check your sugarcoat at the door


one Friday morning
February 8, 2011, 10:30 pm
Filed under: family, in the news, ~*loooove*~

January fourteenth, incredibly almost a month ago, I was commuting to work on the 405 freeway, head bangin’, iced coffee sippin’; my routine in place. I was glad it was Friday, even if I was running behind on time. I saw a missed call on my cell from Josh’s mom. It wouldn’t be strange for her to call me at will, but prior to eight a.m. raised my brows. I was worried and dialed her back. She asked if I was ‘ready’ and I knew she was going to hit me with a blow.

With a deep breath, she informed that just hours prior, Josh’s aunt Sharon, uncle Steve and cousin Jonny had all died in a freak electrocution accident, stemming from a downed power line at their house.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/inland_empire&id=7898033

The breath was sucked out of me and I struggled to remember that I was operating a vehicle. I shook my head to loosen the words stalled in my brain, hoping for anything to come out, and blindly settled on what? over and over again. She asked that I be the one to tell Josh in person. She needed me to be strong for him, as she was being for her husband, Steve’s older brother. It would be too time consuming to venture out to Orange County to bring Josh the news while the family around her was reeling, but she couldn’t settle on doing it by phone.

I nominate his mother to deliver any bad news I must bear for the rest of my time here. Woman’s a friggin’ saint.

I made a quick call to my supervisor and then my mom, as a grown woman tends to do in light of what-the-fuck moments of any degree. I still hold some guilt that I was talking to her about it before I was talking to my boyfriend but if I was to show any amount of strength and will myself from falling the fuck apart, I needed her to help me. As always, she did.

Josh told me later that he thought I’d been fired. Showing up at his office on a weekday morning and calling his company line, something I’d never done before, to ask him to come outside was unexpected, to say the least. I would trade the best job in the world for that to be the news I had. Like I’d hoped he wouldn’t, he didn’t ask why I was calling, just got up from his desk and came to the parking lot, headset still around his face. I hid behind my sunglasses and clenched my hands to stop the shaking. His reaction mirrored mine, as his hands went to his head. What?

A short amount of time has passed. The funerals came and went; one for Jonny and one for Sharon and Steve. My love donned white gloves and a rose pinned to his dress shirt as a pall bearer. Hundreds of people showed up to the double service last weekend, including at least a hundred leather vest clad bikers in green bandanas for Steve.

It was an incredibly gut-wrenching experience, watching these hard, tough, scarred and tattooed, grown men cry. One that I never hope to see again. The collective shock and heart break was damn near too much to bear and these are not even my blood relatives, but Josh’s and Kiddo’s. Kiddo and I didn’t have much of a relationship with them, and still she was in tears when she saw the sadness her dad tried his best to hide from us. It was the shock and the tragedy and fucking unfairness of it that shook me to my core.

We played poker with them two weeks before, on New Year’s Day. I told Josh on the drive home that it was like watching a couple of high school sweethearts, they way they so blatantly adored one another. I’m thrilled I got to see them leaning against the back of the couch to peer into a lit up fishtank, arms slung around each others’ waist. I’m glad I got to laugh my ass of Steve’s shit talking during Seven Card Stud. And I’m really glad I got to meet Sharon for the first time that night. When she hugged me goodbye and said, “It was so nice to meet you,” I really believed her. They were such genuinely good people and a crowd of a few hundred were reminded as people took the podium during their service and told stories about what a joy it’d been to know them.

The night of their deaths, I posted to my Facebook: We are all finite. Drop your grudges, kissed your loved ones.

You just never fucking know.

-CJ

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