Update on my wife's passing away August 4, 2009 2:06 PM   Subscribe

An update here on this AskMe post about my wife's death.

Thank you, everyone, for the emails, letters, visits, and support you've given me over the past month and a half since my wife passed away. Houstonian and Pomegranate kept me fed for at least three weeks.

I may not ever know what really killed her (am trying to get copies of the autopsy and toxicology reports), but in a strange way I'm glad it wasn't anything self-inflicted or intentional. That had been bouncing around the back of my mind for a while.

People say "shit happens", and maybe sometimes it happens for a reason. One of the results of this sad circumstance is that I've been put back in touch with a few old friends that I'd not talked to in quite a while.
posted by mrbill to MetaFilter-Related at 2:06 PM (235 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you get all the closure you deserve.

I'm glad you're reconnecting with old friends.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:17 PM on August 4, 2009


I am sorry for your loss. Take heart in your friends.
posted by Kattullus at 2:19 PM on August 4, 2009


All things considered, you appear to be coping very well. Good on you. Try to keep looking through the windshield, not in the rear-view mirror.
posted by netbros at 2:24 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man. I know words are really cheap but it will get better with time. All the best to you.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm glad you're finding some comfort. So, so so sorry for your loss.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:01 PM on August 4, 2009


Houstonian and Pomegranate kept me fed for at least three weeks.

Is there a MeFi Hall of Fame?

I have two nominations.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:23 PM on August 4, 2009 [26 favorites]


Remember how lucky you were to find her, treasure the memories. Make her stay alive, with you and her friends.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:38 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm very sorry for your loss :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:44 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That toxicology report is odd. I'm mentioning this here so people know that it's worth looking at your (non-trivial) follow-up before commenting.
posted by amtho at 3:46 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh, I'm so sorry to read this. That toxicology report would leave me baffled as well. Is it possible she somehow inhaled some water, coughed, etc, repositioned herself, etc, but then had too much water in her lungs? I don't understand.

But I am really glad to hear you've re-connected with some old friends; it helps to have a small silver lining during such a hard time.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:04 PM on August 4, 2009


I missed the original note, but I am really sorry to hear of your loss, mrbill.

Something that might help you and others understand the toxicology report -- there is a medical condition known as dry drowning that can occur in adults as well as children and can happen minutes (or as the article says, even hours) after a small amount of water has been inhaled into the lungs. This could have happened in your wife's case, especially if she rinsed her hair in the tub by sliding down the back of the tub, submerging her head.

If that is the case, it was a freak accident of the worst kind. You don't know me, but you will be in my thoughts.
posted by lleachie at 4:12 PM on August 4, 2009


bizarre and heartbreaking. you have my most sincere condolences.
posted by msconduct at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2009


there is a medical condition known as dry drowning

People have been telling me this all day.

From that page: look out for any signs of extreme tiredness, difficulty breathing, shifting moods, complaints of chest pains, persistent cough, vomiting, sweaty skin or a change in the color of skin.

Earlier in the day (5-6 hours earlier) she'd had chest pains, vomiting, and sweaty skin - but she said that it was due to pain from a pinched nerve in her elbow. The pain was so bad she'd gone to the ER, but they checked her out (EKG, blood tests, blood oxygen, etc) and said she was fine, sent her home with NSAID painkillers and told her to see an orthopedist. Two hours after we got home, I found her in the bathtub.

If she swallowed some water in the shower that afternoon and then died six hours later because of it, that's just fucked up.
posted by mrbill at 4:28 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh man, I'm so sorry for your trouble.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2009


I am so sorry for your loss.
posted by kathrineg at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I am so very, very sorry. Words fail, other than to say my heart goes out to you.
posted by scody at 4:50 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm so so sorry that you are dealing with this. My heart goes out to you. Thank goodness for your friends keeping you fed--Mefites are the best.
posted by misha at 4:51 PM on August 4, 2009


scody, you are now freaking me out.
posted by misha at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2009


my deepest condolences, mrbill.
posted by terrapin at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2009


My sympathies. Take care mrbill, I hope you find comfort.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:05 PM on August 4, 2009


Please don't forget to take care of yourself. You have my sincere condolence.
posted by milarepa at 5:18 PM on August 4, 2009


My sincere condolences. I don't know if you want to follow up on the cause of death - after all, nothing will bring her back. However, if this was a case of dry drowning, why would her blood oxygen come back as normal? To me it is significant that she felt bad enough to go to the hospital just hours before she died. I feel this is the key factor, rather than the bathtub. I am not a doctor. If you want to pursue this further, I think you have excellent grounds for doing so. Again, my heart goes out to you, and I wish you the best.
posted by VikingSword at 5:24 PM on August 4, 2009


Stay strong, man.
posted by The Straightener at 5:32 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I am so sorry you are having to go through this but glad you are surrounded by good people. Take care.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:39 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

Sometimes knowing what happened helps -- especially if, as you mentioned, it helps rule something out like self-harm. But sometimes it raises questions that just make a devastating tragedy more painful and confusing. My friends received a bewildering autopsy report on their infant son, and it took asking some tough questions and pushing the matter further to help them get their heads around what had happened and find some solace through understanding what he had gone through. Only you can decide if trying to get more information is what you need, but if it will help you have every right to do so.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2009


My most sincere condolences to you, mrbill. And my highest accolades to Houstonian and Pomegranate.
posted by Lynsey at 6:14 PM on August 4, 2009


So terribly sorry to read this. Wishing you much comfort in the days ahead.
posted by arachnid at 6:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh please I brought you some bagels and told you to get a maid. (You HAVE gotten a maid, haven't you?)

But really. You have been as brave as anyone could be in the circumstances, and we're pulling for you.
posted by pomegranate at 6:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This has got to be tough. All I can really say is I'm sorry. Let me know if there's anything you need in/from Austin.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:30 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I never saw that other thread, this is all just so sad. My condolences to you, I am so sorry for your most terrible loss.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:31 PM on August 4, 2009


Lots of love.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:32 PM on August 4, 2009


You are in my thoughts tonight my friend.
posted by tkchrist at 6:44 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I wish you love, strength, and comfort in the days ahead.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:55 PM on August 4, 2009


I am so, so sorry to read about your horrible loss, mrbill. Words fail.
posted by tristeza at 6:56 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh please I brought you some bagels and told you to get a maid. (You HAVE gotten a maid, haven't you?)

You brought me bagels THREE TIMES. As for the maid, I have someone lined up once I get Amy's ER/hospital/ambulance bills paid.
posted by mrbill at 7:24 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I feel very deeply for you having lost your girl. My condolences to you and I wish I had seen your AskMe.

If you need to, please MeMail me! I've had a very similar experience, and man, it DOES get better. I'm very willing to share minute details and means of recovery with you if you're interested.
posted by snsranch at 7:28 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I read your update and this thread a few hours ago and it's been sticking with me ever since. I recall reading your post when Amy died, and was just awestruck. But now reading what the coroner has ruled, it just makes no sense - especially now just having read that she was at the ER earlier that day.

