…dying with Francis – and learning to live again…
7/11/2017 7:51:32 PM
On Father’s Day Sunday June 12th, 1983, I had a perfect baby girl. On Father’s Day Sunday June 19th, 2017, I lost my baby girl at 34 years old in a horrible one vehicle accident along north Interstate 65 a few miles outside of Nashville about four a.m. Apparently, she fell asleep while driving, swerved, went over a guardrail, flipped three times, and she was gone from my life forever before the little Toyota truck finally stopped. Her fiancée was asleep with his head in her lap and apparently that is what saved his life and for that I am eternally grateful. But ourselves, the children, the rest of the family and of course her fiancé, along with so many other close friends who have been left behind are so lost. A world without Francis is incomprehensible. ...
When the officer came on Monday morning it was my husband /her father who met him in our driveway. We are always sitting on the back screened porch if we aren’t busy elsewhere. The porch is our living room weather permitting. Its where all the family likes to be. Her father thought well hell, what trouble did she get into this time and what jail is she at?
I cannot even begin to explain the torrent of emotion that ran thru my body. It still has not totally left yet, and I suspect never will, or at least it sure feels that way. The initial first 18 hours after we found out was a genuine ride thru hell in a handbasket. Not knowing at first whether her fiancé was dead or alive, not knowing where to begin to find out the information we needed and what to do about transporting her body and funeral and notifying everyone – when I couldn’t even begin to speak. I was completely terrorized.
Francis was far from gangster but she had been in trouble a few times for shoplifting small items in several stores and she was a Buprenorphine user although it was not prescribed by a doctor - she chose to medicate herself after having been addicted to opiates, hydrocodone mostly. She rarely touched Marijuana because she was afraid of being drug tested. The Buprenorphine, she said, she could get out of her system faster.
So there you go…..
My child was afraid to detox with Marijuana because she couldn’t afford to fail a drug test.
She never received a formal diagnosis because there never seemed to be the right kind of doctors to do so. They threw antidepressants at her many times but it didn’t work for her. She was angry and irrational at times. Very depressed and dysfunctional. Chronic major depression seems to run in the family as I was diagnosed with that and extreme anxiety at 23 years old. I had suffered with it since age 12.
Francis was never a failure. She had gone to high school at a private religious school until 10th grade when she ended up dropping out because of illness with her first pregnancy. She later went to school to be a CNA and always kept her registration active but did not work in the field much because of the emotional distress it caused her – depression.
Francis had fell in love with a young man who lived in our neighborhood in Louisville at age 15. She was barely 16 when she gave birth to her son Andrue who was stillborn. On a very cold November day in 1999 we laid her first-born Son to rest at the foot of his Paternal Grandmother who had died only 2 weeks earlier. Francis never got over this but her and J.S. the young man she loved stayed together and had two more son’s together J.D. and D.R. Twelve years later their relationship broke down and they were separated. They stayed friends and even though J.S. lived in Louisville and we had all relocated to Cave City he kept in touch with his children the best way he could – Facebook mostly and occasionally the boys would go spend a few days or week with their Dad.
When I called J.S. with the horrible news he came after his boys that night. I was not happy with the decision he had made at all, at first. I did not want my grandsons taken away from me. I was the one that they stayed with most of the time even when Francis was alive. And now that she was gone my grandsons should remain with me – or so I thought. But J.S. and the boys and last but not least the Barren County Sheriff explained that they needed to go with their dad.
The timing sucked. Baby T.K. was now losing 2 brothers within a day of losing his Mother. He is only four years old. He wants his Mommy and his brothers.
So now comes T.K.’s father calling on “Facebook messenger “ the very next day wanting to come get HIS son. A son he has not seen nor talked to nor paid support for that I know of since T.K. was 2 months old. A veteran with 9 other children with I don’t know how many mothers. A man who cannot hold a job that I know of and has been in and out of the judicial system. A man who had taken advantage of Francis when she was lost, and ended up blessing her with a biracial son. I say that he blessed her with her son T.K. because that was the only thing good that came out of that short-term relationship. T.K. is a very beautiful and special child and we are blessed to have him.
The difference between J.S. and N.L. who is T.K.’s father is that J.S. knows and loves his boys and there is no doubt in my mind of this. Even though he’s had tough times in his life he never did anything to make his sons life any harder on them than it already was. N.L. wants his child because “T.K. is mine”, period. And of course, he will be able to get a check on him.
Because Francis was paranoid of people trying to take her kids away, namely N.L. and CPS, she would never write up a will or POA for me in case of emergency even though all the kids were with me a lot of the time, – and so here we are. fighting against all odds to get custody of T.K. and keep him with the family that knows him, loves him, and has cared for him since his birth. To try to protect him from being thrown into a family that he knows nothing about or has ever seen. Even though I asked N.L. to come to the funeral where he could meet his son he neglected to show up and in a text, he said he had a flat tire and his kids were fighting with their mother. What could be more important than being at the funeral of your child’s mother? Especially when you are wanting to take that child?
