Within the span of a year, almost to the day, I lost my wife, my Dad, and my dog.On November 21, 2014, my wife of fifteen years had me served with divorce papers at home (unsurprisingly). I had just put the boys down to sleep and I heard a rap at the door. When I peered outside the window, some schlep asked if I was who I am. I didn’t respond. He left the papers wedged in the jamb.
Shortly after being served these papers, which grounded a divorce on “repeated and unprovoked mental cruelty,” I was subsequently served petitions for removal and sole custody of the children. The past year has been filled with my quiet yet persistent nein to these latter two (as well as to the supposed grounds). Things are finalized now, which is why I'm writing about it. Perhaps some of the gory, albeit one-sided and deeply existential, details will come out in the course of writing about it publicly.
On May 9, 2015, I received a call that my Dad’s health had taken a turn for the worse. He had not been sick for very long—a week prior he’d gone into hospital in order to relieve some symptoms and seek diagnosis. During the day on that Saturday, it sounded bad. Heading into the evening and into the middle of the night it started to sound better. I woke up, however, with the clear need to rush to the airport. Right before I was dropped off at O’Hare, I received the call from my younger brother that Dad had died. I then spent the next 6+ hours flying to Tampa, with a layover in Atlanta. Have you ever flown under such duress? It’s like being wrapped in a straightjacket, collared to a wall in a closet-sized dungeon.
Then, finally, on November 27, 2015, I held my eleven-year-old dog Zöe at home as she breathed her last. She, too, had only been sick for a short time (unlike our marriage). From puppy to death’s door in a matter of weeks.
This last death felt fitting. Almost a year to the day of getting served with divorce papers, the pup we found together died.
They make country songs about this sort of stuff, don’t they?