Jon has died

Lughnasa and the Harvest Moon

Monday gratefuls: Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Meme. Death. Again. Arapahoe county medical investigator. Police. Family gathering. Again. Sarah. BJ. Joe. Seoah. Kep. Aurora. Jon’s house. Plan. Change plan. That gurney.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: the cycle of life and death


A phone call. About 6:45 pm. One ring on the cell phone. Off. Then the landline. Hard to understand. Someone in distress. Crying. Dad’s dead. It was Ruth. She had gone down in the basement of their house to ask him a question and found him. He was cold.

Yes, of course I’ll be there. Threw on my jeans. Grabbed my keys and my phone. Headed down the hill for the 45 minute plus drive in to Aurora.

Joe called. He had plans underway. Be here tomorrow or Wednesday with Seoah. I called Sarah. No luck. All the way down thinking. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Meme, their cat. What happens now?

Jon. A tortured soul. Buffeted too much by life, never found that life preserver that could have kept him afloat. He would have been 54 this year. Not suicide. Except in a post-divorce slow motion lack of self-care way.

By the time I got there the EMTs had come and gone. Pronounced him dead. An Aurora police car sat near the house. Jen was there.

Ruthie ran up to my car as I drove by. I stopped. She leaned in and sobbed.

Once I parked both Gabe and Ruth ran to me and we formed a tight circle, hugging each other, a defense against this mystery, so ordinary, yet so harsh, so final. Crying. Crying.

Both of them surprised me by asking me how I got through the death of my mother. They knew I was young and that it was sudden. I was numb for a long time. In shock, I said.

Gabe went with me to get some water. Are you really leaving in February? I really wish you’d stay longer. Oh. Arrow found my heart. Focus on the now.

Back at the house on Florence Avenue a vigil of sorts set up. Waiting on the medical investigator for Araphahoe County and the coroner’s van. I had to take my Mountain appropriate sweatshirt off in deference to the 83 degrees of an Aurora late evening.

Jon’s house is in a working class neighborhood. Small brick homes placed close to each other. A mixed community of Latino and poorer whites. The light from the police cruiser painted the house across from Jon’s in a thin layer of bluish white. Hushed conversations.

Jen and I. Thought we might get along but her animosity and cruel treatment of both Jon and Kate was too close to the surface. We had different sectors and the kids came to each of us at different points.

The coroner’s van came. Ruth gave Jon’s quilt wrapped body a final hug and the gurney took him on his last exit from his house.

I left shortly after, driving back up the hill. Ruth and Gabe headed to their mom’s. Sarah and BJ are on their way. Joe and Seoah.

Many things unclear. How will I communicate with Ruth and Gabe now that they will be with their mom full time? What kind of service? Where? Ruth said Jon wanted to be cremated.

The coroner will have his body at least until Tuesday late afternoon. They have to determine cause of death, rule out suicide, other possibilities. Sarah, as his closest blood relative, has legal authority since Ruth is under 18.

Jon had no will. What happens to the house, the cars? All of the stuff in the house. The house itself.

Lots of details ahead. For which I have little energy. Feeling like Colorado has been about too much disease and death. Conflicted about Gabe’s comment. Wanting so much to start a new chapter far from here. Hearing him. And, Ruth.

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