The funeral went smoothly, and many friends and family came to see Francis and say their good-byes. Everyone was congenial with each other and caring. My only regret is that I could not have her in Cave City for her funeral and burial, but because I had no insurance on her and I only owned two plots and they were in Louisville, that is where she ended up. My Daughter Marie, Francis’s Sister, had to put up over $4000 to cover the remainder of the costs. I do not know what we could have done without her help. We will be paying this debt for a while, for sure. A monthly reminder of what we have lost. The Insurance company would not release funds to pay for the funeral and we are still in process of dealing with that. Insurance companies rarely do what they are needed or expected to do. If it wasn’t for Marie, Francis likely would have become property of the State. That in and of itself is a sad thing, but most people are living in such circumstances that they cannot afford the luxury of Life Insurance. By the time they must pay for car insurance and health insurance, combined with all the other necessities of life, there is no room for anything else.
Marie is seriously heartbroken as she is now an only child who has lost her only Sister. I never wanted her to be an only child. I never had any siblings, and I’m here to say that everyone needs brothers and sisters. I married mine when I married my husband who had 7 of them. They have been a godsend to us in our time of sorrow and need.
A few close friends helped me survive the first three weeks. We had quite a few extra people in the house for over a week following her death. It took 7 days just to get the arrangements finalized and completed. Groceries, babysitting and nanny to help keep T.K. occupied, emotional support and more was very much needed while we walked blindly through the fog that was Our Daughter’s death and burial, and I will be forever grateful for their help.
At the same time, we were making arrangements, AFTER having to tell three Grandson’s that their Mother was gone, we were terrified of T.K. being “snatched” away from us, by his Father. We made I don’t know how many trips back and forth to the Courthouse and CPS and a consult with a Lawyer, even though we couldn’t afford to hire one, to try to make sense of what we needed to do to protect him. It is not an easy thing to do.
On July 1, T.K.’s Father did show up at my house. I called the Sheriff to come check things out and he was arrested for a warrant previously incurred. He was still incarcerated at the time of the July 10th hearing and he was not able to attend. The Judge honored our request for temporary custody.
I do not know how many times we will have to appear in Court over this issue. I do not know what the outcome will be. I can only hope and pray for a good outcome for T.K. for he is the one who will suffer the most if the wrong decision is made. We will follow through.
This is just the beginning of a long road to come. We are now 57 and 59 years old with a four-year-old child. But we are not alone because I know that there are many others out there like us. It happens every day. And we are not alone in raising this child. My Daughter, his Aunt, will become a surrogate parent as well. I am sure it will take all of us to accomplish this – but we will prevail.
This change in life shall remain indefinitely. The loss of a Child in such a way is a terror that will never completely heal. There could not be much of anything that would be harder to deal with. The shock, the horror, the emotions, the funeral, the thoughts that you accumulate from the experience that will never totally leave, the unknowing of the future at hand, suddenly being totally responsible for a young child’s care, the shear sense of a loss that will never end…
this, is a true story…the saddest one I ever wrote.
(The names were changed for privacy reasons)
My Dearest Baby Sarah Francis,
(Written the day after her death 6-20-17)
How did this even happen? It is a horrible nightmare that I will never wake up from.
You were born on Fathers Day and died on Fathers Day, how does that even happen?
When the Officer came to the house last Monday morning, your Dad was the one who got the news first.
I’ve never seen him so distraught.
There isn't any news in the World that could be more horrible than that was.
I still think that you are going to come up the drive and skid into the rock like you always did.
But you won't.
I love you so much words cannot explain this loss.
J.S. came and took J.D. and D.R. away...
N.L. is coming to take T.K. away...
I have lost 4 children at once.
Baby girl, it is not your fault!
You are and will forever be an Angel to the Lord.
It is the evil in this World that took you down.
It was not your fault!
The cards were stacked against you (and all of us) from the day we were born.
When you needed medical help - it was not there.
When you needed support - it was not there because even though we love you with all of our heart and soul,
it was just not enough to get you through the distress in your life.
I am so very sorry.
Sorry for not being able to help you more,
Sorry that you were born into a World that is so self-centered and evil,
Sorry that I could not save you,
Sorry that I could not save your Children, or my Grandchildren from the evil in this World.
I would do anything for you - because you are my heart and soul, you are my Baby Girl.
Marie is so heartbroken, I don't know what to do.
Your Dad is so heartbroken, and so am I and SO many other people who have lost you.
You will always be in our life, every day, from now till the end of our lives, and beyond.
Every day when I wake up I will see your beautiful face,
Every night when I lay down I will see your beautiful Soul,
I miss you so much,
I miss you yelling at me,
I miss you needing me,
I miss everything about You,
I want You back,
We are all so lost without You,
Rosie is now an only Child, and I know from experience that is not a good thing.
Every child needs a brother or sister,
and now Rosie's is gone forever.
Oh My God what can I do?
With all of my heart and soul I love you,
T.K. just learned to ride a bike - a big bike - without training wheels - today!
David fixed the bike for him and brought it down the other day,
and today he is riding it on his own!
It’s like he grew up overnight,
I know D.R. wanted to be here with him, and that breaks my Heart,
I'm doing everything that I can to keep these babies together, but it isn't going my way at all.
I love you Darling - now and forever,
Please be at Peace,
Know that we love you,
Know that you are not in any way at fault in any of this,
Know that you are a good Mother,
Know that you have Beautiful Children,
Know that We know that You did your best...
Know that I will do my best for your Babies,
Know that I will do my best for Robert, as he is so hurt and lost without you, he will remain in Our Family.
Just KNOW that EVERYONE LOVES YOU AND MISSES YOU AND OUR LIVES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN...