Never Had A Chance To Say Goodbye……#275 (2014)

Frances Marion Willson – A memory ad infinitum

The month July is always eventful,  July 27th, 2014 the 35th birthday of Gary’s daughter Marlo, the seventh month of the year also hosting birthday dates for his two son’s Scott, Rob, daughter Sandra,  Mom,  sister Kay, Grandson Parker, his wife Fran birthday on the 15th and concluding with the couples 15th wedding anniversary on the 30th.   The afternoon temperature having acquired the 100 degree mark, Fran having changed into her swimming suit declaring she was going in the pool, Gary who was seated at his computer  in the spare bedroom working on a Inquisitive Quest chapter revision relating he would join her.  With Gary’s arrival, the cool water refreshing, Fran as usual having situated herself in her large inner tube floating, taking in the sun.  The two continuing, Gary finally deciding to go in, take a shower and resume his project on the computer, Fran saying she would be in shortly.

Gary was on his computer when Fran poked her head in saying she was going to the shower as she entered the master bedroom across the hall closing the door behind her.  Gary continuing his undertaking, the time passing, then it occurred to him that it had been twenty or thirty minutes and he hadn’t noticed or heard Fran come out of the master bedroom.  Getting up, the bedroom door was still closed, entering he walked towards the open bathroom door, there lay Fran, having removed her clothes in preparation for her shower, face down on the floor.  Immediately trying to get a response but to no avail, she wasn’t breathing, his first thought was chest compression’s, but the narrow  confines of the doorway prevented him from turning her over.  He rushed across the hall to a phone dialing 911 as he returned giving his address , telling dispatcher that his wife was unresponsive.  The dispatcher beginning to asked questions, Gary responding that he had to get her out of the door way to turn her over and couldn’t talk anymore.  He began his attempts to pull her out of the bathroom, but to no avail, Fran was heavier than him and because of her total relaxed restriction he couldn’t get any leverage  to move her, he needed help.

Brian & Julie Canfield

Running next door, Julie answering the door, Gary briefly saying he needed  her husband’s help that he found Fran on the floor and she wasn’t responsiveness, Brian coming to the door.  The three rushing back, and were in the process of moving her into the bedroom when the ambulance responders made their presence known, the ambulance having arrived from its parked station on County Center St. eight blocks away.  Gary watching as the paramedics beginning as the fire departments rescue unit arrived taking charge continuing the protocol, a fireman looking up, the look in his eyes confirming what he already conceived , she was gone and with her his world.  Taken aside the responders asking if they could continue their protocol even though she was gone.   Nodding,  at that point nothing mattered,  the reality of what was happening was blanketed with a numbing detachment of actuality.   It was the muffled sound of Fran’s little Hope’s barking at the responders from beneath the bed  that finally got Gary’s attention and awakening him to reality and the necessity to grasp the situation.

Little Hope

Fran & Gary

It was six o’clock when Eaton Family Funeral and Cremation Service departed with Fran, Gary having called Eaton’s about their service making an appointment to meet with Michael Eaton to discuss arrangements the following day.   As of yet  not making an attempt to notify any family, waiting until the traffic cleared from the house.   The activity having ceased, alone with his thoughts, the stillness in the house unveiling a cloak of solitariness, Gary in silent prayer asking the Lord for the endurance to cope with the task set before him.   The process of calling beginning,  with some difficulty finally able to reach Fran’s two brothers Ray and Bob, daughters Jeannette, Donna, a call to his mother, followed by his son Robert, daughter Marlo knowing they would convey Fran’s passing to the rest of the family.  The following afternoon Gary meeting with Michael Eaton at their Downtown Modesto 12th street sanctuary, relating his desire to abide with his wife’s wishes to be cremated with no service.  Michael providing an explanation of what documents needed to be secured, who to notify,  concluding with the mortuary’s cost and a final resolution time frame.

Fran and Gary’s children

A feeling of  despair prevailing, Gary thankful for the companionship of Carli and little Hope, at least he wasn’t alone,  the two joining him to the county records office on Scenic to pick up copies of the death certificate and to  the social security  office on N. Carpenter.  Having conveyed Fran’s desires to Donna in Cloverdale Oregon, referencing the numerous family items and collectibles, a seeming endless array of 45 & LP record,  clothes and other items including Fran’s mothers china that she proudly displayed in a china cabinet.  The difficult subject of Fran’s interment remains inaugurated, Gary aspiring to do what was acceptable to the family,  adding that Fran’s only request was that the ashes of her beloved dog Sammi who had passed the year before would be with her.  Donna expressing that she and Randy would bring Fran home with them and determine a suitable final resting place at a later date.

Fran’s daughters: Donna, Karen and Jeanette

Randy, Donna, Karen, Jeanette, Eric and Dick

Fran’s daughters arriving Tuesday, Donna, husband Randy;  Jeanette, husband Eric;  the youngest Karen and surprisingly Fran’s first husband, Dick Wilcoxson, the girl’s father.  Gary having acknowledge Dick’s presence once before in Florida, Dick happening by as the couple prepared for a garage sale, Fran having mentioned that his mother resided up the street on Granada Drive.  The family bringing in boxes, spending several hours packing and loading a lifetime of accumulated possessions, filling a trailer they had arrived with. Gary deciding not to witness the activity,  he,  Carli and Hope remaining out by the pool.  The following morning their foraging having been completed,  Jeanette, Eric, Karen and Dick would be returning to Jeanette’s residence in John Day, Donna and Randy to wait on the interment remains scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon .  Gary making his final journey to the Eaton Family Funerals location for Fran, Donna and Randy patiently waiting, somewhat anxious to get started on their return to Oregon, entrusting them with the stewardship of Fran and her loving Sammie’s interment remains.  He watched as the car pulled away, once again adrift in the world traumatic reality of the past events, a sense of desolation shrouding him, alone except for the companionship of Carli and little Hope, still unable to release the withheld emotional grievance within.

Rob & Gabby

A first Modesto swimming lesson

Gary daughters Marlo, Sandra having called earlier in the week, his son Rob calling asserting he and 14 month old granddaughter Gabby would arrive Friday from Fort Worth explaining his visit would be brief having to return Sunday, relating he had secured hotel reservation, thinking it was best  because it was the first time he and Gabby had traveled alone and as a novice not knowing what to expect.  The following day the three journeyed to Columbia,  Gary’s mom rejoicing at meeting her newest great-granddaughter.  Saturday evening the son and granddaughter enjoying the pool, Gary declining, the pool  a reminder of his last afternoon with Fran and the many “if’s” that questioned within that might have made a difference.  Rob’s visit was short but a blessing, bringing a much-needed relief from the concealed sadness and the silent emptiness that one feels when part of you is gone.  Gary alone in his thoughts, questioning his station, thankful for the support and condolences from his friends and family with exception of his oldest son Scott who never called or in any way acknowledged  her passing.

 At times the house on Blue Daisy Way would take on a stillness and in its silence Gary found Fran still there, the residence was her domain, the chosen furnishings,  the yard sprinkler system and patio stones a result of her labors, the peg board in the garage, the arrangement of every shelf, even the presence Carli and Hope all results of Fran.  With time the the inner feeling of loss lessened but never subsiding, she was the first and only person in his life he was able to totally assimilate with and most likely the reason he always presented her to others “as the smartest person I know”.   Their meeting filled a void in his life  but her unexpected passing left a emptiness that knew no bounds and sadly…… he never had a chance to say goodbye…….

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