Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Waiting For the No. 7




*

Something's not quite right...


*

Yesterday I had the unhappy job of making a death notification, and I screwed it up. A guy called us from Texas and said that his retarded little brother had called him and said he couldn't wake up Mommy. They live in our jurisdiction, so we sent some paramedics out to check her welfare. While they are on scene, I get a call from a cop at the PD in Texas who says the lady is one of his officer's grandma, and could I tell him what's going on. As I'm talking to him, the medics confirm that the old lady is dead, and they request a deputy for the coroner's case.

I don't want to give this other cop the runaround, and I know that if I try to stall him he'll know what's up, so I start telling him that it's not good, and he says "Hold on, I'll put her on." and now I'm talking to the granddaughter and I'm already committed.

Now, we like to do this in person, not on the phone, cause you never know what'll happen. But I know I'm already screwed, and as much as I don't want to give the first cop the runaround, I'm even less inclined to give it to the granddaughter. And I figure, well, she's a cop, she'll do okay even though it's rough.

So I tell her that her grammy is dead.


And she freaks. Screaming, sobbing, the whole enchilada.


Man, when that other cop picks up the phone....he wants to homicide me right there.

"What the fuck did you just tell her?"

"Well, asswipe, what did you think I was about to say?"

"Jesus Christ, what's wrong with you? Don't you have any sense at all?


*

Nope. I guess not.


*

The best laid plans....


*

One of the things that this job will do to you is make you a little hard, on the surface anyways. I feel bad about what happened, but only in the way a sociopath might- that is, on an intellectual level I'm sorry for the girl, and I'm chagrined that it went down so badly, that I handled it so poorly.

But it doesn't sink in. Not where it counts.

I'll tell you what does sink in, though. The image of that poor simple man shaking and shaking his Mommy and knowing something bad was wrong. I see him wandering around the house, crying and biting his lip, rocking back and forth in the chair by the kitchen table while he dials his brother's number by memory...


That gets in pretty good.


*






*

If it's an afterlife, I'd like to be like a angel that comes and stands over a person at a time like that. Even though you can't touch them, you want to, and you spread your wings over them.

Maybe you can whisper something their soul can hear, like a gospel song heard from a long ways off, or the sound of birds busting out from a bush and taking flight, that rush and rustle of hard little packages of life, beating their wings and climbing into the light...


*

8 Comments:

Blogger Dana said...

that rush and rustle of hard little packages of life

I am in such a mood. That line made me cry. I need a tissue.

7:29 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Well.


Uhm.


Here, have one of mine...


I had one around here somewhere....



*

yr sweet.

*

7:41 AM  
Blogger 666poetry-finchnot said...

If it's an afterlife, I'd like to be like a angel that comes and stands over a person at a time like that. Even though you can't touch them, you want to, and you spread your wings over them.

Maybe you can whisper something their soul can hear, like a gospel song heard from a long ways off, or the sound of birds busting out from a bush and taking flight, that rush and rustle of hard little packages of life, beating their wings and climbing into the light...




now / that is /
a beautiful poem


thanx scott

~jx

12:46 PM  
Blogger Radish King said...

Hey. I made some minestrone with all kinds of good things in it like zucchini and beans and onions and carrots. If you lived within 600 miles of me I'd be on your doorstep with a pot. I have an irritating and strong mothering instinct.

On the other hand, I'm glad it was you there, I'm glad it was you on the phone because you have that goodness and wonder in you and that translates to people even over the phone, yes, even if they don't know it, you touch their lives in a positive way. You certainly have mine.

Don't fret little one.

There. I've said it.

xor

4:12 PM  
Blogger 21k said...

Just in case you can handle another voice saying it - you did good - maybe she let loose her whole enchilada because it was you and damn I bet she needed to let that go. Your shoulders must be so broad by now -

btw Scott
I never mentioned that I totally loved that image of the Cambria Motel, I googled them up, and found these great reviews about rats & 50 year old carpets and parking lot photo of their yard and they should hire you as an agent and what a job that would be, HA, and you never told me about your swiffer and
jesus
you are great

hahaha

sorry to laugh on this thread
carry on!

4:55 PM  
Blogger LKD said...

This is not survivable. That's what the neurologist told us at the end of that very first long day. We waited all day to see the man and that's what he said without any prelude, without any attempt to soften the blow. Just: This is not survivable.

There are only 2 times in my life that I've felt the urge to strike a complete stranger, to hit them hard in the face with my fist and that was one of those times.

Scott, I think you did the best you could under those circumstances, and that given the chance, you would've done a better job had those circumstances been different. Whereas the doctor who told me and my family "this is not survivable" has probably delivered that same or simliar devastating news in that same cold, blunt manner to countless other families besides my own.

I think that will be my next tattoo. A bracelet of those words around my wrist or ankle.

This is not survivable.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

i stumbled into your site and then tumbled all the way down ... you sure know how to take one on a ride through ten thousands feelings at once, and with such clarity and honesty ...
Next time i am bringing a chair!

6:02 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Finchy-

That's just what I'll do with it, thanks!

And thanks as always for reading here...




*

Rebecca-

I'll bet that minestrone kicks ass.

You're gonna make me cry, though, all that sweet stuff you say.

Thanks. I needed that.


*

Dierdre-

Thank you, too, for all of your warmth and kindness.

That's a hoot about the Cambria Palms. Maybe they could use a new press agent. Although they could probably use new carpeting more!

Ha.

*

Laurel-

Well, despite my good intentions I think I pretty much did the exact same thing as the doc did in your case. Although I have to say I have had a lot of practice in giving people this awful news and there just isn't a good way to do it. I think that the words don't matter at all really, you just have to be fully present and fully compassionate.

Some folks just don't have that speed, I guess.

And that's a great mantra, Laurel. It would be a fantastic tattoo. It's the message I keep playing to myself at every homicide, every autopsy, every fatal car crash, plane wreck, suicide, etc.

It keeps things in focus.


*

Tongue in Cheek-

Cool beans. I'm very glad you stopped by, gladder still that you've said hi.

Do bring a chair. I can carry on so...


But seriously. Welcome.


*

6:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home