Destiny Strikes Again

Part II

I awoke at some point the next day. It's still a little blurry. My first thought was that I couldn't handle what was happening to me. My mom always used to say that God never gives us more than we can handle. I wondered what would happen if she'd been wrong about that? I wondered what to do first. I wondered what to do after that. I'd been the single most capable person that I'd ever met until that very moment. All of a sudden, I was feeling like one of the morons that I waited on at work. I should make funeral arrangements. But, who should I arrange first? Two deaths at once were a lot. It was a thing in my family though. I remembered the time when one of my grandmothers was having surgery during the other grandmother's funeral. I remembered the time that one of my grandmas was having major surgery and my grandpa died of a heart attack in the waiting room. All in all, I should have seen the situation as just another day in my family. I just couldn't believe that it was happening to me again.

That, and I had to call my son. Jake had been having quite a time of it the last few years. Both his father and I were older when we had him, so his grandparents were old. My mom was the last one of the four of them to die. They had all died within four years. After my mother in law had passed, I started seeing the stress on Jake's face. I didn't want to tell him about this one. It all seemed too much. If it was too much for me, imagine what it would be like for my young son. I wanted to tell him. I'd always had a personal mantra never to lie to my son or keep anything from him. I stared at the phone. I just wasn't ready to call him. He had tests. That was my excuse and I was intent on sticking with it.

I called a local crematory and made arrangements for my husband, Ben. He was so young. He was healthy and strong, and apparently not a match for an armored car. The irony still struck me. My husband, who'd never had enough money to be happy according to him, had been killed by a truck full of money. It was all too much. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, and that couldn't be right. The minute I got off the phone with the crematory, Ben's boss called to see if there was anything he could do. I told him no, but that seemed to make him feel bad. I didn't know what to tell him. Ben was dead. There wasn't much anyone could do about that. It was nice that Ben's boss cared at all. I figured that had something like that happened to me, Walmart wouldn't have given a crap. They would have just posted my job position for someone else to take.

I told everyone how to handle the cremation, made arrangements for insurance claims and such. There wasn't much I could do for a few days while everyone was waiting on the death certificate. I learned that one when my dad died and started me on my way to becoming an unofficial death expert. When my dad died, everyone filled in everything on the death certificate except the cause of death. I didn't know what the problem with that was, because everyone in Sun City, Arizona knew what he died of before some coroner just filled in the space. It was ridiculous. However, since everyone else had been dying the last few years, I'd come to learn that you just had to wait for bureaucracy to run its course—kind of like a cold. It took about that long too. Once that happened, you could start about laying someone to rest.

I knew I should call my son, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to have the conversation that was ahead. Ben and Jake had a very difficult relationship and I was afraid that would make things even harder on Jake. I'd spent most of Jake's life coming home from work to either an argument between the two of them, or my husband lecturing Jake about something. Jake complained about Ben nonstop for years. He was so happy to get out of the house when he went to college that I had trouble getting him to talk to his father on the phone or come home for a visit. I was afraid that he would feel guilty when he heard that his father was dead.

I'd always had a difficult relationship with my parents as well. I couldn't run from the house fast enough when I turned 18. It was true that there was a more difficult situation with them, since they'd given some of my siblings away and I hadn't found out until I was 18. It made it even more difficult that I'd met my twin sister on a blind double date, but that wasn't important at the moment. Being distant from parents always led to guilt when they died. I didn't want him to feel that way. I didn't want all of the things that were going on to ruin his finals at school.

I passed on the phone call again, and sat down at my computer. I had a number of little royalty driven shops that I sold merchandise on and things like that. I also had a travel blog that I was quite proud of. Then there were all my friends on Facebook. That was where I looked first. It was easy to look for a distraction when I was that miserable. Most of the few friends that I kept on Facebook were posting all of their normal stuff. All but one. Josh, my ex boyfriend from back in school actually had a post on there. He barely ever posted anything. I clicked on his picture by the notification.

What were the odds that his wife would die at the same time as my husband? I knew that she'd been battling Ovarian Cancer, but last I'd heard it was going fine. That just told me how often he posted anything. I knew I should say something, but what? I couldn't say anything about Ben dying too, because I didn't want Jake to find out that way. I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just told him that he was in my thoughts. It seemed cold, but since I was going through my own stuff, I felt comfortable being a little selfish. Why was everyone dying? I really didn't get that. I did know that this was the worst time of my life, and I wished that it would stop being bad and get better.

Next I got a message notification. It was from Josh, and he'd made sure it was private. It said, "Cathy, I was so sorry to hear about your husband. How are you?"

I didn't know what to say. How did he know? I replied, "I'm fine, but how did you know?"

"It was quite an accident. It was on the news," he said.

Oh dear God. It was on the news. Jake knows. I didn't even get to tell him, because he heard it on the news. Is there no humanity left in the world? What would I do? For the first time in his life, I'd kept something from him and it was the thing that I should have told him soonest. He was going to hate me and that couldn't happen, because he was all I had left. Oh my God, I was going to be all alone for the rest of my life!

I shook my head and calmed myself. "I can't believe it was on the news," I replied.

"It was a big story," Josh said. "Didn't they tell you what happened?"

"I was told he was hit by an armored car with a driver in it texting."

"They didn't tell you the rest?"

"No, what else happened?"

"Well, your husband's truck went flying, which was a good thing. After that, a tanker truck slid into the armored car and blew up. There was money flying everywhere, and some of it was on fire. It caught a bunch of houses on fire and everything. It was a mess. Sorry."

"So, did the jerk who killed Ben die of the crash or from the fire?"

"From what I saw, it looked like he burned. He was moving around when the initial crash happened. It was brutal though. The news has talked nonstop about it."

"Did they actually say my husband's name?"

"Yes."

"Dear God. I haven't told Jake yet. He's going to hear it on the news and hate me. I just didn't know how to tell him that his dad and his grandma both died on the same day. He's taking finals this week and I didn't want to screw it up for him."

"Your mom passed too?"

"Yes. I got the call about her and as soon as I hung up they called about Ben."

"Dear God, I'm so sorry. Is there anything I can do?"

"It sounds like you have your own stuff to take care of."

"I don't have half the load you do. If there's anything I can do, let me know."

"I will, but I guess I should call Jake."

I disconnected the chat and immediately the phone rang.

"Hello," I said.

"How is it that I have to hear that my dad is dead from the news?" Jake demanded to know.