What happens now?

I see Adyn and bolt to the door, Carl has passed. I go to him and think this cannot be real, but, at the same time I am so happy he is no longer in pain.

The kids, quickly usher me out of the room, I grab onto Carl’s clothes and hug them. I won’t let them go.

Adyn takes me to the family room where she is gathering everything. I fall into a chair and think, “what now? No mom, no dad, no husband...what now?” I must say it out loud because Adyn says “mom you have us.” And I say “you guys have your own lives, I am all alone.”

Nathan comes from somewhere to get us and we get in the car. My dad’s cadillac. Nate says, “first thing Monday we are all getting physicals, this is nuts” and Adyn chimes in “it’s just us the 3 musketeers.”

I softly laugh but I am crying inside. I am so paralyzed. We drive around and then head home to my dad’s house. Except my dad isn’t there, he also just died, but it’s the only place with beds, and it is a home. My childhood home. We drive up and my brother comes out the front door and my 2 black labs barrel out the gate. It is a full reunion. As we get inside the hugs and reality hit and we all just sit. We open wine and think this can’t be real.

Friends start to come by, Popeyes, wine, salad, food and more wine.

We sit and talk and laugh and think how can this be? Why did this happen? As I hear myself repeat the what has happened in the last 12 hours, I am thunderstruck with the reality of what I have been through. The funeral home calls and lets me know they have picked up Carl and we set a time to visit the next day.

I just finished doing this 63 days before. Except then, I had Carl to help me. I wasn’t alone, then. Not sure of what to shield my adult children from and what to expose them to. My daughter agrees to go with me the next day. Nathan charges ahead with the law office. That can of worms was busting at the seams. The funeral home was a breeze compared to the law office nightmare.

I finally think I need to get to sleep. I settle into bed with my daughter and we cradle each other, tears flowing while saying out loud to each other. “This really happened. Right? Dad is gone, right?”

The nightmare is only beginning.