A few weeks ago, I was at Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond and I realized I was going in front of Brio Tuscan Grill to go to Dillards.
As some of you know and others of you don’t know, we found out about Charles’ suicide in a parking lot right outside of Brio’s. Not that there is an ideal location to find out that news. There’s no good place.
At any rate, I am still la-dee-dahing my way down this road when I pass “the spot” and my heart starts to beat out of my chest. I’ve not gone that way since we got the news and the sight of that spot just gave me chills. So I stopped. I stood where I did that night. I took a picture of that spot.
I remember the black undercover police officer standing outside the car in front of the back door. My husband was already in the front. I was slower and remember that I stopped and shouted, “You’ve come to tell me my child is dead!” I walked to the door and the officer opened the door and I got in. He shut the door and stayed outside. I’m not sure if he went anywhere. I was so intent on the profile of the other policeman in the driver’s seat.
It just has to be the part of the job that sucks the most–telling parents that their child is dead, and oh by the way it was a hanging. I imagine being with people at the most agonizing moment of their life has to be so emotionally draining.
How do you put that someplace else? How could it not effect you even if you’d been taught some strategy for not living every tragedy. They had to have thought, “I didn’t sign up for this.” But then the other guy stayed away. Had he been at the house would he have stayed outside? I guess I would have if I had the choice.
And the wailing. Oh my God our cries of pain still seer through my heart some nights. I don’t have that dream any more. I told my brain to stop having it. Period. Living it once was enough. But I remember now seeing the guy’s face from the side. He was as gracious as possible but I could see he was in pain. I think he had to be particularly affected by my husband. One Dad seeing another’s Dad’s life fall apart.
So I faced it. The parking spot. Made it have less power over me. It’s just a parking space. It’s the place that I felt myself look down on me. It’s the place where I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. And where I felt Charles look down on us and see us beaten and in agony. Only he could no longer feel the hurt and pain.