So this morning at 6:30 I woke up to the doorbell ringing and flashing lights outside of my window. My first thought was that someone had come for my car (I’m a little behind on my payments again). No, it was the police telling me that my sister Iris was asking for me. As you may already know, Iris lives next door with my brother-in-law Harley. I live here with my Mom, who is currently at a rehab hospital scheduled to come home on the 29th.
I didn’t even bother to put my shoes on. On the street were about a half dozen police and fire department vehicles, and as I walked the short distance I figured out what had happened. We have had to call 911 before for Harley and for Mom, and sometimes the police come too, but never that many. I don’t know how I slept through all those vehicles landing next door. Ambien ladies and gentlemen.
As I walked past the staring eyes of the people standing on the lawn and started up the front steps, a woman (not sure if she was police or EMT) told me not to be shocked as I walked in, but that my BIL had passed and was still lying on the couch.
Iris was still in her nightgown and the room was full of police and EMTs. One was filling out paperwork at the kitchen table. That’s where Iris was too. I went straight for her and gave her a hug. She was crying of course. “He’s gone,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”
We never do. Even though Harley has been going downhill for quite a while, you’re never ready for it when it actually happens. We figure it out as we go along. Police, EMTs, pastors, and people at the funeral home deal with this every day and they’ll help us through it. For some reason, I’m here and I can be of some help. Iris’ daughter and her family were already coming for Thanksgiving, so they’ll be here this afternoon. When we figure out when the funeral is going to be, we’ll probably have to check Mom out of the hospital early.
It always seems like these things happen right before a holiday or a big day in our lives. Harley dies the day before Thanksgiving, we buried my Dad on my birthday, these days will forever be bittersweet now. More so than before.
I never told you why I call him Harley for the purposes of this blog, but you’ve probably figured it out. In better days he and Iris loved to ride his motorcycle, they took long trips, even went to Sturgis a time or two. Those days have long passed, and now so has Harley. He was never an easy guy to get to know, I never felt that he liked me all that much, but he was a decent man and a good husband and father. If you think about it and are so inclined, you can send a prayer and a happy thought up for Iris and my niece this weekend. They could use it.