I had about ten different titles in mind for this blog post - some of them included things like "Shameful and disgusting, or just sad and pathetic?" and
but I decided to keep it short and sweet, and call it "Grief" - since that's what this is all about, anyway. I don't know if anyone will read this, but I have to write it. Every ounce of my being is screaming to do SOMETHING - and writing is what I know how to do.
As most of you are aware, my father-in-law was in a terrible motorcycle accident back in May. Feel free to go read my blog posts from that time period, as I've written about this previously. The accident happened on Sunday, May 30. The day before Memorial Day. But before I get into why I'm so upset, let me explain a few things.
Richie (Jeremy's dad) met Maryann 21 years ago, I believe. They dated for several years and were married in the spring of 1993. Richie had been married twice before, he had Jeremy with his first wife (they were teenagers) and then he had 2 beautiful daughters (my sisters in law Brittney & Kelsey) with his 2nd wife. Neither marriage lasted very long, for many reasons - but the bottom line was that they weren't in love. When Richie and Maryann got married, you just KNEW they were in love. By then, Jeremy and I were living together and pregnant with our son Trevor. We were also married in 1993.
Richie & Maryann were a few years apart in age - Maryann being about 6 years younger than Richie. They did not have any children. They built their lives together and they enjoyed each other. They spent a lot of time with their friends and had a very active social life. Jeremy and I didn't spend much time with them, unfortunately, something I regret now. But life gets busy and we had 2 young children and our lives were just completely different. Jeremy was raised mainly by his grandparents (Richie's parents), although his dad played a very active role in his life. Maryann and I liked each other, but we were not "close" - I wish now that we had spent more time getting to know each other, but I have always considered gram my mother-in-law and she is the one I have always been close to. I think the age thing had something to do with it - Maryann was only 12 years or so older than me, so our situation was a little... different. But I loved her and cared about her and knew that she loved my husband's dad with all her heart - which means she was good enough for me. What else can I tell you about her? She was a travel agent, a job she truly enjoyed - and she had good relationships with her co-workers, everyone liked Maryann. She loved flowers and plants, she loved to cook and entertain, and she loved her family - I've heard over and over and over again that Maryann was "the glue that held her family together." This is even more evident now that she's gone, but I'll get to that.
Anyway - life moves on and kids grow into teenagers and adults start reaching retirement age and life just goes on and on... except when it doesn't. Richie bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle a few years ago - Maryann LOVED it. LOVED IT. She loved going for rides on it, something they did on sunny weekend days. On this particular sunny Sunday morning, Maryann was the one who convinced Richie to go for the bike ride. He came up with an excuse not to go, but she really wanted to. Because he loves to please her, he gave in. This is something he'll regret for the rest of his life.
Having just recently read the accident report, I can pretty much tell you exactly what happened. Richie and Maryann were driving down a stretch of road that was a bit winding - a car in front of Richie was turning left, and Richie tried to swerve to the right to go around him... but he "low-sided" the bike, dropped it onto it's left side somehow and slid into oncoming traffic on the other side of the road. One car avoided them, but the next hit them both - essentially running them both over. Maryann was killed almost instantly. Richie suffered from collapsed lungs, 2 broken legs, and various other broken bones and contusions. He was life-flighted to UMASS Medical Center in Worcester and he actually died briefly during this - he was resuscitated, something he says now he is angry about.
I am not going to go through the next couple of torturous months - they were awful and I've written about them already. But what is happening now - I just can't NOT write about it. I cannot believe human beings can behave this way and live with themselves.