I truly hope that you can get the toxicology/coroner's reports and most especially the ER labs (assuming they exist) and compare notes. The only thing that I was able to come up with was the possibility that they ruled drowning based on aspiration.

I am so truly sorry. Your strength is inspiring, and I loved what you had to say on Amy's thoughts about pie. Be well, and I hope you find inner calm.

I wish you were nearer. I would most definitely come hang with you and bring you food. Clean your house, maybe not so much. But food and entertainment for the cats, yes. :)

Hugs and Godspeed to you.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:46 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad to know you have good people around you. You are in my thoughts.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:56 PM on August 4, 2009


My sincere condolences to you. I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by Sailormom at 7:59 PM on August 4, 2009


It looks like I can get a copy of the autopsy report by either sending them a written request or going down there in person:

There is a $0.10 per page fee for an autopsy report. Please do not send payment until you are notified that the report has been completed. Depending on the circumstances of the case and the laboratory tests that are required, the length of time necessary to complete each case will vary.

Individuals may obtain a copy of a completed autopsy report from the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office (HCME) during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except for Harris County holidays.


So I'll do that sometime in the next few days. Either take off work and go down there or send them a written request.
posted by mrbill at 8:02 PM on August 4, 2009


As for the maid, I have someone lined up once I get Amy's ER/hospital/ambulance bills paid.

How much do you owe on that? I have some of the profits from the tshirt sales sitting in paypal and could easily slide some over to help offset your costs.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:05 PM on August 4, 2009 [140 favorites]


-hug-
posted by edgeways at 8:20 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrbill, my sincere condolences. I've forwarded your post to some other ex-BRW folks. I'm sorry to hear of your loss and I hope you can find some peace and comfort.
posted by popechunk at 8:23 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much do you owe on that?

$575 for the ER visit, $110 for the ambulance.

Thank you for the offer, but please use MeFi money for MeFi or other people who need it more than me. I make enough money; it will just take me 2-3 months on top of other bills and unexpected expenses she left me with. It's all about scheduling....
posted by mrbill at 8:24 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss.

And I have to agree, if your wife went to the ER before bathing, something's does't make sense with the autopsy report.
posted by orthogonality at 8:26 PM on August 4, 2009


if your wife went to the ER before bathing

She was in the tub to take a hot bath to soak her back, which was sore as a side effect of the nerve pain in her arm. The last thing she told me was "I'm going to soak in the tub for a bit, then take a nap." I'm not sure if she napped and got back up to soak again, or if she never made it to bed.

For that hour and a half or so I was in the next room (about 15 feet away, actually) with headphones on, catching up with stuff at the office that I'd missed when I had to leave early and she had to go to the ER. When I got up to go to bed, the bathroom light was on; I opened the door and found her.
posted by mrbill at 8:30 PM on August 4, 2009


Bill, I wonder if you there isn't a way that you can't try and get those hospital bills written off if you can somehow prove that there was a medical issue that was overlooked and they released her anyway.

Hell, I would just call the hospital and ask if they would reduce the cost of the bills for the hell of it. What's the worst they can do, say no?




How much do you owe on that? I have some of the profits from the tshirt sales sitting in paypal and could easily slide some over to help offset your costs.


And Matt, can I just say that 's one of the kindest things I've read in a while. This is seriously one of the reasons I love Meta the most. We gather to take care of our own when it is most needed.
posted by dancinglamb at 8:42 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I wonder if you there isn't a way that you can't try and get those hospital bills written off

Would it make any sense if I said that I'd rather just pay them when I can and be done with it? Getting lawyers involved or anything like that isn't going to bring her back; it would just take time, heartache, and cost even more money.
posted by mrbill at 8:51 PM on August 4, 2009


Wow, I've never even heard of dry drowning. My utmost sympathies are with you mrbill, and I hope the autopsy helps provide a bit more closure.
posted by graventy at 9:00 PM on August 4, 2009


Wow, mrbill. This is nuts. I'm so, so sorry for your loss; my sincere condolences. Best of luck.

And huzzah to MeFites <3
posted by Phire at 9:02 PM on August 4, 2009


Would it make any sense if I said that I'd rather just pay them when I can and be done with it? Getting lawyers involved or anything like that isn't going to bring her back; it would just take time, heartache, and cost even more money.

Yes, I understand. I was thinking just a call to their billing dept - not going full-tilt litigation. Almost $700 is almost $700, kwim?

I just feel so *bad* for you. :(
posted by dancinglamb at 9:02 PM on August 4, 2009


WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT.

I just got email from PayPal.

I don't know what to say right now other than "thank you" and "holy shit".

What, if anything, can I do in return?
posted by mrbill at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2009 [83 favorites]


MrBill, my deepest condolences to you for your loss.

To my fellow MeFites, I am awestruck by the support demonstrated herein. Metafilter is truly the best of the web.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2009


WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT.

I just got email from PayPal.


Mathowie, I don't think you're technically eligible for the MeFi Hall of Fame, seeing as how the building is named after you and stuff. Maybe the Jessamyn West Wing could have a special exhibit?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's no goddamn sense to the random horrors life throws at us sometimes. Like madamejjj, I hadn't seen the original thread, but I will say here that I'm feeling for you, too, mrbill. Stay strong, man.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:23 PM on August 4, 2009


WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT.

I just got email from PayPal.


I love Metafilter. Like, thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much.
posted by Phire at 9:24 PM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


mrbill, the last thing you needed was the ER/ambulance bill hanging over you for the next few months. Again, I'm so sorry this happened and I'm glad I could be of some help.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:28 PM on August 4, 2009 [52 favorites]


Oh man. mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by ooga_booga at 9:40 PM on August 4, 2009


Matt, thank you (and MeFi) SO much.
I don't know what to say other than "thank you".

Just so someone doesn't think I'm pulling a HURF DURF GIMME MONEY:
ER and Ambulance Bill Payment Confirmations
posted by mrbill at 9:46 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm happily not surprised by the MeFite support.
Also, I'm extra fucking glad I bought that shirt now. Nice going, Matt.
posted by lilywing13 at 9:48 PM on August 4, 2009


Thank you, Matt.
posted by popechunk at 9:51 PM on August 4, 2009


Again, this place is just amazing. Bill, rest easy (if that is at all possible). I realise that none of this will bring Amy back, but just know that we're here for you.

Matt, you're golden.
posted by dancinglamb at 9:53 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, thanks Matt.
posted by dancinglamb at 9:54 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill writes "WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT."

OK, that has to be the nicest WTFM ever.
posted by Mitheral at 9:55 PM on August 4, 2009 [24 favorites]


mrbill, I so sorry to hear of your tragic loss. My deepest sympathies to you, it will take time for you to heal, please be gentle with yourself.

matthowie, you make me proud to be a mefite & to have bought some t-shirts, thank you so much.
posted by goshling at 9:56 PM on August 4, 2009


Lord. I'm so sorry, mrbill. My deepest condolences.
posted by rtha at 9:57 PM on August 4, 2009


And yes, thanks, Matt. That is truly a kind thing.
posted by rtha at 9:59 PM on August 4, 2009


mrbill, I am so sorry for your loss.

