An excerpt from The Trifecta of Joy: Help yourself in a world of change. A continuation from the previous blog: The Most Memorable Ask
If you’ve experienced an extreme trauma, you know that life becomes extremely compartmentalized. It is taken in small bites. Depending upon the intensity of the trauma, the amount of time that one may be able to plan and carry out can vary.
As the police and paramedics arrived on the beach, staff were instructed to take me to the office for questioning.
I stood, and a woman suggested I take my husband’s jewelry. I tend to lean on the side of trust, but in that moment, those rings – his wedding and blue sapphire rings – were important symbols of our love and I needed to have them.
I kneeled again next to his body, grabbed his hand, and began to try and remove the rings from his hand. Swollen and beginning to already stiffen, it was a struggle to pull back his cold swollen flesh to try and release the rings from his knuckles.
Officers yelled in Spanish as I pulled at my husband’s hands. Feeling that the body before me was simply a vessel, as his wedding ring released into my hand, I was struck by a knowing that this was not John, I was simply removing rings from his container.
Rings in hand, I was escorted away to the Resort Manager’s office. It was a large corner office with three walls of windows – two that looked out over the hotel foyer, and one overlooking the ocean. The room was bright, airy, relaxing, and was filled with white linen furniture and brightly coloured pillows. Exactly what you’d want for an environment as a blissful vacationing hotel guest.
While it was a place to pace, cry, and try to piece together the next minutes of life – I was on display for the rest of the resort. Guests walked by, and while trying not to look, it was clear that the news had spread like wildfire. Each person passing by had the energetic curiosity that we tend to have when we know tragedy has struck.
I was the train wreck no one wanted to experience or see, but everyone was curious about, and no one could look away from. I felt like a tigress in distress pacing in the glass cage of despair.
I imagined a sign down the hall – rimmed in bright lights with an arrow: Stupid Tourist Drowned: See remains of the dream family vacation this way!
People walked by and pretended not to look at the wildly broken widow trapped in the fishbowl of grief.
I was assured that care of the boys was in the hands of qualified people of the resort, and that there were matters we needed to address immediately.
Matters. The manager went into task mode: Contact next of kin, police report, his passport, the Canadian Consulate, and funeral home. All tasks that needed to be attended to immediately.
She handed me a little green book, and said, “You probably want to write a few things down.” As she gently gave her condolences, she assured me, “We will help however we can, and it’s going to be fine.’
Are you kidding me? It was NOT going to be FINE.
My husband was dead. I was in Cancun with our children, and my life had just fucking imploded. FINE?
Want to read more? Read the last of this 3-part series here.