Applebee’s and then they wanted to go hang out at Walmart. Well, that’s something that just doesn’t float mine and Dave’s boats, but we went anyway. We decided to look at body wash, we were both about out, and were in that isle, when Dave’s phone rang. He stepped away to take the call, and then walked back to me and grabbed my hand, making me put the body wash down. I knew something bad had happened. All Dave was able to tell me at that point was that his dad was dead. I fell to the floor, and Dave had to pick me up and help me outside. I was already having a panic attack. We went home, and Dave called his mom back to find out the details. While he was on the phone with her, I called my mom, so she could help me be strong for Dave.

This is what happened with Dave’s dad: On November 2, 2007 he got married to a woman named Kathie. To us it seemed he had found the love of his life, he was so happy. We were talking to him a lot more than we had the last 6 years, so we got to hear quite a bit about her over the last few months. Well, last Thursday night, I guess they had an argument, and she went to stay at her mom’s because she’d been working a lot of overtime and would have rather rested than argued. She talked to Scott on the phone, and he kept asking her to come home. She said “I’m not coming home *tonight.* He said “If you don’t come home tonight, it will be too late.” She had *no* idea what that meant, and they ended up getting off the phone. She had tried to call him and text him all day Friday and early Saturday, and couldn’t reach him. She figured he was playing a game of not talking to her. She had a bad gut feeling, though, and went home around 2:30 in the afternoon.

The details I’m about to type out are more than what Dave himself knows. I promised Kathie I wouldn’t tell Dave, because he doesn’t need to know the exact specifics. She walked in the door, and the TV was off. She was starting to walk up the stairs, but saw him sitting on the couch. She said “Scott?” and there was no answer. She started to walk over to him, and saw that he was purple and there was blood coming out of his ear. She ran out of the house and to the neighbors, and they called the police department and coroner. They came right over, and wouldn’t let her back in the house until everything had been processed. After a while, they asked her if she wanted to see him again. Before she answered, she asked “Did he shoot himself in the head?” The coroner said “Yes.” She said “Yes, I want to see him, I know he did this because he wanted me to see him like this.” She saw him one last time, and now that image is forever instilled in her brain, as the last memory of the man she so dearly loved. She said “He did it so perfectly, he was still sitting there, he knew how to do it so it wouldn’t knock him over.” Was he planning this all along, and waiting for the right moment of despair? Dave, and everyone else, does know it was suicide, but there are only a few of us who know how it was done.

We got the call Saturday evening. Several of the officers had been trying to get our numbers, with no luck. Scott hadn’t updated them at the station. He was a Sergeant at the Milan Police Department in Illinois. Mark Beckwith, the Chief of Police there, had known Scott since before he became an officer, and they’d been the best of friends for probably at least 20 years. Mark told Scott’s sister, Debbie, and asked if she wanted to be the one to tell Dave. Debbie said she thought that it would be best coming from his mother. So, Mark had Ronda call Dave.

We still had to spend the rest of the weekend with Mikey and Steffy. We tried to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. Dave insisted we start driving to Illinois on Tuesday, regardless of when the Funeral was going to be. I needed 2 new tires and new brake pads and rotors before we could make the trip, so I spent all Monday afternoon at Walmart getting my tires, and Dave spent the rest of Monday evening putting on the new brake pads and rotors. We left at 7:30 Tuesday morning, and stopped by Dave’s work on our way out of town. He told his boss what happened, and he told Dave that if we needed *anything* to just let them know. We didn’t realize how much we’d hear that over the next few days…

I drove the entire way, which was probably a huge shock to Dave. We arrived at Dave’s mom’s house around 11:30pm Central time, so we had actually been on the road for 16 hours. We socialized for a while, and then went to bed.

Yesterday morning Dave had to make arrangements to go over Scott’s Will, and Kathie had made arrangements for all of us to meet with Mark for the funeral arrangements. Mark is an awesome man, and he has done so much for Scott’s service, I could never thank him enough. He took care of everything for us all, and he did an awesome job. We decided, probably to Scott’s avail, to send him out with flying colors. Scott was a very private man, and would hate anyone making a fuss over him. Well, I guess all our fuss was payback for what he did to us by ending his life.

Today was the service, and it was beautiful. There was a slideshow with music that repeated throughout the ceremony. Scott would be pleased that “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was one of the songs in the slideshow. Only Scott… it did help to lighten the mood a bit too. Scott’s squad car was parked outside with a memorial flag draped over it, and the *entire* Milan Police Department was there. Other local Police Departments were taking over Milan’s duties for the day, so the officers could all attend. There were hundreds of people who showed up. Scott probably never realized how many people loved him. His Chiropractor was there, the lady who cut his hair, the people from Panera and Greenbriar were all there. He was loved wherever he went, but he probably never knew that.

We’ve been finding out more details throughout this trip that we never knew, that most people never knew. Kathie had to go back to the house to get clothes to wear for today, and found a bottle of anti-depressants. She has a friend who’s a nurse, and found out that those pills were a *strong* dose, and he was taking them twice a day, at least before Kathie came along, but who knows for how long? We never knew he was depressed. Scott and Tom, the eldest son, had a falling out several years ago, and they haven’t spoken since. Tom is taking this *really* hard, because now he will never have the chance to mend things with his father. Well, we have found out that Scott has left everything to me and Dave, and *nothing* to Tom. We don’t know if he ever updated his Will to include Kathie, I really hope she doesn’t start any drama over that tomorrow. Some of Scott’s friends said that he left the Corvette to us (mostly to Dave I’m sure). One of his lady friends, apparently he had asked her to marry him a while back, she said some things that make me think he may have been planning this. Yet, most people never would have seen it coming. He was definitely a very private man, and nobody knew just how private he was. Nobody will ever know what was plaguing his mind, what all contributed to this happening. People may cast blame on Kathie, because of knowing about their argument. But she is definitely not at fault… this must have been coming on for quite some time. I guess maybe he thought she was leaving him, and he couldn’t take it anymore. I know he’d been drinking a lot those last couple days, and it could have been just a drunken fit that left him out of our lives forever.

There are a lot of emotions that all of us are feeling, and it’s really difficult to sort everything out. We are all angry, angry that he left us this way. Dave’s angry that his dad didn’t call him to let him know he needed him. Dave would have done whatever it took to get to his dad if he knew it was that bad. If his dad had just asked. There were so many people he could have called, who would have helped him through this. But nobody knew what was going to take place that night, not even Kathie. How was she supposed to know what was meant by “It will be too late”? I wouldn’t have picked up on that. And what if she had gone home, would he have killed her? How was she to know what she’d go home to? All she wanted was to rest. He thought she was leaving him, but she wasn’t. She just wanted rest. Why would he do this to us? Didn’t he think about us at all? All the people he was leaving behind? Now we have to sort through all the things that we shouldn’t have had to for another 25 to 50 years.

And me, I’m terrified that Dave will pull away from me. I’ve had many suicidal episodes, what if he pulls away from me, because he thinks I’ll just do the same thing? I won’t, and I hope he knows that. And honestly, to me, all this gives me more reason to live. Scott never knew how many people loved him, or how much. I don’t think any of us realize how many people love us, or how much. But, knowing that, I have reason to live, because I am loved. But does Dave know that I wouldn’t ever end my life? I hope so.

I can’t even put all my thoughts and feelings on this into words. Right now, what most of us are feeling is anger, and confusion. When we get past that, we will grieve. But, this will be etched in our minds forever. A loved one lost so tragically.

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