When Kevin died
I have two days every month that I think of as when I lost my son. He died August 5th, 2009 but we did not find him until 11 days later on the 16th.
Kevin was my only child and I guess you could say we grew up together since I was only 15 when I had him. He was only 37 and his death came as a huge shock to us.
I last saw Kevin on August 3rd, I had invited him to stop by for dinner. We were sitting on my deck talking about things in general and he told me how he had started walking and was going to try to lose weight and take better care of his health. Kevin had type 2 diabetes and he wasn't always good about taking care of himself. He had quit smoking cigarettes but had switched to cigars. He told me how he had walked a couple of miles and during the last part he had to stop and rest because he was getting winded.
Kevin lived alone and had been laid off from his job in April and was looking for work. He used this time to work on a book project. Kevin loved to write and use his imagination, as a little boy he was always asking what if this happened or what if that happened, his mind going in so many directions. He had been married but was divorced and didn't have any kids.
I was preoccupied with issues with my husband's health over the next couple of weeks so I didn't think much of not having heard from Kevin. On Saturday the 15th as I was going to the store I drove by Kevin's street and decided to give him a call. I could always talk to Kevin about everything and he was always there for me and always helped me put things in perspective.
When I called I got his voice mail which wasn't unusual so I left him a message and expected he would call me back. Later that night when he didn't call I sent him an email. He might not check his voicemail but he always read his email. By Sunday afternoon I felt something wasn't right so I told Mike I was going up to check on Kevin and make sure he was OK. I had done this before when I couldn't get hold of him and it was usually that he had been up late writing and had been catching up on his sleep.
When I drove up to his building I saw his car parked where it usually was and I went into the building to knock on his door and noticed a card for carpet cleaning stuck in the door. When there was no reply I went outside and knocked on his window. I was starting to get panicky and tried to see if I could slip the lock on his door with my driver's license, that didn't work and his neighbors came out and I asked them if they had seen him. They said they hadn't see him for awhile and that the card had been there a couple of days.
I went back outside and was trying to decide if I should try to get in through a window that was partially open and for some reason I stopped myself. I took my cell phone and called 911 and told them I needed to check and make sure someone was ok, I told them Kevin was diabetic so it supported my concern. When the EMTs showed up I told them what was going on and why I was sure Kevin was home and why I was concerned.
One of them did go through the window and I sat on the steps outside his building and prayed that he was OK and that I was just overreacting and being a panicky mom. The EMT came out and when I looked up at him he looked at me and shook his head and told me he was dead.
The next few hours were so surreal, I called home because I thought my father-in-law could come up and get me since I didn't want Mike to drive. Leo wasn't home so I called my brother who came over to Kevin's to be with me. While I was waiting for them, I was able to stop crying long enough to answer question for the EMTs and the police. Because Kevin died alone they had to make sure that there was no foul play or that it wasn't a suicide.
The following week was the longest of my life. Taking care of Kevin's possessions, they had to be removed from his apartment so his Dad and I worked together with help from his brother and my niece to get everything into my garage or to Jim's house. I didn't sleep much that week and just kept on going because I felt I needed to make sure everything was taken care of.
Kevin's Dad and I had been divorced for almost 30 years and after Kevin graduated high school we had little need to talk to each other. When he came by the day after we found Kevin I wasn't sure how it was going to go. He got out of his car and as he started walking up to me he started crying, we hugged each other and stood there and cried together as we both tried to come to terms with our loss.
Jim and I made all the plans together and we made sure that we had the kind of memorial for Kevin that he would have wanted. I was so busy that week and I think I just went on automatic pilot to get everything done. I couldn't leave the plans or decisions to anyone else. Kevin was my son and I felt like I owed it to him to make sure things were done in a way he would have liked.
When it was over and everyone was gone I was left to come to terms with how I was going to face the rest of my life without Kevin. Here I was at 52 and he had been the most important person in my life for the majority of my life.
It has been over nine months and in two weeks on the 28th of May Kevin would have been 38.
We buried Kevin's ashes in Maine beside my Mom and near my grandparents. The 28th I will take the 3 hour drive north to be at his grave on that day. I will put a container with silk flowers between them, that will look nice all summer until I go up again in August. I have a strong need to be there with him. I know it's only his ashes and the Kevin I loved isn't there but it's where I can go away from everyone else and spend time reflecting on the past few months and show Kevin my love.