Maryann's family was understandably devastated at the loss of their beautiful sister, daughter, aunt. However, they have treated Richie in a less-than-admirable matter right from the very beginning. Don't get me wrong, I understand anger is a step in the grief process - but let's be very clear here - Richie was a very careful driver, who Maryann trusted with all of her heart. He was not driving while under the influence of anything, he was not driving negligently... as a matter of fact, the speed limit in the area where the accident occurred was 45 mph - it was estimated that Richie was driving between 27-29 mph. Richie LOVED this woman - he would never have knowingly put her life at risk. This is Maryann:
It's now been over 5 months since the accident. Richie is healing physically, slowly and not completely, but he's getting there. Emotionally, mentally, psychologically, though - that's another story. I can't count how many times he's made comments about how he wishes he had died instead of her. I can't tell you how much it hurt my husband and I when Richie told us he was changing his will to reflect a DNR - do not resuscitate. He no longer has much of a will to live - everything he ever looked forward to is gone. The future he had planned with his soul mate no longer exists. He is quite literally heart-broken.
And in the middle of all this heartache, he is being treated like a piece of shit criminal by the family of the woman he devoted his life to. Their behavior was less than exemplary from the very beginning - very cold and uncaring towards our family, making comments suggesting that they were the only ones who had TRULY suffered any kind of loss and even going so far as saying things directly to Richie like "You took her away from us."
Let me tell you - this man was lying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of every opening of his body - blood pressure sky-high, intubated, about as close to death as you can be, and yet kept trying to pull the tubes out and asking "where is Maryann?" with tears in his eyes. I'd like to tell you, but I can't even express it adequately, how awful it was not to be able to answer him - as we were instructed by the hospital staff for the first couple of hours. Let me try to explain what it's like to have to sit with a social worker and prepare for how to tell your dad that his wife is dead - knowing full well that he's going to blame himself. Let me tell you that when my husband had to go in that hospital room with the social workers and doctors and have them turn off the pain medication so that he'd understand what was being told to him, and had to say "Dad, I'm so sorry - Maryann died..." - let me just tell you that words cannot express what that felt like.
Let me tell you also how awful and heart-breaking it was to have late-night conversations with my husband, with him telling me that he completely understands why his dad feels the way he does, because if he put himself in his shoes, he'd want to be dead, too. And it was a little scary to realize that I felt the same way. When you have a good marriage, when you really feel like you married your soul-mate - well, I guess even the thought of losing that person takes your breath away. When it actually happens - it's literally heart-stopping.
So to realize that this woman's family was blaming Richie, and even being downright rude and obnoxious to our family members - it was like a kick in the head when you're already down. It's now escalated to them filing lawsuits trying to get control of Maryann's will and asking the District Attorney's office to prosecute Richie for "negligent homicide by motor vehicle." As a matter of fact, I believe he received the citation for that one on Maryann's birthday. Nice, huh?
Now in the meantime - remember we were going to move to California and then all kinds of stuff happened and we realized Richie kind of needed to have us around and all that... so yeah, Richie was making us a little apartment in his basement, because we had already given up our rented home and after talking with him and Brittney and Kelsey, we all figured it would be mutually beneficial for us to live there - he would be helping us out, but we'd also be helping him. For some reason I truly can't understand, someone in Maryann's family called the city to pretty much make a complaint about the apartment... that was the last straw for me. They are mean, petty, juvenile, they should be ashamed of themselves and I do not know how they sleep at night. I was feeling today like I wish I could so something to hurt them back - and then I was in tears for thinking that way even for a minute. I am NOT like them - the worst part is that Maryann would be absolutely disgusted and ashamed of them, and I am absolutely 100% sure of that. I just don't understand - none of this is going to bring her back, and Richie has been punished more than enough.
I feel better now. I hope one of you stumbles across this blog and realizes how foolish, selfish, and just plain mean you are being. I hope you have a hard time sleeping tonight. I will sleep tight knowing that I am a good person who would never intentionally and spitefully hurt someone else, and believe me I have put myself in your shoes. I have a sister who is married - I have gone over this thousands of times in my head and I would NEVER treat my brother-in-law this way if the exact same situation happened, and my sister is my best friend. I would be devastated, of course, but I would find an appropriate outlet for my grief and emotions, which would definitely not include ruining the life of someone she loved.
But hey, that's just me.