(this thread just made me join metafilter. mr. howie, you are good people.)
posted by cannibalrobot at 9:59 PM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss.

mathowie, you, sir, are awesome. Thank you for doing that.
posted by mogget at 10:03 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mr. Haughey, you just made me cry. Seriously.

mrbill, so very sorry for your loss. One foot in front of the other; and one day you can look back and see how far you've come. All the best.
posted by jokeefe at 10:05 PM on August 4, 2009


You're not the only one, jokeefe. Matt, you are amazing. This thread is amazing. And mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss, and for the strangeness surrounding the autopsy and toxicology reports. I'm glad that people have been there for you, though.
posted by Caduceus at 10:18 PM on August 4, 2009


I too, am so sorry for your loss mrbill.

Add me to the list, Mr. Haughey, of those who thank you for your truly kind act.
posted by faineant at 10:27 PM on August 4, 2009


That was really really nice of you Matt. Thank you for helping Bill out. *hugs all around*
posted by IndigoRain at 10:28 PM on August 4, 2009


Aw, Matt, what a swell, eh folks?

mrbill, darling thing, hold tight. I don't have wisdom, just will for ya. I know you'll be okay.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:49 PM on August 4, 2009


Mr. Haughey, you just made me cry. Seriously.

Me, too. Your heart is very much in the right place, kind sir. You make me proud to be a MeFite.

mrbill, my thoughts are with you.
posted by velvet winter at 10:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Matt, through teary eyes, I commend you. Mr.Bill, my sympathies and best wishes for you.
posted by scottymac at 11:11 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrbill, this is very sad news. I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:12 PM on August 4, 2009


This thread is exceptional. If you are not in awe of Bill and Matt, then you have been skimming and you should scroll back up and read.

Bill, for your strength, and Matt, for your kindheartedness, I am humbled and inspired by both of you.
posted by painquale at 11:41 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah. That's why I still hang around here. Here's to you all.
posted by Skot at 11:50 PM on August 4, 2009


My sincerest condolences to you mrbill. I missed your AskMe before and read it just now; my thoughts are with you from faraway Japan. I bought a MeFi shirt ("Everyone needs a hug" carries more meaning now!) and I'm glad to have contributed; way to go, Matt! This is why I love MetaFilter.
posted by misozaki at 11:59 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


My deepest sympathies, mrbill.

May you gain strength in the knowledge that you are thought of, and loved.
posted by Lush at 12:15 AM on August 5, 2009


I am so, so sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing to have to go through. I hope you find the answers you need... and the comfort you deserve.
posted by OolooKitty at 12:22 AM on August 5, 2009


I am so sorry for your loss mrbill.
posted by gomichild at 12:35 AM on August 5, 2009


Please take good care of yourself, mrbill.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:43 AM on August 5, 2009


You're in my thoughts, mrbill.

I'm glad you're getting some answers about what happened to your beloved. What I know about "dry drowning" is that it's a result of continued laryngeal spasm the (larynx spasms and closes off the airway when water begins to be inhaled). There's some... not comfort.. but closure (when we cry out "why?) to knowing what happened.

Mathowie's gesture was pure grace.
posted by reflecked at 12:53 AM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Condolences, mrbill.
posted by juv3nal at 12:54 AM on August 5, 2009


You've been in my thoughts a lot lately, mrbill and I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by ODiV at 12:54 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I don't know you, but I'm deeply sorry for your loss.

and wow, matt howie's gesture makes me really glad to have found mefi.
posted by chicainthecity at 1:13 AM on August 5, 2009


Awesome job, Matt.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:26 AM on August 5, 2009


God, mrbill, so sorry for your loss.
posted by klangklangston at 1:28 AM on August 5, 2009


Commiserations mrbill and good onya matt.
posted by tellurian at 1:55 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Mathowie, I too am totally teared up here.

So how do we make this link an auto-redirect for anyone who says this is "just a website?"

Best of the web, truly.
posted by nevercalm at 3:37 AM on August 5, 2009


Oh yay!!! Thank you Matt and Mefi people! Mr. Bill it's time to call the cleaning lady, and I'll be by Sunday. Maybe I'll bring a pie.
posted by pomegranate at 4:18 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mr Bill, I'm so sorry about your loss, I hadn't read that post. My condolences.

Matt, so very proud to be a part of a community with such a compassionate and generous captain at the helm.

Group hug for all, possums.
posted by taff at 4:51 AM on August 5, 2009


Wow.


(That was a completely good wow, btw.)
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:58 AM on August 5, 2009


Holy cow, I was happy to buy a MeFi t-shirt in the first place, but man, I can't think of a better way to distribute the profits FOR AWESOME. Everybody needs a hug, indeed.

I'll be glad to use this as an example of why I spend so much time "MetaFiltering" and meeting up with people "from the internet."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got something in my eye...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:59 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Adding to the "I'm so sorry" chorus here mrbill. I have never been where you are, but I lost my lifelong best friend last year, and my father this year, so I have some idea. It does get better, you don't "get over it", but you do figure out how to cope, and eventually it stops being the only thing you can think about, and becomes something that has happened, instead of something that is happening. You seem to be coping remarkably well, I just hope that you will look after yourself, be gentle with yourself, and remember to reach out to people when you need to. Someone here in a grieving thread said once that there is no right way to grieve, we all need to let ourselves feel the way we feel, and it takes as long as it takes. Just remember that you are allowed to take time off from time to time, go see a movie or talk about something else with a friend.

And Matt, you rock.
posted by biscotti at 5:07 AM on August 5, 2009


Top tip: don't read this thread at work while listening to Radiohead's new song. You will become publicly emotional.

mrbill, I'm deeply sorry for your loss, and you're in my thoughts; Matt, you're awesome, and I totally just bought a t-shirt because of it.
posted by flashboy at 5:45 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, the last thing you needed was the ER/ambulance bill hanging over you for the next few months. Again, I'm so sorry this happened and I'm glad I could be of some help.

Before, when I said "printed with pride," they were just words.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


mrbill, I can only add a "ditto" to what others have said. I'm so sorry and send heartfelt condolences.

matt: I <3 mefi.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:25 AM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry, mrbill. I'll be thinking about you.

Matt, what a wonderful thing to do. I really love this place.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:25 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you'll be able to find the answers you need. Please don't forget to take care of yourself.

Matt, pomegranate, and houstonian: you guys are saints. Thank you.
posted by lilac girl at 6:35 AM on August 5, 2009


You know, I don't care anymore that my mefi t-shirt doesn't fit if my purchasing it went toward helping out mrbill. Hooray! Thanks, Matt, for doing that. And Bill, you just keep hanging in there. We mefites are here for you.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:36 AM on August 5, 2009


First MrBill I am deeply sorry for your loss. What you have to be going through I cannot begin to imagine. I'm sure you already have enough support but if you need anything message me.

