What a long sad, stressful 4 or 5 days. Thursday evening Shawn was late from work so I sat and watched the news waiting on him to call me back or answer his phone. I had seen there was a train/semi truck collision on one of the roads on his way home. I thought maybe that was the holdup. I started to really panic when at 6 I hadn't heard from him. Finally he called, sweet relief. I told him to drive careful and watch out for traffic when he hit Jordan because of all the rescue vehicles. I briefly told him what had happened. Little did I know that little bit of info I gave him would shake our family to the core and cause unbearable heartache and grief.
He made it home with only a small amount of time to spare before he had to eat and shower so he could be out the door to play poker for the evening. I had planned to go but decided to stay home to watch Earl on TV. That turned out to be a really good decision.
Ed and I were hanging out watching the 10 o'clock news. We were hoping to catch an update on the truck/train story in Jordan. I sent him upstairs for something, I don't even know what anymore. As he was bouncing back down the stairs, item in hand the story came on. I heard them say the 35 year old Jordan man was pronounced dead at the scene. The man has been identified as Scott Fahrenkamp. I could not believe my ears. I screamed oh my god, oh my god and went into hysterics. Ed couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and I couldn't catch my breath to tell him. I just laid my head on the dogs head and sobbed as if my heart were breaking, and in fact, it was.
Scott you see, was Shawn's cousin and one of my closest confidants. He helped me get through so many rough patches in my marriage. When I moved out here and didn't know a soul besides the family. He came into Perkins were I worked and had breakfast with me on my breaks at 3 a.m., I constantly tried to set him up with my girlfriends and spent many a night dancing the night away. Shawn, Me, Scott and whatever girl I had drug along for the night. One of my favorite memories of Scott was last Christmas. My mother in law tends to rub me the wrong way at times. She had that effect last year. I decided I needed to go for a drive. Scott noticed right away that I was gone and called and told me to meet him in the driveway. I pulled up and there was Scott. Big goofy grin on his face. He jumped in, picked up the bottle of champagne I had on the seat from the night before and opened it up. We sat in my truck in the driveway for hours drinking that bottle of Champagne and then moving on to a bottle of wine he found in the back seat. I don't even know what we talked about but he had a way of cheering me up and making me feel silly for being down in the first place. I went back into the house and was determined to not let my mother in law get me down. Scott was great that way.
The toughest thing I have ever had to do to date besides telling my Mom of the loss of my still born son was calling my husband at the bar where he was playing poker and telling him that the news story I had told him about earlier was Scott and that Scott was dead. Somehow I found the words. I felt so bad for Shawn but I know how he is, he's a tough guy and doesn't get to emotional. For the first time ever, I focused on me when someone died instead of trying to remain strong for everyone else and having a nervous breakdown months later.
Thursday night was a sleepless one. I tried to lay down but my memories would get the better of me. I finally dozed off around 4 and woke up to Scott's dad calling at 4:30 to make sure we had been contacted. ( I won't go into how he was notified or why we heard it on the news)
I gave up on sleep after that and crawled out of bed around 6. It was a rush to make flight reservations for my in-laws, contact all the family who hadn't been contacted yet and get my kids off for school. I tried to lay down for a nap around 10 but the ringing phone wouldn't allow it. When I walked into my girlfriends house at noon she point blank told me I looked like hell. You know that is a good friend when you ar insulted by her telling you how bad you look.
Friday night Shawn's aunt called to give me the funeral arrangement details and tell me what details she knew of the accident. I knew the semi had started on fire. In my fantasy world he was dead or unconscious before the cab started on fire. I would have been fine believing that little fantasy for the rest of my life. What I was told will cause me nightmares for years. 2 passers-by tried to get Scott out of the semi but were over come by intense heat and flames. They could hear him screaming inside of the truck and couldn't get to him. By time the fire department arrived he was gone. He had just filled the truck full of diesel, it took them 4 hours to put the blaze out.When they finally got it out there was next to nothing of him left to identify. They are still looking for dental records on him.
Saturday we picked my in-laws up from the airport and went to the tracks where he was hit. We just didn't understand, how did he not see the train? What we found was a blind crossing. Trees blocking the view of the tracks. He was pushed hundreds of feet down the tracks, over some bushes and up against the fence of a baseball field. The ground was all black and the bushes were burnt. It was heartbreaking.
Yesterday was the wake. We spent 5 hours at the funeral home. My girlfriend Sam went with, she had dated Scott at one point and remained close friends with him until the end. I was so glad she was there. We were a huge support to each other.
Today was the funeral. It was surreal. I was looking at a picture of Scott on the program in his jeans and t-shirt. I swear I could hear him telling me I should be in jeans, why was I crying? I should be laughing and drinking and celebrating him. I know that is what he wanted. Why we did the sad funeral dressed in black is beyond me.We should have had a party. He lived every day like it was his last party. I think I owe him one more. Sometime soon Sam and I will go sit in my truck in the driveway and drink a bottle of wine and laugh about what a character Scott was, maybe then I can let him go. For now he is still down the road and won't return my calls.