Family Magazine

Jellybean and Spitfire

By Accidentalxpert @AccidentalXpert

Her cause of death was "natural causes". 

There was a time I wanted to be just like her. She was a fantastic Mother. Her babies can attest to that. She was stern, solid, loyal, God fearing and the most mighty human I'd ever known. Her presence was known. And it was up to you whether or not she was your friend or your enemy. I assure you, you did not want the second option for yourself.

Many asked me why I stood by her toward the end and my answer was always the same. Because I knew her when she was good. And I always had hope that one day I'd get to be with my friend again.

We met in high school Spanish class. She loved to tell the story. She pissed me off one morning in class and we were tied at the hip for 25 years after that.

She was such a Daddy's girl. Spoiled rotten. He was a fine man with one big downfall.........he never let her stand accountable for her mistakes. He was always there to help clean her messes. When he died in 2008, part of her went with him. I know it's cliche to say that about a death. But its true. She was never the same. 

Trying to list the things we'd been through together is next to impossible but this post wouldn't be complete if I didn't attempt to list the most important.

First an for most the birth of ten children. We took great pride in telling people she had four girls before a boy and I had four boys before a girl. The looks on peoples faces when we were all together with all our babies........priceless  Marriage. Divorce. More marriage and more divorce. Deaths of parents, grandparents, aunts and friends. Vacations, cancer scares, miscarriages, crazy ex boyfriends. Bankruptcy, church, separation. Those who knew us know that we were a story book friendship most only dream about. After her fourth pregnancy her gestational diabetes that she developed with all her pregnancies didn't go away. That began a new battle for her daily. One she took lightly. We had many disagreements on how she should be taking care of herself better.

In 2012 she had her first back surgery. That was the beginning of the end.

I know her pain was real in the beginning. She had been through a surgery that caged her spine and put more metal in her back then I even realized was possible for a person to have. Dr.'s were very generous with pain medications. And when she ran out she had acquaintances that were equally as generous to share theirs with her. 

With a second failing marriage and bills stacking on top of each other I watched her slowly become a shell of a person. Evictions. Social Services. Her life was raveling apart at the seams. 

When a persons sugar rises dangerously high they become disoriented. During those times of extreme disorientation she would take and retake pain medications. Then take and retake them again. at the end of 2018 she earned herself a Narcan injection after an accidental overdose with her children in the home. After that she began to loose her most prized possessions. Her children.

A diabetic addict was recipe for disaster from the very beginning. She lost all ambition to clean, work, take care of her childrens needs and repair any sort of relationship she had with anyone. It wasn't long before she was completely alone and renting a house beside me. I thought with her beside me I could take care of her. Fix her. Repair her.

In 2019 I was granted custody of her children. Not many knew that. She wanted to keep it a secrete. She was embarrassed. That once mighty mother was at the hands of social services. 

After a while it became clear that me having custody was doing no one any favors. She was able to see them as often as she wanted and wasn't doing the work required to get them back herself. Her never getting them back was not our end game. Drastic changes were made and her sweet babies entered into Foster system. But it was that decision that was her turning point.

In July of 2020 she began to get clean. I had my friend back. Four months we rode around with the top down, took the kids swimming, gossiped till daylight, cooked. She made her peace with God and went to church again every Sunday. My prayers had been answered. She was scheduled to regain custody of her babies November 5th.

On the morning of October 5th she text me "I Love You".

Some time later she texted again and told me she wasn't feeling well and asked my opinion. "Should I go get checked out?" she asked.

"Absolutely, if it would ease your mind". I told her. 

She told me she was gonna lay down and take a nap and leaving the door unlocked in case I tried to reach her and couldn't. That was kinda our thing when she was feeling bad. 

She and I both suffered with crazy anxiety. And I thought she was just lonesome and worried after having her babies the previous week then having to let them go back. 

She texted back, "If I go the ER and they find something wrong they'll keep me and I won't be able to pick up the kids tomorrow to spend another week here."

In her last moments she was worried about seeing her babies.

I was sitting on the porch when I seen her bounce to her van and drive toward the store. I asked her where she was going. She text back and told me she went to grab something to drink. That was 2:20 PM. Before long she pulled back in and I seen her walk into the house. I wasn't worried. She felt like leaving for a little bit so she must be fine I convinced myself.

I texted her a couple times later in the evening with no reply. I figured she was napping. She had a crazy sleep pattern. 

On October 6th I woke up at 6:30 and seen my messages from the evening before had never been opened. I called her. And then again I called her. And text her. And then I got dressed and walked over. Her door was unlocked. Just like she told me it would be.

When I opened the door I immediately saw her. She was laying on her side facing away from me. Hair up in her signature messy bun, maroon Metcalfe County tee shirt. In that instant I thought her sugar had gotten too high like so many times before and quick call to 911 and a insulin drip would fix her. But once I got closer to her I knew. I knelt beside her.  She had little sprays of hair covering her face. I touched her and said her name. She was cold. She looked like she had gotten up to use the bathroom from a nap and never made it back to bed. She was laying peacefully. She hadn't fell. It looked like she just closed her eyes and laid down. 

It felt like an eternity for the ambulance to arrive. Even when I seen the flat line on their machine where her heat rate should have been it didn't sink in. 

When the coroner arrived and brought her out in a black bag and put her into the back of his vehicle it hit me. 

In that black bag was 25 years of my life. My secretes. My hopes. My dreams. Our plans of growing old with grand babies. All zipped away and leaving.

I think back a lot to 2012.

 What if they only gave her one bottle of pain medication and maybe one refill.

What if the Dr.s just simply told her "NO. No More meds".

What if those women hadn't sold her more.

What if I took her to the ER the day before when she told me she felt bad?

The fact is........she was a diabetic addict. The Dr.'s and pain specialist created an addict. Her heart was broken from years of abuse, stress and mental and physical abuse. She was tired. She had been ready for a long time but hated to leave her babies. Any effort she made to stay here with us longer was for them.

Our friendship lasted longer then most marriages these days. And I will forever carry that hateful, sassy, brilliant, loyal woman with me.

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