Secondly, I love how metafilter has those moments that can restore faith in humanity. I thank you all for that.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2009


Mrbill, sorry for your terrible loss, and be kind to yourself most of all.

I also inexplicably just developed a burning need for a second t-shirt -- and although sizes are somewhat limited, I figure if it doesn't fit me perfectly, it'll look great on the dog.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:47 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrbill, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I witnessed something amazing today in this thread. Thank you, MeFi.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 6:48 AM on August 5, 2009


I don't know what to say. I'm just still amazed, blown away, "gobsmacked" by the supportive messages and Matt's gesture. Right now I keep thinking "but.. but.. I've not really done anything major for MeFi, why is it doing this for me?"

Thank you.
posted by mrbill at 6:50 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I looked at your lovely photos of Amy, thank you for sharing them with us.

Mefi + Matt = awesome
posted by jeanmari at 6:51 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you.

Matt, thank you.
posted by min at 7:01 AM on August 5, 2009


but.. I've not really done anything major for MeFi, why is it doing this for me?"

Well, in part, because Amy's death probably hit really hit close to home for a lot of us. We realise just how easily it could be any one of us in your shoes. You ARE us. And because of that, we take care of each other.

There, but for the Grace of God, go I...

Be well, my friend.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:15 AM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Its what humanity is about, not give and take, but give and take something away from what you gave.
posted by wheelieman at 7:25 AM on August 5, 2009


We dont care if you "gave" anything to us, you gave us perspective on life and how it is so sacred, so for that we give you our condolences and some help.
posted by wheelieman at 7:28 AM on August 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


mrbill, I am so sorry for your loss. Next time I'm in Houston (home) I will contact you via memail to see what I can do.
posted by vincele at 7:37 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, i am sending you love.

well done, matt :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 8:07 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


What, if anything, can I do in return?

Speaking as someone else from Team MeFi, nothing at all. There will certainly be a time in your life in the future where you can do something nice for someone else and I hate to be all "pay it forward" but really just take the best care of yourself that you know how. I made a donation to my local animal shelter in Amy's memory.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on August 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


Really, really sorry for your loss, mrbill...

mathowie: putting the "Hope" in "Please Hope Me" t-shirts since 1999
posted by brundlefly at 8:13 AM on August 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


So sorry for your loss, mrbill! Matt, thank you for making me proud (yet again) to be a MeFite!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:21 AM on August 5, 2009


My thoughts are still with you, mrbill, and mathowie, that was, as someone said above, an act of pure grace. This thread makes me proud to be part of the site.
posted by languagehat at 8:23 AM on August 5, 2009


"but.. but.. I've not really done anything major for MeFi, why is it doing this for me?"

mrbill - you just managed to use the blink tag with what I can only describe as a quiet and dignified grace.

No one has ever done that in the history of the internet. For that alone you should have your every single bill, tab and invoice paid, in full, in perpetuity by the readers of all the websites in the world.

My thoughts are with you, you tiny genius of an internet friend/stranger, you.
posted by Jofus at 8:29 AM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


ER and Ambulance Bill Payment Confirmations

I clicked on the link. Read the bills and confirmation. I immediately teared up. Thanks Matt. Thanks MeFi. My condolences to you, mrbill. Hang in there. You've got a lot of folks connected in cyberspace thinking about you and Amy.
posted by ericb at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2009


My sincerest condolences mrbill. I am so sorry for your loss.

...I've not really done anything major for MeFi...
You're mistaken here. You've been a gracious friend and acquaintance at H-town meet-ups. You've been an informative and thoughtful contributor here on the site. We are a community because of people like you. What greater contribution is there than that.

Take care. I wish you well as you traverse this difficult time. You are in Willy's and my thoughts.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:47 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry for your loss, mrbill. You're in my thoughts.

(And that Haughey guy is a class act.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry for your loss, mrbill. And, as always, deeply grateful to be part of the Mefi community. I'd love to learn more about your wife - are there causes she cared deeply about? I'd like to donate to one of them in her memory.
posted by jasper411 at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2009


MrBill, the offer of chicken fried steak still stands if you break out your passport and head to the north side of the Republic. :)

Matt, that was lovely. Thank you.
posted by dejah420 at 9:02 AM on August 5, 2009


I'm late to this thread because I didn't know what to say. As a newlywed, this is one of my deepest fears. I am trying not to cry at work, both because i feel for your loss, and because I am deeply moved by mathowie's actions.

best wishes to you, and if I were in Texas I'd bring you some fried chicken (cause that's really all i know how to cook)
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


In the other thread, mrbill said that if people wanted to make donations in Amy's memory they could make them to no-kill animal shelters.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:11 AM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


mrbill, you have my condolences. You're an inspiration in the way you've handled your loss with such grace.

mathowie: you are a class act. Look for my Kleenex bill in the mail.
posted by deborah at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm so sorry the death certificate didn't have clearer answers, and for your loss. You've got a whole lot of people here wishing you well, this total stranger included.

(And Matt, you are awesome.)
posted by sarcasticah at 9:34 AM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry, mrbill. You're in my thoughts.
posted by ourobouros at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2009


As I said in my recent memail, mrbill, I don't know what to say other than I'm sorry for this. I'm glad Metafilter could bring you some comfort right now.

Matt, thanks for making me cry at work, you jerk. Seriously, this is awesome and you are awesome.

Now my Everyone Needs a Hug shirt is that much more awesome.
posted by chiababe at 9:44 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, sorry for your loss and all the related shit you're having to deal with. Glad the bills at least are no longer hanging over your head.

And thanks, Matt, for being your awesome self. The MeFi community once again stands together. Go MeFites!
posted by garnetgirl at 9:45 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, honestly I don't think I could handle what you've been through. You're in my thoughts.
posted by Craig at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, here's another internet stranger who is sending you love and strength both through the tubes and through the ether. You'll be in my thoughts.

(and Matt, you're awesome.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, you'll be in my prayers. And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we want to be here for you in the coming weeks and months, as you deal with the aftermath of this tragedy. Sending you cyberhugs, too.


Matt, that is a seriously awesome thing you did.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:14 AM on August 5, 2009


I admit it. I teared up.

mrbill, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through.

Matt, that was a lovely act of kindness. Thank you.
posted by widdershins at 10:19 AM on August 5, 2009


I'd love to learn more about your wife - are there causes she cared deeply about?

As I said in the other thread, please donate to a no-kill animal shelter or rescue society in her name.

Her obituary (the graduation date is wrong, she graduated in '92 or '93)

This writeup by Peter Bodo of Tennis.com (whom she worked for, for a while) captures her perfectly. In fact, her dad had it printed out, blown up, and put on display and in handouts at the viewing/memorial service.

I met Amy on the Internet in early '98. We talked via IRC, then phone, and then she flew down to meet me on Valentine's Day. Three months later she got tired of flying down twice a month, packed her car, and I flew to Chattanooga and rode back to Texas with her, where she moved in. Three years later, we finally (because I had vacation time, and so forth) got married, on March 31st 2001. However, we'd been married in all but paperwork before then.

