I have been struggling for the past few weeks.
I will be doing normal tasks like driving to work when all of a sudden, my mind will flashback to the morning that I got the call about Frank.
Instantly taking me back to there. To how it felt when my world crashed around me.
How my heart shattered.
I was supposed to cook dinner that night but had gotten so sick from all the stress from working Valentine’s Day. I told him to go out with friends.
We texted sporadically throughout the night till it got late and I couldn’t stay up any longer. I text him that I was going to bed and he told me goodnight.
Just a normal night. He went out often in the summer when the riding weather was great.
Then I was awoken from a dead sleep by my phone going off and I struggled to see the caller id. Wondering why his mom was calling me so early. It was around 2 am.
“Stephanie! Is frank there with you?” She was so distraught and I told her “No, he went out with some friends and isn’t home yet.”
By this time, I had stumbled out of bed, turned on the lights and was walking downstairs to check the couch.
“Two officers just came to the door and said that Frank has been killed in a motorcycle wreck on 85.”
I was speechless.
I turned on the downstairs light and the couch was empty, I checked the garage and his bike wasn’t there.
“He’s not here…..he went out with friends……he’s not here.”
That’s all I could say….I just kept repeating it.
I sat on the couch and just started sobbing.
She asked me if I wanted her to come get me and I said yes.
I tried calling my boss and it went to voicemail so luckily I had her husbands number so I called and told her what happened, that I wouldn’t be at work. That she was my family here and I didn’t know what to do. She asked if she needed to come over but I told her no, that frank’s mom was coming to get me.
All I could think of next was that I needed to talk to my mom so I called the house line and immediately started crying hysterically when she picked up.
I don’t even remember what I said but I remember her praying over me and I told her I needed to get dressed.
I threw on jeans and a tee shirt. The minutes felt like hours and I couldn’t be in our home so I just sat on our porch outside and looked at the stars and listened to the bugs.
It was so quiet and I was so broken.
Susan and I just sat in chairs, in the living room. Not speaking. Just both lost in our own thoughts. I remember hearing the news from the bedroom where roger was laying in bed and it was talking about the accident. As it got closer to 5am it talked about it so often that I asked if he could change the channel. I didn’t want to hear it.
Susan got periodic calls about making sure we had let all the family know before the news station was given the green light to run his name on the story.
I started texting our close friend Neal, that I needed to talk to him. I had terrible news and didn’t want to say it over text. He told me he was up so I walked outside and broke the news to him.
I asked him to call frank’s work and tell all those guys and anyone else that he thought should know before they found out from the news.
I don’t remember much else from that early morning. I kept texting my close friends and then I just felt the intense need to be at home. To be in our home.
Susan dropped me off and I just turned on music to block the silence out and curled up into a ball on the couch and just sat there.
Two of his friends came by the house to offer their condolences. Jaime and Chucky. It was very sweet and I wish I knew what we talked about.
Neal came over later and we just sat on the couch and he wrapped his arms around me.
Because the accident happened early Saturday morning, it was like agony waiting to hear when they would release his body to the funeral home.
His mother did not want anything going out over social media before we had funeral services finalized.
We finally got the word that the funeral home had his body and we went there.
His mom, sister, niece and I.
We had them coordinate everything for a veteran funeral service with the army national guard and paid for everything. Luckily I had just gotten my taxes done so I could pay a good portion of it.
One thing I kept stressing to the funeral director was that he needed to use his best judgement if we should have a viewing or a closed casket. I didn’t want my last memories of him to be torn up. We had no idea the extent of his injuries.
My mom got there that night and by the next day, 2 more of my best friends had drove or flew in.
We bought frames, printed photos and poems, cds for his memorial dvd. Folded countless bandanas for his friends to wear in his honor. A request I had made. Neal came and picked up frank’s other bike to ride lead for the group that was riding to the service.
I stopped by my work and talked to my boss about the flowers I needed.
I was basically a zombie. Getting stuff done and being completely numb. I couldn’t eat for two days. Couldn’t even manage dry toast.
I offered to go to the county coroner’s office and pick up his stuff as his next of kin. They returned a few items. Belt, wallet, his riding gloves and his helmet. It was hard keeping it together when I realized how broken the helmet was from the impact.
I just took it all up stairs and put it next to my bed. It stayed in that same spot for the next two years.
I sat and wrote him a long letter that I would tuck into the casket with him.
They also included his plug earrings and at the last minute, I put them in my pocket before we left for the service. I’m glad I did so they could be put back in.
The one thing I remember most of all when I looked at him, was his hands. The nails and fingers were still slightly dirty from working on Friday and going out straight from work.
Beautiful hands that I loved holding.
For my mind to travel back to that phone call again and again has been agony.
Last night it also invaded my dreams.
If you have ever seen the movie, The Butterfly Effect, the basic premise is that through photos and videos, the main character finds he has the ability to go back in time to very specific events.
My mind decided that I should have that ability too and sent me back a few days before his accident. I bought food to make for dinner that night. I loved on him so much, texting, calling, sending him stuff. He came home that night and we had dinner like countless times before. I got up, went to work. Feeling like I had won. Then I got the call from his mom. He was killed on the way to work.
This scenario played out over and over again. I went back in time to different times. Trying desperately to change something and everything I did just made things worse and I lost him in increasingly worse ways.
Finally it just clicked. No matter what I changed, I was going to lose him.
So instead I went back to happy memories and took more time to love him and to say goodbye.
I woke up destroyed this morning but also strangely lighter.
Like my soul and my mind had finally come to terms that it wasn’t my fault and I couldn’t have saved him.
I could just love him.
To continue to love him.
To miss him.
To reach to the skies and call out his name.
Hoping he is at peace.
Hoping I can also make peace with losing him one day.