I don't know why the events of the day were designed the way they were...But I sit here tonight, sad and teary and wish it was as it was earlier in the day.
The weatherman said today was going to be sunny with showers later in the evening so I expected to see sunshine. Instead the sky was gloomy and a layer of fog masked my pretty view as I looked out of the bathroom window this morning. It did not change for most of the day forward but the day was fun for the most part.
We are getting close to being finished with the grass cutting here and it's almost time to retrieve the gardens adornments and get ready for winter. I love the fall season the best. The glorious colors of the roadside trees warms my heart as we journey through their dance to the ground. I sat with my camera held out of the window trying to capture that one shot of brilliant color, only to be too distracted to click the shutter on time.
Venturing out of town, I found a bunch....and I mean a bunch, of the Rae Dunn mugs I collect and sell. Seeing this much is one place made me giddy as I pushed the rattling cart up the aisles to the registers where three cashiers had to help wrap them all up.
I placed all of the bags into the car tote looking forward to getting home after lunch to get them all unpacked and photographed.
They are still in the carrier, on the floor in the dining room...still wrapped up.
As we pulled up to our house we noticed two things. Our one neighbor was finishing cutting his grass before he leaves for Florida on Wednesday. He cares for his parents home here and he is ready to go back for the winter. He came over to say goodbye to us and to give hugs and handshakes and to tell us a little of how his mom is.
During our conversation I mentioned to him that I am concerned about the neighbor next to us. As he turned I pointed out that we saw her paper still lay on the side walk....and where we were standing I could see a few more on the porch.
He asked if I thought she went to visit family or if by chance she ended up in the hospital. I told him I would think that she would have cancelled the paper...but I wasn't sure about the mail..if there was any in the box. He asked if I checked, and I told him I didn't because she, as of late, was miserable with us...constantly watching us and yelling at us over silly things. We were friends for over 20 years until I told her about her screaming at her mom and that the whole neighborhood could hear her. I was worried they could come and take her mom from her and if she needed help with her 90+ year old mom there were agencies that can help. Sadly, the police did come for her mom last year.
I told my husband I didn't have a good feeling about it and he said he would ask the mailman who was coming in a bit to look.
I thought....that if a mailman sees papers, mail in the box...anything out of the ordinary that they would notify someone for a wellness check.
I carried my mugs in and called my brother back after hearing his messages. I told him, before we start, since you were a police officer what is the protocol for something like this. He told me call 911. As we spoke I remembered something about her....she was diabetic. He again said, call 911.
I walked with him out to the porch and found my husband talking to the mailman who opened her box to tuck more mail inside and when asked he said there were days of it in there. We could hear her dog barking and when the mail man looked inside he said he saw her in there.
I hung up with my brother and called 911.
The dispatcher took the information from me, and I told her she needs to send an ambulance and the police. I told them of her medical condition and that she has a yapping dog. She told me I couldn't hang up to stay on the line and told me to walk up to the porch and look into the window. I told her I can't do that, if she sees me she will yell at me for sure.
She told me I had to, she needed to know if she was breathing. I walked down my three front stairs and opened the gate, walking towards the latched gate of her house and walked up her stairs.
Joey the dog saw me and jumped up at the window on the chair and started barking fiercely. There was a light on in the parlor and the 911 dispatcher could hear the dog and she asked me if that was her dog. I told her yes and she said again, look inside.
Mary lay slumped on her sofa and she was not breathing. I pulled my face away from the glass terrified at what I was seeing and the dispatcher told me to look again to see if her chest was moving. I told her to call the coroner.
I guess I sounded shook up, because Lord knows I was...and she told me to go back to my porch the police were almost there. I could hear them now and in a moment there were 8 police officers, the fire department, and an ambulance out in front of my house.
The pry bar opened her storm door easily but the battering ram, and pry bars would not open her front door. An officer jumped off of her porch and to the side window and raised the screen. Then he opened the window. I knew something was not right. Mary lived alone and was constantly calling the police over hearing prowlers. She was always fearful of her home getting robbed after ours was so seeing a window unlocked felt off. The officer made his way inside...and in a moment he opened the door. No one rushed from that moment on.
An officer came out and when I asked was she gone, he shook his head yes.
A female officer came to me to get my information since I called and wanted whatever else I could help in finding next of kin.
I stood there in the cold crying, shivering but I couldn't go inside. For whatever reason I stayed and waited until the coroner came and took her. The other neighbors shocked me at their behavior. Each one taking a turn coming to look and then smirk. Cold and callous remarks were all they could find to say and then turned their backs and went inside their homes.
Hubby kept telling me to calm down as the crying will affect my eye, but I couldn't (still can't) stop. My heart is so sad....How sad it is she died alone. The neighbor who lived here for 25 years gone and unnoticed for days. For days my husband remarked that she was not at the window watching us... She loved to try and fight with me over the silliest and smallest of things.
When someone behaves in a certain way I suppose you notice it...and it becomes so par for the course it is like white noise? When I cleared out my front flower beds last Thursday I expected her to come and complain about anything - be it a leaf that went over the fence or a flower or a seed pod. But she didn't. Hubby remarked Thursday night that her garbage wasn't out....which was odd since she made sure she put it at the property line every week. Be it her car, the snow, or the garbage...she marked her line in the sand....and you dare not cross it.
She was gone then I suppose. And her dog didn't have food or water all of those days.
The mailman told my husband he didn't think much of the mail box being full because one time when it was, and he gathered it out to put in between her doors, she came out and yelled at him not to ever do that. And she called and reported him.
The paper person couldn't see all of the yellowed papers on the porch as he delivers in the dark. His Sunday delivery landed on the front sidewalk and he didn't toss it up. Today's paper was at the door. Had we not seen the Sunday newspaper on the sidewalk not picked up making us suspicious, who knows how long she could have been not found.
When the coroner was leaving, he told the officers to dust the window and pointed to the side window they crawled into. The officer told me there were three windows open. Dust the window? Did she not pass from natural causes?
They secured the house and left for now.
The wind is howling now outside of my office window and I am still cold from being outside and heart sad that I can barely see through the tears to type. I never expected at 54-55, she would be the one being carried out of her home and I never expected it would be me to find her. I pray that image of her keeps me mindful in my life....and I pray she finally has the peace she could never seem to find. Rest in Peace Mary.