Saturday marked one year since Earl passed away. The past year was one of the worst, if not the worst, year in my life. It didn’t have to be so bad, but there were some ugly dynamics with his family. Everyone handles grief in his or her own way. For me, I was OK until August. I gave his mom Earl’s beloved 2000 BMW Z3 roadster. She had purchased it for him in ’04, I think because I had bought myself a new Mercedes. Who buys an adult child a new car? He did love it. We thought she had bought it for herself, as she came home in it. But she titled it in Earl’s name only.
When Earl died, the car became mine. That was pretty much it. There was no estate filed for probate. He counted on inheriting from his mother, who is a real estate tycoon. We rented the house from his parents. She wanted the car. I think she thought since she purchased it, it was hers, but she put it in his name only. Had she put in in joint tenancy, it would have been hers. I, being nice to a mother who lost a son, gave it to her. Gifts should be given with no strings attached. That’s when things turned south, and much hate came my way. To this day, no one in his family except his mom has called or written. Not even last Saturday. Even his mom stopped calling, which I appreciate because I feel that a family I loved has become toxic for me, and I don’t need that while picking up the pieces of my life.
I planned a nice adventure for myself for last weekend. I needed a few more CE credits for my vet license, so I headed down to San Antonio. I stopped in some little towns to look for antiques. I think Franklin discussed this. I took Earl along with me in spirit. I know he would have loved the Alamo. He was fascinated with all things military and Western.
True story: Earl went to register for the draft when he was eighteen in 1970. The woman in Laramie asked him if there was any reason he could not serve. He told her he was going down to Denver for a kidney transplant the next day. The woman rolled her eyes as if to say, “Yeah, right.” Earl always said the military wouldn’t take him if he bought his own bullets.
Back in 2007, when everyone was getting married on 7/7/07, we were invited to his classmate’s daughter’s wedding in Riverton, Wyoming. I was looking forward to going. Earl had just had back surgery on the 2nd, and didn’t feel he could withstand the long drive. We canceled. I think that was the beginning of the end. He ended up having another, more extensive surgery on the same area of his spine, but recovered quickly. From the operation, that is.
He did manage to ride again, and we rode all summer in 2008. Earl did all the chores he loved to do around El Rancho Pig Sty-o. Both horses had been gravely ill during the winter, but recovered quickly to be ridden that summer not only on the flat at the state park, but also up in the mountains. We had really never done much mountain riding with them. We had Hannah only two years, at age four, when I fractured my hip. I had to get my leg in top shape, and Hannah had to mature to climb mountains.
I look back on that summer and realized it was Earl’s last summer. The horses were healthy, the Wonder Husky didn’t have cancer yet, and the cats made us laugh on a daily basis. I firmly believe that the day you die is pre-determined by G-d. Now that my physical meltdown is gone, the one year anniversary is past, and his family is out of my life, I’m feeling pretty good. The Grief Monster will visit from time to time, but I know this is normal. I love my new home as the cats do. The town is nice, and I am ready for school. The horses are well, even though they are not with me, and I miss them. Fort Fun is home, and time will tell where I end up. I will try to savor each day. I hope you will too.