Dammit, now I'm crying again.
posted by mrbill at 10:20 AM on August 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


My jaded teenagers sometimes ask me why I love Mefi so much. Today I had an answer that moved me to tears, and made them understand. Thanks, Matt.
posted by misha at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, that's a beautiful piece about Amy; thank you so much for sharing it. My heart goes out to you and the rest of Amy's family -- you'll all be in my thoughts and prayers.
posted by alynnk at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2009


Again dude, my sincerest condolences. If there's anything I can do, please let me know. -Gabe
posted by gman at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2009


My sympathies go out to you mrbill. Also, good job Matt. Got something in my eye here at work, gotta go...

*snif*
posted by marxchivist at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2009


Here is link to the animal shelter referenced in the obituary.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, so sorry for your loss. Your wife sounds like an amazing woman, and the world is poorer for her absence. All good thoughts to you, and to her other family and friends.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:37 AM on August 5, 2009


I'm sending you hugs mrbill. Lots and lots of hugs.
posted by Floydd at 10:53 AM on August 5, 2009


Oh, mrbill, this has been so sad, I cannot imagine what you are going through. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please take care of yourself.
posted by grouse at 10:58 AM on August 5, 2009


The next time someone makes the cynical pronouncement that this is not a real community or dismisses the idea that it's possible to meaningfully relate to words on the screen as being representative of fellow human beings in the world... I'm showing them this thread.
posted by scody at 11:22 AM on August 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't really know what to say, mrbill, but I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2009


I don't even know what I can say that hasn't already been said, so I'll just say it again -

So sorry for what you're going through, mrbill. Just take things as they come, take care of yourself, and you'll heal when it's time to heal.

As for the rest of you - this community is simply amazing, and I've never been more proud to be part of a group. I don't do mushy stuff that well, especially to a bunch of "internet strangers", but shit ... I love you guys.
posted by owtytrof at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2009


It's a good thing I have some thank-you cards left; Matt is getting one. (as is anyone else who wants one, just email me your postal address). Handwritten with a fountain pen!
posted by mrbill at 11:36 AM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm so sorry. I just cannot say how much.

Words fail here, but hopefully you can gain some strength from this outpouring of good vibes. Picturing all of us sending you mental reinforcements, and some tangible ones as well, I see.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 11:41 AM on August 5, 2009


but.. I've not really done anything major for MeFi, why is it doing this for me?

But mrbill, you have done something. You've been one of us. When one of us hurts, we all hurt a little. The true strength of a community is shown not in how it treats its members when times are good, but in how it treats a member who needs some support. You deserve the best from us, because you are one of us.

Keep your chin up.

And mathowie, what an incredible community you've created. Thank you for yet another act of generosity and compassion that leads us all to be even better members of this community.
posted by Houstonian at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


Can I just tell you how much I love the fact that even in a moment when he's writing about something as personal and intimate as writing thank you notes, mrbill can't help but geek out and tell us about what kind of pen and ink he's using. (Also: G.Lalo? Nice. You should also try Smythson of Bond Street. Sinful!)
posted by ColdChef at 12:22 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry for your loss, mrbill .... and I feel bad that the meetup I planned didn't pan out. Raincheck?


Matthowie, you're a mensch!
posted by brujita at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2009


mrbill can't help but geek out and tell us about what kind of pen and ink he's using.

It only seemed "right" to write everything with my best vintage pen and good ink.

You should also try Smythson of Bond Street.

Amy was on the verge of buying some of their stuff about a week before she passed, but was holding due to the cost. She was MUCH more of a paper snob than I am.
posted by mrbill at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm really sorry for your loss, but glad you're getting help putting the pieces back together. Hang in there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry for your loss, and so proud to be a part of such a great community. I've donated to her favorite animal shelter as well.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:55 PM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm really sorry for your loss and I hope the future holds good things for you.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:56 PM on August 5, 2009


Thanks for sharing with us a little bit about your wife, mrbill. That was a touching eulogy for someone well loved and I'm sorry she's been taken away from you.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:57 PM on August 5, 2009


A couple of pictures on flickr.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:01 PM on August 5, 2009


And this, folks, is what the "community" part of Community Weblog is all about.
posted by jokeefe at 1:03 PM on August 5, 2009


A couple of pictures on flickr.

I've got those up here as well, along with a few others and the most recent picture of her that I have, of her in a wedding dress (we were going to repeat our vows sometime in the next year).
posted by mrbill at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2009


She was beautiful, mrbill.
posted by jokeefe at 1:19 PM on August 5, 2009


All I can say is that I'm very, very sorry for your loss, mrbill.

(And, mathowie, that was a beautiful thing to do.)
posted by Jelly at 2:15 PM on August 5, 2009


That Tennis.com piece is wonderfu. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by rtha at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2009


Also, wonderful. With an l.
posted by rtha at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm really sorry for your loss, Mr. Bill.
posted by 6550 at 2:47 PM on August 5, 2009


I love each and everyone of you, and there is nothing you can do about it.
posted by msali at 2:54 PM on August 5, 2009


Oh, mrbill. I'm so sorry for your loss. Amy sounds like a beautiful soul. I hope you can find answers.
posted by goo at 3:03 PM on August 5, 2009


MrBill, I was wondering how you were doing after that AskMe thread - and read the update about the autopsy. I can only imagine how much you've been through - and then to have the results so nebulous - well damn. (My uncle died suddenly of something the doctors were all "wow, we're not exactly sure what happened" that still frustrates us.) Again, like everyone, I'm just so damn sorry about it all. I'm pretty much saying what everyone else is saying - but even that makes me feel that we're all together on this, and really wishing we could help you out. Which is kind of a neat thing in itself.

And Matt, that totally rocked, thanks for that. I can't just drop a pound cake on MrBills' doorstep (my southern family's prescription for any trouble is always to bring the friends some baked goods) - but the fact that you could swoop in and help like that makes me really happy.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:05 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrbill, I am deeply sorry for your loss & in awe of your inner strength. Keep taking care of yourself and allowing others to care for you too. I am writing a cheque right now, to donate in Amy's name, to the Animal Welfare Association of Hamilton, a truly dedicated & deserving non-profit rescue.

Matt, pomegranate, and houstonian, you are the absolute best!
posted by zarah at 3:20 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm also so sorry for your loss, mrbill.
posted by mustard seeds at 3:31 PM on August 5, 2009


That tennis write up was awesome, thanks for sharing. I wish I could have known her - she seems like an amazing, amazing person. I'm glad you got to spend time with her, and I'm again, so so sorry for your loss.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:50 PM on August 5, 2009


I...honestly don't have words for this. I'm so sorry mrbill. Even more hugs.
posted by Skorgu at 4:18 PM on August 5, 2009


My condolences for your untimely loss. Good luck and best wishes getting through this difficult time - I have faced little hardship in my life but what I have seen has shown me that the only way past this pain is through it. Be strong.
posted by GuyZero at 4:32 PM on August 5, 2009


My deepest condolences, mrbill. You and Amy seem like such a nice couple. It's so sad and shocking when someone so young and apparently vibrant is taken away so young.

