We Were Friends
In September 2022, I received a call from Craig, and he asked me to check on his son as he hadn't heard from him over the last several days. Craig's in the hospital at this point.
I go across the hall and knock on his door. It's after nine-thirty and know he's home but he doesn't answer the door. I knocked louder and called out his name. "Doug! Doug! It's Bill. "
This time I pound on his door and in doing so, the door actually opened. All the lights were on, the television on, and water was flowing over the bathtub. My first thought is he fell asleep and forgot he did that. I could see him half-curled in a fetal position, on his couch, and for a moment, I thought he was just passed out drunk. Beer and Vodka were his mainstays.
As I stepped closer, I noticed two things right away. His feet and hands. They were purple. It was a moot point, but I still went up to him and shook him but got no response. When I went to check his pulse, I let go quickly because with no doubt, by the feel and texture of his skin (cold and stiff), he was dead.
Thing was, Craig was still on the line. It was an awkward thing to have to tell him, over the phone, him in the hospital, that his son at the age of 53 was dead. But tell him I did.
Because we both have the same landlord, I called Myles to let him know, then I called 911. Within two hours (yes, two hours) after police did their initial investigation, they then called the county morgue to have Doug's body removed and that took a good hour after they arrived before they did so. And just like in the movies, they put him in a body bag and zipped it closed.
They said to make certain that this was a as they put it "simple suicide", an autopsy would be performed. All this time, Craig was still on the line and could hear everything going on.
I handed the phone to one of the "morgue guys" saying this was Doug's father, the man asked Craig for his permission, then handed me back the phone.
With them taking Doug's body downstairs, I said to Craig I was sorry this happened the way it did. He said, "Nothing that boy does, surprises me anymore." Then he said goodbye and hung up.
Three weeks later in that same hospital, Craig died in his sleep. He was 72.
(I want to clarify that there was a great deal of activity going on with police coming and going. Paramedics assessing the situation, then the people from the county morgue I didn't describe but this did happen.)
My wish then is as it is now, that they both found the peace that had eluded them in life.