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Chaos from an untimely death

March 26, 2021
Tyler and Chris Angel developed this set from Dodie Rife and Ginger Roll’s guidance.

March 19, 2021

In a week I could manage only the following diary entry:

An odd day.  Household has five guests:  Carol, Beth, Clara, Christopher, Tyler and Samantha.

March 26, 2021

Life has been chaotic since a week ago before noon Tuesday. 

P. and I were driving to help a friend and his daughter move into a house, when P. took a phone call from Kristi.  She said Katy found her brother, Bradley Angel, dead in his bed moments earlier, an apparent overdose.  

Turned out later, Bradley hadn’t.  I’m not sure what killed Bradley, but it wasn’t the “oxy” he thought he was taking. (Earlier, he offered one to Katy, who declined.)

As we made our way across town, I reviewed in my mind the procedure for CPR.  Finally, it occurred to me to call 9-1-1.  By then we met an ambulance with siren, so we pulled over.  Sure enough, Katy had called 9-1-1.  Her thinking was clearer than mine.

Things changed rapidly, we had hope for Bradley, the hopes changed to sorrow.  Then hope.  Then sorrow.  ER to ICU.  We yo-yoed like that for a week.  Relatives flew in from Pennsylvania, Alaska, drove from Nebraska, California, Bozeman, Minnesota.  Sometimes I couldn’t find a chair in our house to sit in.  Other times I crawled into the basement to practice the banjo.

Days later my brother-in-law, John Aseltine, died of a heart attack.  He was 91 years old.  More ER.  More ICU, but just a day, not a week, like Bradley.

Throughout the time my blood pressure was like, 80-something over 40-something.  I couldn’t do too much, except make an appointment to visit my internist.  I won every contest to see who had the lowest blood pressure.

Dodie, the manager at NOVA theater, invited me to build a set.  This turned out to be a great way to get me and my nephew Chris and his son Tyler out of the hectic house.  Chris and Tyler painted and built what Dodie envisioned.

I cried out my sorrow and anguish to Facebook and more than 300 people responded with reactions and sympathetic comments.  Made me feel good.  Also made me feel good that so many came to our house, but I couldn’t find a place to sit, so I plopped onto the floor until someone got up to visit the bathroom or find something to eat.  Their name wasn’t on the chair, so I claimed it.

We built a fire in a little burner out on the driveway and many of us sat around it.  Chuck Angel played some guitar.  Geoff and Chris Angel invented a game of “hide the egg,” for the youthful folks.  

My sister-in-law Dolly gave me her late husband’s banjo as a birthday present.  I played it last night, I know only one song: “Boil Them Cabbage Down.”  I’ve been working on a second song for a month, but I can’t seem to get it.  I’m getting it slowly, but my thumb doesn’t want to pick the correct string to play “Shady Grove.”  Eventually, I hope to play along with other musicians.

Our daughter, Clara, bought a puppy when she visited.  The dog is a mixture of poodle and something else, but mostly poodle.  Soft fur. Quiet disposition.  Knows how to sit and be quiet.  As you might guess, chews things, wets, poops with abandon.  Clara texted that her older dog, Kirby, didn’t cotton to the newcomer.  Gave Clara reproachful looks.

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One Comment
  1. Ginger permalink

    It is hopeful that you share these thoughts. Unimaginable pain and grief bringing far flung family members together. Life. Death. Sorrow. Joy. It IS our existence. I am thankful you had the opportunity to get to know family better as your mind was filled with helping someone else. Me.
    Thank you.

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