I hope and pray she is watching over you and is with you in spirit. God bless you.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2009


Been watching this thread all day...and have been trying to think of any sort of thing to say, to help at all...and havent yet. I hope I am never in that situation and am so sorry you are. Take care.




and Matt....total class man.
posted by ShawnString at 5:33 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry for the loss of your Amy, mrbill.
posted by gaspode at 5:51 PM on August 5, 2009


My condolences, mrbill.
posted by dhruva at 5:58 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm very sorry.

I have not lost a spouse, but I lost my dad a few years ago and I've been watching how my stepmother has been coping. It will continue to hit you in odd ways, often just when you think you've moved through the grieving process and then you'll come across something, or find one more thing that is the first time you've done it since she's gone. All I can say is to be compassionate towards yourself - do whatever it takes to take care of yourself.

My deepest condolences.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:14 PM on August 5, 2009


My deepest condolences, mrbill. My thoughts and strength are with you.

Matt, pomegranate, and houstonian, thank you. You are wonderful people.
posted by wiskunde at 6:32 PM on August 5, 2009


mrbill, I'm very sorry you've suffered this terrible loss. Stick around, you're good company, and in good company.
Matt, I'm gonna need another tshirt, but in the meantime, I am so glad that the one I got says
"everyone needs a hug". You run the best site around, probably because you care and are caring.
posted by Hobgoblin at 7:26 PM on August 5, 2009


That little Flickr set finally brought the tears that have been trying to come for the last hour as I have stared at this thread. mrbill, I too have been thinking of you, whoever you are. Thank you for sharing your humanity with us, heartwrenching as it is at this moment. And Matt, pomegranate, and houstonian, and everyone else, thank you for responding to that humanity in kind.
posted by nosila at 7:34 PM on August 5, 2009


Damn. I'm so sorry for your loss. I wish I had words to help. Stay strong.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:50 PM on August 5, 2009


My heart goes out to you mrbill; may you have the courage and strength you need.

Stay strong and don't forget that we are here to support you.
posted by peeedro at 7:55 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm very sorry to hear about this, mrbill. Take good care of yourself.

And the compassionate response here is very heartening. I hope that others can remember that there's always a very deep well of caring in most people (here, and in our regular lives) that will support them in times of greatest need.

(why has my monitor gone all fuzzy?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Love, hugs and condolences to you, mrbill.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:03 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm so sorry for your loss, mrbill. Thank you for sharing those pictures of Amy with us - the one of her in the wedding dress was just stunning. We're going to be adopting some shelter cats soon, and I'll be sure to drop off some donations in her memory.
posted by Ruki at 8:09 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm sorry to hear about your loss, mrbill. It's hard as hell to lose a best friend so suddenly. Stay strong. Judging from Peter Bodo's wrap up, Amy lived life pedal to the metal. She wouldn't have it any other way. She'd want you to carry on.
peace.

The support here is wonderful, there are a lot of people with heart.
Mat, that's decent of you.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:15 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm really sorry for your loss, mrbill. It's good to see that you have such support, here and in real life, and that you are willing to accept it. I admire your ability to discuss her, and I also admire what seems to be your general resistance to being overwhelmed by anger and despair; I hope you can continue to nurture that calm and with it find some peace. Stay strong.
posted by breezeway at 10:54 PM on August 5, 2009


your general resistance to being overwhelmed by anger and despair

She always said I was the practical one that got stuff done. Even before the shock wore off (when she was still in the house, police here, waiting on the medical examiner) I started making phone calls to family and friends, and to my boss to tell him "Dude, I'm not going to be in for a while."

I only really lost it at the viewing (closed-casket; we did cornea/tissue/organ donation of course) when I said goodbye to her. Other than that it's just the occasional burst of tears (like when reading this thread, multiple times now) for a few minutes. I've had a few bad days, but I don't have the luxury of being able to completely go nuts for a week. I have too many people and three kitties who depend on me.

The worst part is the empty, quiet 1500sqft house. There's nobody nagging me, nobody to sit and watch tv with, and other than friends at Lodge, nobody to go hang out with. I come home from work and sit on the computer talking to people in other states until it's time for bed, get up in the morning and go to work; lather rinse repeat with occasional takeout food or House of Pies or Thursday night Lodge meetings.

For weeks I've craved human touch. Someone to ask how my day was and give me a hug.

I don't want pity, but sometimes "Everyone needs a hug" is more true than you know.

Sorry - this really doesn't belong here. I just needed to get it out. Enough for now.
posted by mrbill at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think it belongs here, as do *hugs*
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:29 PM on August 5, 2009


Can somebody nearby go give this dude a hug? I think he deserves it.
posted by that girl at 12:22 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can't imagine what you must be going through, mrbill. Please take care.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:31 AM on August 6, 2009


Damn man, I wish I could hug you in person, I know what you mean.

I don't know if you like classical music, but closing your eyes and listening to something sweeping like Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor can be really therapeutic. It makes me weep more often than not, but it's therapeutic.

That human touch thing, go seek it out if you can't get someone to come give you a hug or pat you on the hand or put an arm around your shoulder. Like visiting old people, whether they're family or not, go read books aloud or volunteer for a little while somewhere if you can. Sometimes you find a little old lady and help her put her groceries in her car and she squeezes your hand and it pumps straight into your heart, you can go on for a few days on that alone. It feels good to help people.

Anyway I don't know what to say, it's so personal and even though I imagine I know something of what you're going through, I really don't exactly; if you need a helping hand I'll join the legion here in saying reach out if you need, email's in the profile if there's anything I can answer, otherwise be good to yourself and either get some people around you or get around some people as often as you can. They'll understand if you sometimes need to walk away or leave the room just as well as they'll understand if you ask for a hug.

You should and probably do know that no matter what, you're lucky to have loved and been loved, lucky to have known her and been her friend, and she was lucky to have you, too.

Take care of yourself, mrbill. And make sure you get all the sleep you can.
posted by breezeway at 12:39 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


And make sure you get all the sleep you can

Strangely, I'm sleeping better now than I have in years. Amy smoked a LOT, and I'm asthmatic and don't smoke. Not having all that secondhand smoke around has improved my breathing and sleeping.
posted by mrbill at 6:32 AM on August 6, 2009


There's nobody nagging me

I am a professional, just ask my husband. I offer to you my nagging services for free.

I washed, dried, and folded all of your laundry, can't you at least put it away?

Why can't you ever put the toilet paper ON the dispenser? And the empty roll doesn't go on the back of the toilet - the garbage can is RIGHT THERE!

What are you watching TV for - the dogs haven't been out and the cats haven't been fed?

When are you going to fix the light switch/grout the tile/install the ceiling fan? It's been three weeks since we bought the thing and it just sits in a box!

Why can't you call when you're working late and won't be home for dinner? Is it really that hard to pick up the phone?

