I stopped counting the months after the one year mark. The 28th of every month no longer had its grip on my heart. I didn’t feel the need to count thirteen, fourteen, fifteen months…. But lately I’ve been thinking about Kris. Mexico was six months ago.…
I wrote this post at the beginning of January but didn’t publish it. I meant to publish it. I had it scheduled for January 9th but somehow didn’t click the actual “publish” button.
In hindsight, I’m glad that I didn’t hit publish. December was a hard month and I found myself extremely stressed at the beginning of January. So this is the updated, edited version. The Holidays, starting a new year, reflecting on where I was at this time last year…. it was a lot. …
I would like to skip the next few months, the holidays and winter. I just want to be in Mexico. It’s going to be a year before I know it. Have to make it to the winter solstice and then the days will start getting longer. January is the worst month though.
I had to work the day before Thanksgiving. When I left the parking lot and turned out onto the road, I noticed a young guy standing on the right side of the road, holding a sign, asking for gas money. He was by one of those Chevron/McDonald’s combos. I think the sign said, “Veteran – Need Gas Money” and he had a gas can by his feet. He was looking down. As I was driving up to him, I saw at least ten cars come out of the McDonald’s drive thru and go right past him. I rarely give money to people begging on the side of the road but I had this intense feeling like I was either going to cry or throw up. It just hit me that I needed to give this kid some money. I only had a $10, $5, and I don’t even know how many $1. But I stopped in the middle of the road after I drove by him, watching cars drive past him in my rearview mirror, and then I sat there for at least a minute, holding up cars, debating what to do. Luckily the car behind me didn’t honk. So I put on my blinker, got in the right turn lane and turned into the Chevron. I rolled down the passenger window and drove up to the guy. He didn’t even look up when I stopped. He looked so cold. I said, “Here you go,” and he looked up, startled. I gave him all the cash I had, not even $20 and he said, “Thank you, my dad had a heart attack.” I asked him if he was okay and he nodded. Then I drove off.
I don’t know why I went back to give him money, just a strong feeling that I should. Intuition, I guess.
The last time I ever saw Kris in person was at the Boise airport. I dropped him off for a Friday morning flight. I watched him walk inside the airport and as soon as he was out of sight, I burst into tears and cried the entire drive home. I haven’t told very many people that. I don’t know why I cried. It’s kind of crazy to think about, almost like my subconscious sensed he wouldn’t be coming home. I’d dropped Kris off at the airport many times and that wasn’t his first two week work trip. But for some reason, I just lost it.
The only reason I tell the story about giving the kid money is because the feeling to do so was so strong, almost similar to crying as soon as Kris walked into the airport. I have good intuition, I just don’t always listen to it.
I finally got his autopsy report. I’m not going to share the results at this time because I still have a workers comp case. The other day I realized that I’ve been carrying his autopsy report around with me. I mean, I have it in my email, but the copy I printed, I still have it in my work bag. Getting the autopsy, it’s like another thing to grieve. Closure, yes, it does help with that.
And now I try to move on with my life.
In the last nine months, I’ve met a lot of people. Made new friends, reconnected with people, disconnected with people, done a lot of things on my own. I’ve realized that we never, ever know what’s actually going on in someone else’s life, so don’t make assumptions. Treat people with kindness, that person on the side of the road asking for money, well, a few wrong turns and it could be any of us.