My sister-in-law had come by to pick up her phone charger. She ended up staying for awhile, talking about her pregnancy and I was offering, as usual, everything I had so that she could make preparations for her future daughter. I like pregnancy talk. We sat here for awhile.
She stood up to leave and looked out the open front door, through the screen door, at the driveway and announced that Angie, my cousin-in-law (but also a very close friend), was pulling up. Strange, I thought, that she would be coming here at this time.
My sister-in-law was asking what was wrong before I even saw Angie's face. Angie was sobbing and shaking, distraught, obviously, asking if we could keep her son because someone was dead in her driveway. I said of course, trying to register what was being said, while trying to seem calm. She left and my sister-in-law sat back down to absorb the news.
Jeff called a few minutes later. He was with his father, who was the first person Angie called after 911, and they had gone over and discovered it was a woman, sitting in the driver's seat of her locked car, still dripping blood from her nose and mouth as they peered through the tinted windows.
Angie and her son, who had gotten off early from school, had returned home from doing a few errands. She started to pull into her very long driveway and saw a car parked ahead of her. Thinking it was someone lost and needing to turn around she waited for a moment, and then awhile longer trying to figure out what they were doing. She eventually got out of her car and walked up to the stranger to ask them to leave when she saw . . . what she saw. It was horrible, disturbing to say the least, and she promptly freaked out and called 911. Then my father-in-law, before driving over here.
“Thank goodness you have a lot of family around here,” I told her later that night, trying to say something optimistic about the whole sad story.
Why her driveway, we wondered? It is up the hill and behind where we live, a little to the side. It is a driveway used by three people, a house out of sight, but a lived in one nonetheless. Who was this woman? Did she know them, any of us?
Later we learned it was a neighbor who lived a mile or so down the road. She was on her way, supposedly, to pick up her 12 year old son from school. She had a three week old baby at home. My first thought on hearing this was “postpartum depression”, simple as that. Things suddenly made sense. I tried to tell my father-in-law, who looked at me skeptically, that this was something very serious for some women.
Angie came over here tonight and we talked for a bit. What she saw today is something no one should ever see. We talked about the selfishness of suicide, about people we've known hurt by it. Angie, who is a seasoned gore addict, is already haunted by the images, and I can't get the family out of my head.
I don't know the lesson we're supposed to learn by these things. Why did that happen when it did, where it did, why it did? I suppose it's just important to remember that they do happen.