Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When the waves are taking you under…

Britt and I arrived at my brother’s house sometime around 4pm Sunday afternoon.  We had been told to be prepared for the mess, and the smell.  He had been in the house, deceased, for quite some time…  So, I knew all that.  I knew he was gone, I knew his house was in disarray, I knew his dog had been alone with a corpse for 2 days, but I didn’t know that walking across that threshold would literally suck the breath out of me.  Life as I had known it before that moment was truly over.  THIS was my new normal.  I would never come to this house again to eat at Taco Cabana and stay the night as a midway point in some adventure my family was on.  I would never take over his bed and make him sleep on the couch.  I would never open the fridge and marvel at how he has no food, just Kool-Aid.

We arrived to my mom standing bewildered in the front “library” room of the house, and my dad was down the street at the mail box pod – he had found a key and wanted to empty it out.  When my dad got back to the house, there was a group hug, and a few tears, but since the EMT’s (with their huge fire truck), Lewisville police (with their 2 patrol cars), and Medical examiner’s representatives (and his state issued vehicle – do you see why I feel like I am stuck in a made for TV crime drama?) had been gone well over an hour now, and my parents had not had anything to eat all day (neither had I, come to think of it), we locked up the house, and left.  No one wanted to pick where to eat, but my Dad has this “rule” that when we’re not in Stillwater, we don’t eat at a place we have in Stillwater.  Looking back now, it’s funny how that rule won out, again.  We ended up at Jack in the Box.

Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls!!!  Everything starts to get a little fuzzy at this point.  I do know that Brian’s cell phone had run down its battery sometime Friday evening, and I had plugged it in before we left to eat so I could use it for information and contacts after we ate.  While at the restaurant, it was determined that my dad would drive home to Stillwater Sunday night, as he had to be at work Monday morning, and we needed to deliver the paperwork from the ME to the funeral home here to facilitate getting my brother’s body from Lewisville to Stillwater – across state lines (which is proving to be difficult.  I am writing this on Tuesday morning, and we still don’t know if the body is back in Oklahoma.  We do know it has been released, but transport has not been confirmed to us).  This is also when I called in my first favor from all the people in my life who said, “I will do anything you need me to do.”  I called some dear, sweet, beautiful, AWESOME Oklahoma State fans that had moved to the Arlington area a year ago, and asked if we could invade their home – they opened us with open arms and a warm house, were perfect hosts, and showed us all the compassion we truly needed at that time.  God is so good.

After they ate (I didn’t), we headed back to the house.  I got to my brother’s email on his phone, and was so glad to find an email with a detailed signature line from the CEO of the company Brian currently worked for.  It even had a cell phone number.  So, about 6:00 on Sunday night, I called this man.  I had to leave a message, but he called back pretty quickly.  Chalk him up as about the 10th person I shocked 5 years off their life that day.  I think the thing I will remember most from that phone call was when he said “I don’t really handle this kind of thing.”  Yeah, me either!  He of course offered us anything we needed, and  I asked what property of theirs Brian might have - he had like 5 lap tops in the house and I knew they weren’t all his.  (Come to find out, one was this company’s, one was for the contract work he was doing, one was broken, and one was personal…)  I knew the CEO wasn’t really the perfect place to start, but I guess email signatures are a thing of the past.  I had a hard time figuring out who I needed to call!  I just needed them to know he wouldn’t be at work tomorrow.  Or ever.

We had been in touch with my brother’s ex-wife, and as soon as she and Kayleigh were back home (they had spent the day with some friends), we wanted to go see them. She had been told earlier in the day, and she had told the baby.  All 4 of us when to her house and spent a little while with my brother’s only child.  It was awkward, and sometimes (including this time) it takes K a little time to warm up to people, and I think it confused her that her Daddy’s people were in her Mommy’s house (the have been separated, then divorced since she was only a few weeks old).  Once we got a few more things straight in our heads, my dad headed out for Oklahoma.  This is a good thing, because he missed all the storms in his driving.  He was home by about 10:30.  Britt, my mom and I continued to go through piles of paper at the house, and gathered up all of Kayleigh’s things that we wanted her to have at her Mom’s house, and finally about 7:30 gave up and took the 30 mile drive to my friend’s house.

These were the first friends we had seen.  The first people to hug us, to hold us, to make this all real.  While everyone chatted, I got on my laptop, went to my brother’s facebook, and started notifying his friends with this message:
Dear friends of Brian,
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this message to you tonight. It my sad duty to tell you that Brian has died, but is in a better place. He was found dead in his home this morning (Sunday) about 10:45 by my parents, who had not heard from him since Friday afternoon. They were worried, so they drove down from Oklahoma this morning to make this grisly discovery. He was not feeling well on Thursday, got worse on Friday, and had gone to see a nurse practitioner, who had given him a prescription, but none of the pills had been taken. The Rx was filled at 1:03 pm on Friday, and so he died sometime after that. They are doing an autopsy, and we should have the results of this by the end of the week.
My husband, Britt Weaver, and I are now here in TX with my mother. My father has gone back to Stillwater to start taking care of arrangements there. We will have services in his hometown of Stillwater soon, and I will keep you advised of all news that I have.
Thank you,
Betsey Ricker Weaver
We went to bed with heavy hearts and spinning minds.  We were all barely asleep when the area was assaulted by a severe thunderstorm that shook the house and pelted the windows with hail, but a warm environment to be still for a few hours was just what we needed.  The next day would be a rough one. 

At this point, we knew:
  • Brian had called in sick to work at 7:10 am on Friday
  • He took his daughter to her day school that morning, and had asked his ex-wife to pick her up
  • He had gone to a walk-in clinic and gotten an Rx for antibiotics (time stamped 1:03pm), but had never taken them as the police counted the pills
  • He had been violently ill all over his house, attempted a shower
  • He sat down on the bed, fell back, and was gone. 
The next day would lead to more discoveries.

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