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Surviving Suicide – Part 24

July 5, 2010


Do you believe in serendipity? I most definitely do, there are no accidents/coincidences! Yesterday someone I’m friends with on Facebook posted a lovely quote/poem that really just spoke to me. Often I’ll hit the “share” button to post it on my own page, but this time there was no “share” button/link so I had to copy and paste it on my own wall. I also added it to my ever growing list of inspirational quotes.

Three ladies I’m friends with clicked “like” and so today, because the original poster had “Author Unknown”, I decided to google it to find out. Turns out it was written back in the 1800’s and the man who wrote it committed suicide on the beach in Australia. So, you tell me serendipity wasn’t at work – first I resonated with the piece, then I did something I don’t normally do and copied and posted it, then 3 people clicked the “like” button, then I did a search to find more out and the author had committed suicide too! Who’d have thunk that a poem written 140 years ago would reach out and touch me today!

Just a confirmation I’m on the right path here ;).

Here’s the poem:

There comes a point in your life when you realize:

Who matters,
who never did,
who won’t anymore,
and who always will!

So don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future. ~ Adam Lindsay Gordon

January 2001 – After Rob’s Death

I was so looking forward to continuing this blog with my desk calendar from 2001 because I did have that. I looked through last night and it appears I didn’t keep very good track from a journalling perspective on my calendar other than I’d posted due dates for bills lol! At first I felt sort of deflated, but … I’ve been able to do all of my previous posts without much notation so I will just continue on and that buoyed my spirits.

I’ve noted on January 2nd that I called our life insurance agent to let him know that Rob had died. I remember going up to my safe and getting Rob’s will and reading through it to familiarize myself before calling the agent. The agent had known us both for many years and was absolutely shocked at what had happened with Rob. He said he’d get me a small emergency expenses sum and the rest of the policy would probably come within 2-3 weeks.

Knowing that money would be coming was a relief as many of my suppliers were getting very anxious about being paid and I knew I could now tell them I’d be able to pay them shortly. January 2nd was also my first day back to work and the reality of just how bad business was, was front row and center once again.

I believe I also called our lawyer and told him of Rob’s passing. He was the one I’d turned to on Rob’s first attempt early in December. He was very sad to hear that Rob had died. He’d known us for years too. I told him thank you for doing such a wonderful job on our wills, that although at the time you try to think of every scenario you can when drawing up a will, you never know how well it was done until it is tested. Ours were very simple, but done in such a way that it covered both of us personally and corporately and did not require being probated in court.

I’m sure our lawyer had never quite had clients like Rob and I before, but he was a rock I could count on, and he never let me down. He told me there’d be some paperwork to deal with corporate changes that had to now be filed but that it could wait a bit.

Speaking of wills – it dawned on me during this most troubling of times, just how important a document a will was. I’ve spoken to many about whether they have a will and surprisingly – few have one :(. Some had children and assets and I just couldn’t for the life of me understand why on earth they’d not have one in place that made provision for their children. If you want your wishes carried out – PLEASE get a will in place now! Please educate yourselves on how the laws work where you live.

I also called our Head Office for Firestone and let them know what had transpired. The man I reported to extended his sympathies, said he’d be getting some sort of complimentary newspaper subscription to put in our Customer waiting area (geez that was such a big help???) and asked, but more or less assumed, that I’d be shutting the business down now that Rob was gone.

I really hadn’t given it a lot of thought as to whether I’d remain running the business that was badly failing, but his assumption got my shackles up and I more or less decided on the spot that I’d continue. I’m a fairly stubborn person, but am open to listening to what others suggest, just don’t always apply what they’ve said. I had interpreted what my Manager was saying to be that he “assumed” me – a female – in a male dominated automotive/tire business wouldn’t be able to run the franchise. That just got me ticked off and looking back on it all now, it was not necessarily a good thing lol!

I truly felt it was important to me to hold on to whatever normalcy I had, that being a place to go to for work. I needed the routine. I also strongly felt that I more than knew the business as I’d run it with Rob for 17 years, but this new venture being a retail franchise Firestone had only been in effect since Sept. 1999 for me. I mentioned the tire recall earlier in my posts and that was devastating to our bottom line, but I felt that if I just worked hard enough, got good employees, did great work and ran it honestly and to the best of my abilities, that I could turn things around.

Rob’s words “just lock the door and walk away” were resonating in my ears too, but I chose to ignore what would turn out to be words of wisdom later.

I also had to plan the memorial at the yacht club which was to take place on Sat., January 6th. I contacted the yacht club to find out how much it would cost to hold it in their banquet rooms and whether a notice could be put up inviting members. I also thought we should have some sort of clergy present, although neither Rob nor I were religious at all. Was just societal expectations of what’s done at funerals I guess, this was my belief system at play and not at all what should have been done.