That's not really gonna help, is it? Also, mr. desjardins, if you're reading this, I love you, but if you're going to drive my car, don't leave me with 1/8 of a tank.
posted by desjardins at 8:07 AM on August 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


For weeks I've craved human touch. Someone to ask how my day was and give me a hug.

I had wanted to post "everyone needs a hug", but felt it was too trite. I'd give you one in person, if I could.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:08 AM on August 6, 2009


I didn't realize I was actually married to desjardins. This complicates my life considerably.
posted by scrump at 8:37 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know if you like classical music, but closing your eyes and listening to something sweeping like Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor can be really therapeutic. It makes me weep more often than not, but it's therapeutic.

Would it sound strange if I said that A Slight Case of Overbombing by The Sisters of Mercy is my therapeutic music - preferrably played at high volume. Amy and I first met on a "Southwest Goths" mailing list that I ran at the time, talked about our shared interest in TSoM, and things went from there.

We were lucky enough to be able to see them in concert in February '06 in Austin.
posted by mrbill at 8:51 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not strange at all, strong music picks you up and puts you back down in a different place. It's really good to hear that you keep thinking, keep engaging. That can be the hardest part sometimes.

Plus orchestras don't usually have fog machines and a light show, that's a bonus.
posted by breezeway at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2009


I'm so, so sorry for your loss, mrbill. I don't know what else to say, other than -- I'm so sorry.

(I love you, metafilter.)
posted by kalimac at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2009


I don't have anything to add here, except that I just wanted to add another voice to the chorus of "I'm so, so sorries" and "Woo Matts". Try to keep your chin up, mrbill.
posted by booknerd at 9:14 AM on August 6, 2009


I know she's up there laughing at me, because I still haven't gotten any pie.

(going to House of Pies for a slice doesn't count)
posted by mrbill at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2009


I didn't realize I was actually married to desjardins. This complicates my life considerably.

At least you're not married to Brandon Blatcher.
posted by desjardins at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2009


I consider the above statements to be free license to nag. I might be able to fit in a hug, too.

I'll see you Sunday, get ready for a VERY long list of things you need to do. I'm sure I can keep you busy for a week or two.

Be VERY careful what you wish for.
posted by pomegranate at 10:38 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


get ready for a VERY long list of things you need to do. I'm sure I can keep you busy for a week or two.

I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.

Pomegranate is INTENSE. And very fun to be around, and great to have as a friend.
posted by mrbill at 10:58 AM on August 6, 2009


For weeks I've craved human touch. Someone to ask how my day was and give me a hug.

A simple touch and expression of caring goes a long way, doesn't it? The 'little things' in life...aren't little.

When I have lost loved ones, what I have most needed and wanted was for someone to be there, to sit with me, be fully present, and bear witness to my grief. If you have someone in your life who can do that, now's the time to call upon them.

Would it sound strange if I said that A Slight Case of Overbombing by The Sisters of Mercy is my therapeutic music

Makes perfect sense to me; I have similar tastes in music. The music of Arcana, in particular, has helped me to give voice to my sorrow in the aftermath of loss.

Closure
Angel of Sorrow
God of the Winds
Love Eternal
My Cold Sea
posted by velvet winter at 11:29 AM on August 6, 2009


I get down to Houston area a couple times a year nowadays. The next time I do, I'd be honored to buy you dinner, mrbill. If you'll let me? I'll even wear my "everybody needs a hug" shirt. If you end up in Dallas, same offer stands, except you'll have to tell me what kind of stuff you like to eat so I can pick someplace good.

Nobody should feel alone when they're grieving, even though you're the only one who can do it. We're all here for you, even if we can't physically be there with you now.

something in this thread is making my eyes burn, but in a good way. sniff.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:36 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you, everyone. I'm feeling better today - last night was just one of those nights.

Please, keep the emails, MefiMails, IRC chats, etc, coming. They're making my days brighter.
posted by mrbill at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2009


Death certificates just got here in the mail.

Immediate cause of death: "Accident" due to "Drowning"
Other Significant Conditions Contributing to Death but not resulting in the underlying cause: "Left Anterior Descending Coronary Thrombosis due to Hypertensive and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease and Obesity"
Describe how injury occured: "Became submerged in bathtub".
posted by mrbill at 3:01 PM on August 6, 2009


Sounds to me like she had a heart attack. She'd been having chest pains, but attributed it to the pinched nerve in her left elbow.
posted by mrbill at 3:02 PM on August 6, 2009


It seems crazy that she'd have a heart attack so soon after going to the ER for the full work-up. I'd be very interested in those autopsy reports if that's what they show. If someone missed something at the hospital or wasn't doing their job well, it could save someone else's life if you called attention to that.
posted by booknerd at 4:40 PM on August 6, 2009


mrbill-- the touch thing? Book a massage. (Just be prepared to start weeping on the table. Though I'm sure massage therapists see that a lot, actually.) Your body will thank you; it's amazing just how... primal being touched is. It's a comfort, truly.

I recently read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, about the year following her husband's sudden death. She tracks her thoughts and feelings with careful honesty and only, at the very end, does she even hint at the possibility that she wrote the book to try and help others find their road. It might not be a good book to read right now, but perhaps later on.
posted by jokeefe at 6:09 PM on August 6, 2009


Also, from what I understand, heart attack symptoms tend to show differently in women than they do in men. Left arm pain does sound like it fits with that scenario.
posted by jokeefe at 6:10 PM on August 6, 2009


Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking

I've already got it in my "to read when I'm ready" pile on the living room table.
posted by mrbill at 6:37 PM on August 6, 2009


Nthing getting a massage....and *big hugs*.
posted by brujita at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2009


Three years later, we finally (because I had vacation time, and so forth) got married, on March 31st 2001.

I have to mention this. We got married on the back deck of a sports bar overlooking the river in Chattanooga (was owned by a friend of her father). Very small ceremony, just family and a few friends.

She managed to drop the flowers and say "fuck!" in front of the preacher. 8-)
There is a photo of this event; someone dug it up and put it on a board at the viewing.

Afterwards, we had wedding cakes from Wal-Mart, and for the reception everyone just ordered off the bar's food menu. Amy and I both hated the bridezilla factor and were glad to keep it small, informal, and fun.

For our honeymoon, we spent a couple of days in a bed & breakfast in Chattanooga (where she'd formerly worked as a cleaning lady), then flew to Baltimore. Her aunt lives in the Fells Point area, and had an entire unoccupied third floor in her house. We stayed there for a week, exploring Baltimore, DC, and seeing Internet friends in Laurel before finally flying back to Austin.

For years, she would say "I can't believe that I said 'fuck' in front of the preacher."
posted by mrbill at 10:22 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


mrbill--I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you good vibes and optimism from Chicago. Give those kitties a chin scratch for me.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:52 AM on August 7, 2009


Wow. My heart goes out to you mrbill. Keep talking, we're listening.

