This is an absolutely true story Book Index(click on video to turn off music)
Come away, O human child, to the waters and the wild, with a fairy hand-in-hand. For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. -
"The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats
"You murderer! "
The young girl lunged at Mary pushing her into the corner of the kitchen.
Mary unaware of what had just occurred pushed the girl away. And then had to absorb the fact something terrible had just happened.
Her oldest son, Joshua had committed suicide only three years earlier at 17 years of age. Justin, just 15 at the time had found his brother hanging by his belt from the pipes in the basement laundry room. He had to call his mom and tell her. He was left alone for a while with his now dead brother and it could only have been a nightmare that no-one, much less a child had to live through.
He seemed to have recovered, I never thought so, but he did, he felt he recovered.
And he had found love.
Susan was a girl of a different caliber than the Schuch family, but we had accepted her because Justin loved her. And there was no doubt she loved him.
She had just left the party where she and Justin had joined their friends swimming, in October…in Wisconsin. An oddity I have never reconciled.
I never got the whole story, I don’t think anyone did. But it seems within a short time after they arrived; Justin had taken to a chaise lounge and fell asleep only to not be able to be awakened a short time later. How Susan determined it was my sister’s doing is beyond me. The girl was in shock, desperate, as if in a dream, young and this was her first love.
I have heard it said and I believe that before anybody makes the journey to the other side, we have to know on a soul level that we are leaving, whether it's an accident, illness, or by our own hand and we prepare ourselves to a certain degree that we won't be there in the future. I wonder what his and Susan’s last conversations were about?
After Susan's disruptive accusation, this is how my poor sister found out her last and only child was now gone.
It was determined that Justin had taken an overdose of narcotics. Perhaps Susan felt he was slipped a mickey, by his mother? Unlikely. But one had to excuse the supposition, so close to Joshua’s death.
I know Joshua died three years earlier, but these were healthy beautiful happy youngsters in spite of everything, beautiful young men. How can eyes that burn so brightly, suddenly turn so pale? Those were the eyes she saw at the last.
My sister’s family was now erased.
Mel and I went to Kenosha for this funeral still feeling the sting of not being notified of Joshua’s funeral, missing it altogether. In spite of everything that my sister and I had gone through in preceding years, it was put aside as I tried to comfort her. I kept telling her it wasn’t her fault, but in my heart I felt unsettled; children do not die as a rule without a medical problem.
We arrived in town in just enough time to put our things up in the hotel room before we were picked up and brought to the church.
We had come from the mild climate of San Francisco, we didn't even go back home to Houston. We were not equipped for the weather. The skies were grey, bleak. There was a strange light dusting of snow, early in the season and melting before noon, but it was bitter - a high wind in the trees, a cold sound in the air
The funeral was a three ring circus and perhaps it would have been better had we not shown.
My brother Gil found it necessary to walk behind my mother calling her the Idatolla (my mother’s name is Ida and he was referring to the Ayatollah Khomeini.) I tried to silence him, but it is his way to bring bad taste to every situation.
One of Mary’s friends used this as a forum to show off her recent weight loss wearing tight white jeans. My mother asked someone to tell her to go home and change. Even Mary was shocked at her distasteful apparel. White jeans. At a funeral. After Labor Day.
I wasn’t going to do it. The girl then tried to take over showcasing her figure making dramatic sweeping gestures like that chic on Wheel of Fortune. This same girl used the situation to bring Bess, Mary's best friend and Joshua's Godmother, some alleged wedding fupaus to everyone’s attention, she was jealous of Bess’s relationship with Mary.
The funeral director was pregnant. What kind of funeral home lets a 7 or 8 month pregnant woman direct a child's funeral? How tasteless is that? And she was kind of a bitch.
This is to be expected at funerals these days. One of my readers told me that if one wants to see the worst in people, they should work in the funeral industry.
The families of poor Justin were divided in three camps, Justin’s father, Justin’s mother, my sister as well as his girlfriend's family. And there were a lot of them. Bless her heart for bringing them, she may have felt she was going to be under attack for accusing my sister of killing Justin.
I was surprised that Justin’s father even showed. He never treated Justin like his son and had this delusion that he was fathered by someone else, a coworker of his mother from her days as a cook at Houston’s. And the person he believed this was, was also at the funeral. I knew this was untrue as Mary had that affair LONG before she even married Hank. She ended it, one of the things I have always felt she was graceful about. She never let the affair carry on after she met the young man’s wife and child. I do not believe Mary was ever unfaithful to her husband. But she also was close to 400 pounds. She since has had the surgery.
I spent most of my time with Mary’s best friend Bess’s husband who was the most endearing, quietly helpful young man. He was able to put everything into perspective.
“All of these people are individuals and they have their own interpretation on where they are in Mary’s life. Mary does not have the ability or strength to address any of this.”
In the middle of all of this was Justin. The beautiful child, now just a shell. I touched his cold hard hands and face, I kissed his lips, but they weren’t his because he certainly would have reached up and pulled me close. I half expected this, as if he were pulling a practical joke, and created this circus to see who would show up at his funeral. He needn’t have worried, the church was to overflow with people paying tribute. It seemed his entire senior class had shown.
My mother treated Mel like her own child calling Mel her other daughter. So at least we didn’t have that to contend with. When the Queen mother spoke, all in attendance followed her direction. It was humorous at times. Mel had ordered a Coast Guard Uniform off of EBay because she had gotten rid of her own earlier on, she could no longer fit in it. She stood sentry, dressed like a military guard behind my mother. And people streamed by at first uncomfortable, then accepting of Mel’s presence.
When the pallbearers brought the casket in, there was one young man that stood out. He was extremely nervous, upset in a different way than the rest. I never found out why, but that always sticks in my mind when I picture that day. Who was he? Why was he so distressed? Yes his friend died but this was different. His distress was more fear than sadness. He fidgeted, very nervous, not making eye contact and would look over the congregation as if frightened someone would jump up and attack him.
And my sister. Inconsolable and truly, there are no words.
After the funeral, Mel and I went back to our hotel room where we laid down to take a nap. I had pain issues then and I was taking some pretty heavy medication. When I awoke, Mel was gone and a note left behind that she didn’t want to wake me. She had gone ahead to my family’s home to meet with everyone else and told me to call as soon as I awoke and she would come back to get me.
What? Why? This was the strangest thing …I was shocked – I called.
“Dianne, your mom needs to get some rest and people are leaving, I’ll come back to the hotel, and I will bring you back here tomorrow.”
I could not believe my ears. Mel and I had been together twelve years at that point…when did I not notice she had an agenda? This was my family. Mel knew I was always hanging on a thread. Mostly because I was used as a pawn and played between them. Now it seems, Mel has joined rank. How could she?
Do I just perceive things differently?
Am I being paranoid?
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True