4:41am the phone rings.
Gilbert : Alabama, I think he’s gone
Gilbert: Luke isn’t breathing.
Me: oh my god, do CPR, call 911.
Gilbert. He’s gone, he’s cold.
I go downstairs and try to wake up Wyatt. He won’t wake up. I don’t want to turn the light on and wake up my grandson. I walk into Drew’s room. He’s only 19 and I have to tell him his dad is dead. I walk in and turn his light on. He sits up. I say his name. “Drew”.
He says “ It’s dad, isn’t it”.
I shake my head yes. I can’t talk thru my tears.
He says “He’s dead, isn’t he.” I say yes. He is in shock. His voice gets loud and he said “we knew this was going to happen “. He sounds angry. As I walk out I see him lower his head and cry.
I’m numb. I’m not sobbing but tears are falling out of my eyes and they won’t stop. I am scared and empty. Drew calls Beau and tells him and then wakes up Wyatt and Rae. We are all falling apart, quietly.
Beau tells Drew that him and Autumn are jumping in their truck and leaving Montana for home. I’m relieved. I need all of my boys with me.
A medic calls me and asks me questions. How old was Luke, what is his birthday, did he have medical issues, was he sick. I answer his questions. I ask him where they are taking Luke. He tells me I need to come down there. They are waiting for the coroner and I need to be there. I’m in shock still. I go get in the shower. Rae told me not to long ago that she could hear me sobbing in the shower that morning. My heart was broken.
Rae and I drive to Gilbert’s. Wyatt and Drew don’t want to go.
I walk in and there is Luke, face down on the cold, hard tile, blanket covering him. His feet, in black socks, are hanging out. So is his right elbow. His elbow is black with levity. It is surreal. I want to touch him but can’t bring myself too so I just stand there and cry. Later, when no one is looking, I take a picture. It’s morbid but I keep thinking this is the last time I’ll ever see him.
Wyatt calls Rae. He wants to be there so she goes and gets him. The police tell me the coroner isn’t coming. They have determined it was a natural death. I now need to call a mortuary. I am overwhelmed. I call Luke’s friend John. John is an ordained minister. I call him and tell him Luke died at Gilbert’s house. Him and his wife Maddy come right over.
John calls a mortuary for me and we wait. Wyatt and I sit on one couch in the living room, John and Maddy on the other. Rae stands in the doorway with my grandson, Bubba the entire time. We’re all sitting around Luke’s dead body. Gilbert’s son and his friends are walking in and out of the house, walking around Luke like he’s part of an obstacle course. I can hear them in the garage laughing, then in the street, doing burnouts. I’m trying to keep Wyatt calm because he wants to kill them. At one point I start laughing hysterically. Is this really happening? I think they all think I’ve lost my mind.
We sit there for five hours.
The mortuary sends two women. Luke is a big guy. I ask one of the women how he looks. She said he looks OK. Wyatt wants to see his face. I tell him no. He insists. He wants to see his dad. They turn him over. Wyatt sees his dad’s face and makes this sound. I can’t describe it. It’s the sound of horror and grief combined. He turns and walks out of the house. They load up the boy I fell in love with 30 years before and take him away.