Poetry, playlists, and 100 days

In these hours after work and before sleep, I look for signs and signals.  Signs that Owen left for us, or continues to send; and signals that I can move forward, like a red light turned to green. 

I remember that Saturday, June 2, when the coroner’s deputy called me on my home phone, and asked, “Is this Linda?”  I answered yes, and he introduced himself as Deputy Blankety Blank.  He asked, “Are you home?”  Okay, right there, I knew we had more problems.  He just called me on my home phone. 

I knew why he was calling.  He asked to come “have a chat” with me.  Dear Deputy, a chat is something you have with a friend on your porch.  Telling a mother her son is dead, is most definitely NOT A CHAT.

Between the police department, the sheriff’s department, the coroner’s department, and the mortuary, we have not had one satisfactory response to our question:  What happened to Owen?  Our tax dollars working their magic, again.  Oh, and our own personal dollars (to the mortuary).

The fire department, on the other hand, did everything we asked, and more.  Unfortunately, they were on the periphery.  Had they been leading, perhaps the outcome would have been different.  (Thank you, “D” Street station.)  That’s not their job, though.  Bummer for us.  How many other families in our small town feel this way after they lose a son or daughter, or another loved one, and can’t get more than a lukewarm response?  See: http://cityofpetaluma.net/firedept/index.html

Back to the signs and signals…Owen left his poetry, his verbal meanderings through days and nights – both murky and clear; and his playlists of music that in one way or another (or dozens of ways) were important to him.  Thanks, buddy.  I always depended on you to lead me through your cryptic maze of thoughts and feelings.  You were a thoughtful tour guide.

This is what I’ve depended on these last 100 days – Owen’s writing and his music.  I share what I can with Nat, Owen’s brother, as he is as crazed by the questions as the rest of us.  But, I feel I have to protect everyone from this eternal waiting.  Sometimes, that means, not talking about everything, all the time.

We continue waiting for someone to wake up, and realize they can’t live with the truth from which they run.  If you know, how can you run?  Yet, you do.  Broken kids.  Broken dreams. 

I read, I listen, I wait.  And, I make phone calls.  I ask questions none of the authorities want to answer.  I ask questions some of them can answer, but won’t.  I ask questions they should have asked at the very beginning of Owen’s disappearance, but didn’t.  Too late now, and I am possessed by letting them know I know.  They are not my friends.  They are succubi.  The Boston Tea Party had something goin’ on, ya know?  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party 

Each day I go to the mailbox in anticipation of receiving the final coroner’s report.  Each day, I am disappointed.  A total of one contracted pathologist performs about 600 autopsies each year in our county.  An autopsy can take anywhere from 4 – 8 hours, sometimes more.  (You do the math.)  Then, once the lab results are in, the pathologist has to sit down and write the final report.  What’s a few more weeks to get that report out to Owen’s mom?  Why should her family be any different?

Owen loved the romance of mysteries.  I find nothing romantic about our mystery, nothing heroic or marvelous.  Just this eternal waiting.   We acknowledge, however, the joy Owen might get out of the fumbling antics of those who are charged with finding the answers.  He would, most certainly, laugh that laugh that comes from outrage and disbelief…then, most likely, he would play something by Radiohead, and write a poem. 



~ by Linda on September 6, 2007.

3 Responses to “Poetry, playlists, and 100 days”

  1. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I am having the worst insomnia. At these times in the last few months I’m bound to think (dwell?) on our Owen, and on mysteries (his, life’s, my own) and also, not unrelated, on all the things I want to do… because I can, because I am here. It’s a lonely time, so I am glad of the company of your words. xxoo

  2. Yes, sometimes the weight of the wait is unbearable. Especially when all the other factors are added to the scale. Sometimes the rage, the sorrow, nor even the over extended reach for anything to counterbalance that weight will alleviate that wait.

  3. Hey Laura,
    Yep, insomnia will certainly alter the way we view the world, and make simple things difficult. I’m glad you’re reading the blog, it has been good therapy for me so far, although it has not alleviated my sleeplessness. Someday…

    Lea, the weight of the wait leaves much to be desired.

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