Slow Motion Nuclear Disaster

I don't even know how to say it,
or what to say.

My husband died by suicide. He was at home on Kaua'i. I was visiting family on the mainland with the kids.

Thank god we weren't there when he did it.

Thank god we didn't see it. We didn't find him.

I called the police when I hadn't heard from him for 24 hours. He had seemed stressed, but okay. He sent me cute pictures of our cat, peeking out of a cloth grocery bag.

The police called me back at 1:30 am. I spent the night calling family and throwing up.

Two days later we were on the airplane, with my sisters, going back to.... what? Clean out the house, retrieve his (young, perfectly healthy, 37 year old) body from the hospital morgue, hold a memorial, say goodbye to the place where we lived for ten years, where my kids were born.

We had to leave our house-- it was on the UH ag station farm-- 150 acres of pasture, fruit trees, and a reservoir-- and we had a weekend to throw it all into a container-- mostly into a dumpster, actually-- and get it out of there.

I hope the whole place burns. I hope the whole place gets nuked from space. I am never, ever going back.

But, but, and yet.

My grandma kicked out her renters. We're living in her basement-- me and my three kids.

Did I mention I'd quit my job to stay home with my new baby? I had.

Also, life insurance doesn't pay out for suicides. Or at least Primerica doesn't.

So I've learned how to use food stamps, doubled at the farmers market, and yes sometimes I'm a welfare queen and I use my EBT card to buy Ben&Jerry's and italian grapefruit soda.

But-- we have a place to live. My grandma is a ray of sunshine. She's so good and kind and pure. The girls learned how to ride bikes-- they can ride to the bus stop. They go to an ordinary elementary school-- so dull and as predictable as the second hand on a clock after the ups and downs of our Hawaiian immersion charter school, with the constant field trips and adventures and heavy parental investment.

It's unbelievably bad.

The layers peel away, and it just gets stranger and stranger, and the story of my life-- of our lives-- is not the thing I thought it was. It's an eldrich horror, obeying no natural laws and defying the reality of our eyes.

But as horrors go, this is a slow motion crash and burn. We've landed at my grandmother's, in the idyllic neighborhood where my dad grew up, with a horse pasture and a neighborhood of feral cheerful kids.

We're okay. We're going to be okay.


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