I ended up hiring the Chaplain who came to bless the fleets on Sailpast at the yacht club once a year. I spoke to him on the phone, enquired as to cost and I think it was roughly $200. I told him what had happened, explained what I’d like done and told him I’d get him some basic information on Rob ahead of time so he could familiarize himself. This Chaplain did not know Rob or I at all.

I’m a real planner, so very much planned out every detail of this memorial even though initially I’d not wanted to do it. I figured if I was going ahead, I needed to do a bang up job of it. I let friends and family know where and when, asked a few friends if they’d like to speak at the memorial with a eulogy and got that all arranged.

Rob loved Grand Marnier, it was something he discovered late in life, but whenever someone wouldn’t know what to give Rob for a birthday, they’d always get him a bottle of Grand Marnier. One such time, he’d been given a huge bottle that retailed at well over $200. It was ridiculously heavy and big and he’d never opened it. I decided and I think his friend Mike too, that it would be an appropriate toast to have everyone at the memorial have a tiny bit of it and be able to raise their glass in honour of Rob.

The yacht club was freaking out that this broke their rules and regs as far as Liquor Licencing went. At first they had to get back to me, when they did it was to say they didn’t think it was a good idea unless I wanted to buy the liquor from them. Eeesh! I told them to just get over it, that Rob had given them lots of service over the years by being on the Board, helping with repairs and haulout, etc. and that for once could they just treat people like people and not dollars.

The General Manager who I’d already had some squirmishes with reluctantly agreed, but said we’d have to do the pouring as his staff wouldn’t be able to do that. They were so damn helpful! I was also told I’d have to pay for the room unless the bar made money, again I just loved their compassion. Being a yacht club, I was pretty sure there’d not be a problem with those attending to spend the $200 it would cost to rent the room. I’d also used their food services for snacks at the memorial.

My Mom and stepdad arrived a day before the memorial and stayed over with my son and I. It was the first time I’d seen them since Rob had died. I was happy to have them as my Mom really is my best friend and my stepdad had always treated me as his own daughter. It was comforting having them with me and we talked very comfortably about what had taken place.

The morning of the memorial I got two phone calls from two of the gals Rob had affairs with and who were members of the yacht club. I’d been up very early that day, got myself and my son ready so we could arrive early to make sure things were in order. I was very calm and unemotional which was great! I answered the phone and my stepdad was sitting on the couch in my Family Room straight across from me. I can’t remember now who called first, but I think it was Karyn, who I affectionately nicknamed WC and you’ll have to read back many posts to see what that means.

It caught me off guard hearing her voice, but I think and act well on my feet so I listened to what she had to say. She was very emotional, explained she was sorry for having the affair with Rob, but that she really loved him and was so sorry he’d died and that she really would like to attend the memorial – would that be okay? I said “absolutely not!”, “you’re not welcome, I don’t want you there, my friends, my family and Rob’s family don’t want you there, and I can’t believe you’d be so braindead as to even call me!”.

She was noticeably shaken, but still insisted she’d like to pay her last respects. I told her not to come, that I’d have a microphone and that if she was stunned enough to show up, I’d be more than happy and comfortable centering her out, so she’d be best to stay home. I think that did the trick and she mentioned something about she’d have her own memorial with Brenda, the other gal who’d also been one of Rob’s many affairs. I hung up the phone and told my stepdad who it had been and what she wanted and he just shook his head.

I think within ten minutes the phone rang again. I didn’t have call display unfortunately back then so I answered. This time it was Brenda. Brenda basically at this point was an alcoholic and I swear even at that early morning hour she’d been drinking. Brenda knew what I’d said to WC, she too wanted to attend the memorial. Brenda started recalling the many good times we’d had together when we first met, talked about a cosmetics party I’d held at her house and how much fun we’d had, etc. She mentioned that we were once good friends and that she’d really like to attend.

I told her “friends” don’t screw other friend’s husbands so no – you’re not my friend. I will tell you exactly what I told your buddy WC, you are not welcome and it would not be a wise decision to show up. Brenda was also upset, could see things only from her pespective as to how much she missed Rob and was so sorry he’d died. I told her I really didn’t give a damn how she felt, that I had a memorial to attend and that I couldn’t believe the selfishness or stupidity of both she and WC to be calling me the morning of the memorial. I told her she’d done more than enough damage and that I never wanted to hear from her again and hung up.

My poor stepdad was still sitting across from me and asked who was that? I told him it was another of Rob’s ladies and my stepdad who never swore said “Are they assholes???”. It made me laugh hearing that from him, but I said yes obviously they both are and obviously neither of them has a brain combined between the two of them to be calling with such outrageous requests.

I made a conscious decision to NOT let the calls upset me, and they didn’t. Some family members showed up and we all headed to the yacht club. Everything was in order, the room was ready, the podium and microphone was where I wanted it, there were programs from what I remember with a nice picture of Rob on the front and my mother-in-law had brought a beautiful big picture of Rob in his happy days on board our sailboat. I had a guestbook and put the picture beside it, when I’d first seen the picture at my house, it made me tear up a bit.

There were about 200 in attendance and it was a beautiful, bright sunny day even though in January. I thought if Rob was looking down that he’d be happy so many turned out to bid him farewell. Although Rob was difficult to get along with sometimes, I was amazed at how many former employees showed up to pay their respects and it meant a lot to me and was a testimony as to how much respect they did have for Rob.

The Chaplain began his address by calling Rob “Bob” which Rob absolutely HATED! I freaked out about this to myself and hoped he’d stop saying Bob, but he carried on mentioning it way too many times. I remember thinking if Rob had a grave, he’d be rolling over in it lol! Got through that and realized what a mistake it had been to have this Chaplain, but was glad he didn’t take too long. I also decided I would not be doing what was expected of me again :(. Fortunately I’d already paid him and he didn’t remain long afterwards.

I gave my eulogy and it was not a sad, sappy one portraying Rob as the most wonderful husband in the world. I kept it very real and very me, but said what needed to be said and reflected who Rob was in a nice way. I believe another man that we were friends with who was also German, and his daughter was friends with my son got up to speak. His eulogy was very long winded, but good. I could tell as I looked around the room people were getting antsy, but it was a very nice eulogy and he did point out that members of the club need to reach out more to those in need.

The final eulogy was given by our good friend Mike. He’d known us for over 30 years and was terribly affected by Rob’s death. He gave a very sincere eulogy but you could see he was quite emotional. At the end of his eulogy, he asked everyone to raise a glass and toast Rob and that’s when the Grand Marnier was distributed. I remember thinking that Rob would have liked his present used in this way.

Afterwards everyone just mingled, they all came up to me to say their condolences. Some I’d not seen in 20+ years and was amazed how they’d found out. Like I said, bad news travels fast. I appreciated them all. My stupid brother-in-law who’d always had a love/hate relationship with Rob inappropriately whispered in my ear that everyone was coming up to him saying how sorry they were about Rob, and then he said “I’m not!”.

I was shocked that he’d be telling me this at Rob’s memorial, but wrote it off to his ever present inability of knowing what was appropriate or not. My Mom later told me he’d said the same thing to her :(. Just made him look bad. My son and my nephew were having a blast, my son had kept describing the memorial as a “party”. I corrected him, made sure he realized it was a memorial for his Dad, but didn’t make a scene about it as I was just so glad to see him with friends his own age and finally enjoying himself.

Our lawyer showed up too and I introduced him to my family and Rob’s family. It touched me he’d come. My father-in-law was so heavily sedated that he was totally out of it. I didn’t agree with this, but it was my in-law’s decision. I wondered if he’d even realized it was Rob’s memorial and whether he’d even be able to remember it. I made extra special effort to make sure my in-laws were looked after, moreso than even my own family.

We got through the day and the memorial was from 3-5pm but went much longer. My family came back to my house afterwards along with some very close friends. I think my Aunt gave them a ride back home as they lived about 2 hours away and didn’t drive. It was a very good day all in all, I was pleased at who’d come, was pleased at who didn’t come ;). I was pleased with everything that had happened other than my goofy brother-in-law’s callous comment. I was very glad to have it be over.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Hollywood permalink
    July 5, 2010 2:16 pm

    Hi Barb,

    Being Blunt I can’t believe those two sill bitches thought you’d welcome them with open arms, some people are very thick headed and have no common sense. Another case of no common sense was your Brother-in-law, but as you said they never got along anyway. I’m still surprised at how well you handled the entire situation.

    I know you said you are not religious but I hope that God grants you a Mate if you so desire that can be as strong as you are, and that you can have a peaceful Loving life together. You’ve earned it.


    • July 5, 2010 2:29 pm

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment and I don’t mind your bluntness at all. Common sense is not common at all it would seem ;). I really did learn to roll with the punches and just stay true to who I was. I’m not religious but I do still believe in God – I ask all the time for a wonderful partner from God, my Angels and the Universe and ask that it be a loving, healthy, respectful partnering. I’ve certainly learned what I don’t want lol!

  2. July 5, 2010 7:14 pm

    Wow, this looks great! I read through a couple of posts and you are simply a riveting storyteller. Every writer has different strengths, and you know how to really draw people in and keep them through the power of your narrative. I think this is very powerful, well written work. Really seems like you’re a professional writer. I’m impressed…

    Carolyn Scarborough, Book Whisperer
    Supporting you to write your wisdom…

    • July 7, 2010 3:26 pm

      Hey Carolyn!

      I thank you so much for your lovely compliment, coming from an accomplished author and writing coach, it means so much!

      For all those interested in writing and honing your skills, I highly recommend you check Carolyn’s site out. I’ve come to know Carolyn through an amazing bootcamp we went through at the beginning of this year.

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