Hugs.
posted by freya_lamb at 4:11 PM on August 7, 2009


I don't know what to say, mrbill, except that when my fiancé died suddenly a few years back, I was overwhelmed by the care and support I had from the people here, not a single one of whom, at that time, I'd ever met in person. These are good people.

Take good care of yourself.
posted by essexjan at 1:43 AM on August 8, 2009


Thanks to pomegranate, I NOW HAVE PIE.

THANK YOU FOR THE PIE.

(and the great visit from a friend)
posted by mrbill at 10:11 AM on August 9, 2009


HOORAY PIE!
posted by ocherdraco at 10:18 AM on August 9, 2009


And casarkos just left - she brought me apple muffins and ate the rest of the key lime pie. Thanks, everyone. It's been a good day.
posted by mrbill at 12:31 PM on August 9, 2009


I somehow missed the original thread and read the AskMe and MetaTalk threads this morning.
My emotions have been spread over the sorrow for mrbill's loss and the pride for being associated with the outpouring of love and help from a website's followers.
Being an introvert, I have few real life friends and fewer "Internet" friends (because I tend to lurk and read instead of join in).
Thank you all for helping me feel right about being a human.

It says "Everyone needs a hug." under the preview pane, and I know that it is true.

posted by Drasher at 7:11 AM on August 10, 2009


My mother just emailed me - she just got off the phone with the Harris County ME.

The ME said that Amy had water in her stomach and lungs, and that her head *was* below the top level of the tub, and that the pictures indicated that tub had been full of water at one point (well duh). She's ordered a copy of the autopsy report and will let me know when it gets there.

I remembered her head being above the top of the tub - but then again I was panicky and may be wrong. I don't know why the tub had no water to speak of in it when I found her.

However, I know that the basic cause of death was a heart attack, and that if "drowning" was the official cause of death, the heart attack caused the drowning.

Is it bad that I keep thinking that bickering with the ME about the cause of death isn't going to bring her back, and is just a waste of time?
posted by mrbill at 10:39 AM on August 10, 2009


Talked with mom on the phone. She said that the ME insinuated that maybe the tub had been full of water when I found her and that I let the water out, and that I was just misremembering things.

When I found her, the tub was drained, the faucet was on, but the water was going directly into the drain. There wasn't more than a half-inch of water in the bottom third of the tub. I may have misremembered exactly where her head was, but no part of her body was submerged when I found her.

I'm sorry that I keep going on about this, but I just have to vent about it.
posted by mrbill at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2009


mrbill, I would guess that the ME is, in some ways, guessing. I'm not sure I'd fault the ME, though. He knows what his findings were (heart attack, water in Amy's stomach and lungs). He's being asked to reconcile that information with what you remember seeing. He could guess, but not really know. He just knows his findings.

So, it sounds like he's trying to find a logical way to put his information and yours together. It's possible that you are remembering it wrong (like when a crowd of people witness something terrible, and they are all positive of their memory of the event and yet they all give conflicting statements of what happened). It's also possible that the drain has a slow leak when it's plugged, or that Amy dislodged the plug with her toes in her last minutes.

It's all horrible. And it's terrible that you won't really ever know what exactly happened.

What you can always rely on is what you do know for a fact: You and Amy loved each other, and you had the wonderful opportunity to share your lives with each other.
posted by Houstonian at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry that I keep going on about this, but I just have to vent about it."

I think you should console yourself (probably just a little, but still, that's something) by knowing that

a) we're all SO ok with you venting and you know we're a friendly crowd in here
and
b) someday someone will be in your exact situation, looking for answers, and thanks to search engines will find this - and maybe get some consolation knowing someone else went through the same thing.
posted by batgrlHG at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2009


we're definitely OK with you venting. I can totally identify with wanting to reconcile the details and perceived discrepancies. I'd do the same if I were in your shoes, because that's just how my mind works. However, since you can't know the water level etc for certain, at some point it's just going to add to your suffering, so I encourage you to take deep breaths and focus on the circumstances of your happiest times together, rather than the details of what must be your darkest day.
posted by desjardins at 3:57 PM on August 10, 2009


desjardins, that's what I'm doing. I told my mother earlier, "no amount of paperwork will bring her back; i don't want to keep going over this again and again and again."

Mother, however, just HAS to know for exactly sure, etc. I told her that she was free to get a copy of the autopsy, etc, but that I wanted to stop having to repeat the entire scene in my head multiple times a day.
posted by mrbill at 4:25 PM on August 10, 2009


One difficult thing about grieving a death is that those who are closest to you are also grieving. Your mom is probably doing her mom thing -- fiercely protecting her child, hunting down the enemy, and so on. I'm sure she's hurting about Amy, and also hurting to see you hurt.

I think you were smart to just be honest with her about what you need. I'm sure she just wants to help, but you have to help her help you, by telling her what you need (for example, "I'd like to talk about some of the good times; did I ever tell you about this funny thing Amy did? or "I'm feeling pretty low; I need you to tell me it's going to be ok eventually.") and what you don't need (as you did, by telling her you don't want to go over the autopsy details).
posted by Houstonian at 4:46 PM on August 10, 2009


I've seen this happen quite a bit. When a death leaves unanswered questions, a family can drive themselves crazy trying to rationalize facts that just don't seem to add up. They pore over the details of the autopsy and the death certificate, as if they're looking for the magic key that will explain away the death completely. But this type of science is flawed and incomplete and the sad fact is that you may never get an irrefutable answer.

About two years ago, I buried an 18yo man who was fighting MS. He had struggled with it most of his life and though he had no hope of beating it, he was living through it better than most people. He was driving home from a friend's house and his car went off the road. Though witnesses saw it happen, his car became submerged before anyone could get there. We pulled his body out of the swampy water and he was lifeless. So, how did he die? Did he have a heart attack (common to those with his ailment) and then leave the road? Did he fall asleep, drive from the road and drown? Did he simply lose control of the car and die when the car impacted the embankment? The autopsy was inconclusive. But his mother wanted to know. She needed to know. She argued with the coroner, she argued with the police--at many times, she took contradictory stances with herself. Her family came to realize that she wasn't trying to get an answer from the authorities, her real problem was with her god and why he would take her son who had fought so hard for so long. Two years later and her grief is still in her eyes. She hasn't accepted his death because she hasn't gotten the answer that she wants.
posted by ColdChef at 7:23 PM on August 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thank you, dancinglamb and houstonian, for the mail order pies that arrived today!
posted by mrbill at 3:23 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, don't thank me! It was all dancinglamb!
posted by Houstonian at 3:37 PM on August 11, 2009


You're most welcome. Thanks to for Houstonian covertly share your addy with me.

I can make a seriously badass apple pie myself, I just can't mail it. :) So, I found the place they came from in Southern Living's Top Ten Places for Texas Pie listing. I hope they rock. Enjoy them. :)
posted by dancinglamb at 5:12 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you, ocherdraco, for the cool intellectual care package that arrived in the mail yesterday.

When I win the lottery I'm going to fly all over and give each and every one of you a thank-you hug.
posted by mrbill at 7:47 AM on August 13, 2009


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