Saturday, August 15, 2009


We buried Dora on Friday. I'm exhausted. My sister died @ 9:42 p.m. on Monday, August 10. We arranged to have her breathing tube removed at 2 p.m. We were prepared to say goodbye to her. The Gift of Hope coordinator told us that she wouldn't be taken off of the breathing machine until the evening. This was because Dora was an organ donor. All of the transplant doctors had to be at the hospital before Dora's breathing tube could be removed. One of the doctors was coming from downstate Illinois and his plane wouldn't land at O'Hare until 8 p.m. Monday evening. Dora's husband came at 2 p.m. and kissed her hand and left. He told me he wasn't going to stay. He didn't want to watch Dora die on his birthday. He sent his cop father instead for the procedure discussion with Gift of Hope. Since my sister's injuries were due to a gunshot she would need an autopsy. My father was inquiring about it and how long it takes, and when would she be released to the funeral home. The chaplain explained because Dora was part of the police department family the autopsy would not be rushed. Somehow my sister's father in law took it as though we were trying to get his son arrested. He verbally abused my father. He yelled something about you god damned -----, when he is a -----. Security was called and he left before they arrived. I wasn't present when this happened. I was with Dora in her room. The Gift of Hope coordinator told me what happened when I asked why security was in ICU. We talked for a few minutes and he told me this display was not uncommon. He said these situations either bring out the best in people or the worst in them. I told him that it was terrible that our situation was common.

We returned in the evening to be with Dora. My brother in law was in her room and he had brought his friend for moral support. I couldn't believe he brought someone outside of the family to watch my sister die. He said he wasn't even going to be present for her death. I guess he must of been guilted into showing up. Watching someone die is the worst thing imaginable. All of the doctors and nurses told us it would take about a minute. She struggled to breath for twenty minutes. As soon as Dora died my brother in law and his friend bolted from the room. They didn't say a word to us (Mom, John, Chris and myself).

At the funeral my family was segregated from my brother in laws family and friends. During the service at the cemetery, while holding my niece he stood away from the casket. He chewed gum and talked to his friends. Immediately following the service at the cemetery he sent my nephew on vacation to Kentucky with one of his work friend's family.

People morn in different ways, but some semblance of sorrow should be present when your wife dies. When I went to my sister's house last week to gather her things and get clothes ready for her funeral there were few signs of a loss. The only indications I saw was the sadness in my niece and nephew. My sister's neighbors had gathered at the house with their daughters to provide "comfort". Pizza and appetizers were delivered. Wine was opened and offered to me. It was a surreal experience when I was functioning on a piece a toast for most of the day. My sister was gone from that house and she wasn't even dead yet.

I found out today that Internal Affairs wants my Dad to talk to them next week. I'm wondering if I should go with him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dealing with suicide

My 34 year old sister tried to end her life early Monday morning. She took her policeman husband's gun and used it. She managed to shoot enough of her brain to make recovery impossible. Her heart is beating but she can't breath on her own. Her breathing tube will be removed on Saturday. I'm heartsick of course but I'm angry too. I'm angry that she could leave behind her two small children. I'm angry at her husband for his infidelities and emotion abuse. I'm angry that no matter how many times we told her to leave him she didn't. Angry that in her suicide note she wrote three sentences about how she loves her family and children and the rest was about money. How much there was, were the documents were, how to collect social security benefits, etc.
I hate that I have to be the diplomate between my family and my brother in law. I have to keep the true feelings I have for him to myself for the sake of my niece and nephew. If I alienate him then there will be no access to the kids.
He has been on us for the bank statements that my sister left at my mother's house. My sister isn't dead yet and he is going on about money. The bank told us not too give him anything, but he is being persistent. I don't know how long we can keep putting him off. He went on about the expenses for the funeral. How he is handling the funeral home, but he would like my parents to pick up the cemetery cost. Also, he said he needed to discuss the cost of the luncheon. Money. My parents are distraught and barely holding it together and he wants to talk about money. He went on about how he is only thinking about the kids, when the kids are the beneficiaries on almost all the assets. He wouldn't be able to use that money for expenses. He has to go to probate court, doesn't that take time?
I'm trying to deal with my own grief, guilt, etc. and I don't want to become involved in a money dispute.