At 6am this morning our three alarms went off like they do every weekday. (Yes, it takes three alarms to wake us up.) As my husband reached to turn his phone alarm off, he sleepily scanned through his inbox the way he does every weekday before 6:30am. But this morning, it was different. His pause on one particular email was too long.
"My grandfather died," he said suddenly, sitting up.
"What?" I murmured.
This couldn't be happening. I must still be asleep.
"He had an accident," my husband said, unclear of what happened. As he dialed his father, who was on his way down to be with his grandmother, it all felt surreal. His grandparents just stayed with us for a whole weekend two weeks ago on their way back from an Alaskan cruise. We'd just had steak dinners with them, just toasted cocktails over those dinners to our impending visit to see them soon in Arizona, where they live. This couldn't be possible.
What was worse was when my husband found out what the accident entailed. It wasn't a fall or a car accident (both equally tragic), but instead he'd shot himself in the head. They say it was an accident, that he slept with a gun by his bed every night for safety and that he was alone in the bedroom when it happened, but who knows until the report comes back.
Just...wow. I only met him twice so I barely knew him but both times we met he acted like he'd known me forever, even likened me to "Calamity Jane, since I had what he called a "spark" and could "hold my own with men." I can't stop thinking about how when they visited two weeks ago, my husband and I watched them dance together in our living room to Frank Sinatra, and now he's...gone. We're in shock about how sudden it was, how when we dropped them off at the airport we had no clue it would be the last time we'd see him.
And the poor grandmother. They had their whole retirement ahead of them. They were planning to have a big family party this Christmas, and were planning to take a cruise to the Bahamas next year. But now she's alone, with that awful last image of him probably emblazoned onto her brain when she ran into the room and discovered him dead. I feel so sorry for her. Even though she has family, she and her husband were her nucleus, together for over 30 years. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair.