Tag Archives: death

Death of a Roommate: One Year Later

16 Aug

It has officially been a whole year since the discovery of my roommate, dead upstairs, having been laying there for over a week.

Technically it’s not a full year until about 11:30, but still.

This year has probably been the worst year of my life, having had to deal with being homeless for so long, going into and out of relationships, losing friend and having other move away, and having my parents in poor health. Moving has been hard, as adjusting to a new job has been. But I’m optimistic.

I’m looking today to be the end of awful, and the beginning of getting my life back in order.

The death of my roommate has effected me much more than I ever could have imagined, but it has been so subtle it’s deceptive.

At the beginning of this week (the anniversary of him actually killing himself), I made a sudden realization that caused my sleep to be poor for the following days. Saying that I lived with a dead body for a week doesn’t even begin to cover the horror of it. Saying that I lived with a decaying corpse does. Where there are flies, there are maggots, and that is a visual that I am glad only exists vaguely in my mind.

To think the gruesome occurrences that unfolded upstairs went completely unnoticed makes me shudder, and to think that perhaps had I been more available, it might not have happened at all. (But no, I don’t blame myself. To be perfectly honest, I feel quite bitter toward my former roommate, who had only lived with us for about a week.)

Going into this new year, I believe that I’ve reached a point at which I can move forward comfortable, and settle back into the things that were once normal. I know that at least some of you have noticed I haven’t been writing almost at all. I haven’t been sewing. It’s as though I’ve been suspended in time for this year, and now I’m finally able to move forward again.

Tonight, I was supposed to retrace the steps I took that fateful evening, to hopefully accomplish something of a sort of rewriting that memory so that this day no longer holds the connotation it holds now. I was going to go to the same restaurant and bar we went to, with the friends who accompanied me through that night’s events. It was really important to me, and much to my dismay, they couldn’t join me.

I was going to go anyway, because even though they didn’t feel it important that they were there, it was important for me to go. As much as I wanted to hope, I’m not on their list of priorities. Due to circumstances outside of my control, however, I’ve been stranded here, so I am unable to retrace my steps.

It’s okay. Mostly because there is currently no one dead in my house right now.

And here is to tomorrow, that while trying, will be a new year with new adventures.

 

May my former roommate rest in peace.

It’s [Finally] Over.

25 Apr

On August 16, 2013, my roommate was discovered dead in his room.

With the help of a few friends, I was able to make any attempt to get life back to normal.

And today, 8 months later, I turned in my key to my old landlord, and got the last of my belongings we could find, and I got my deposit back.

I, also, went into the room he died in for the first time since the incident. I never saw the room after he died, and luckily my friends weren’t the ones to find him, but it still took me some courage to go upstairs and go in. Even when I had to gather my bathroom items in the few days after we found him, I sprinted into the bathroom (across from his room) and sprinted out without so much as a glance.

Now, the last image of his room is one that looks lived in, and well taken care of, by the new tenants. And I don’t know what I was feeling, but I had to make an effort not to cry the second I walked in. Of course, I cried after I left the house, but it’s done.

With any amount of luck (I think we can all agree the universe has it out for me), this will never happen to me again, and I can do nothing more than hope that no one has to go through this.

 

Life Update: Back to Blogging

19 Jan

It’s been so long, hasn’t it? Well, let me tell you what you’ve missed while I’ve been gone.

First, let me tell you the story.

On Tuesday, August 13, 2013 I came home after work and was greeted by the smell of feces. Having two cats and a dog, I immediately began looking for the source of the smell. I looked under things, behind things, checked the litter boxes, but unfortunately my sense of smell is poor, and soon enough I couldn’t use my nose to track the scent, nor did I find anything. Frustrated, I dismissed it. The next day I brought a coworker over to hang out for a spell, and asked her if she could smell it. She said she could, but it was faint, and that it smelled musty. On Thursday, I came home and my house smelled like sewage. My first thought went to the pets, but being unable to find anything, I checked the downstairs and upstairs bathrooms. Nothing. Again, I wasn’t able to smell anything else, and while I was concerned, I began making dinner.

When I was almost finished, I started to become aware of the fact that there was a really large number of flies in my house, and not the normal kind – they were the large, iridescent ones that are usually associated with death and really gross things. I tried not to let my thoughts consume me, but I was suddenly made conscious of the fact that I hadn’t seen any sign of my new roommate in over a week. It was at that moment that I completely freaked out and had to leave. I almost ran out of the house.

I texted a female friend, who I knew had been ice skating with most of our other friends, but no response. Frantic, I called her – again, nothing. Trying to figure out where to go, I grabbed my food and decided to sit in the car, and maybe call a male acquaintance of mine in desperation. As I got into my car, I finally received the text from the friend saying I could go to her house.

When I got there, the only thing I said was I think my roommate is dead. Like I assumed her, her boyfriend, and our other friend all thought I was crazy. I started telling them the signs – the weird smells, the flies, not seeing him for over a week. They dismissed them, and talked me down, which in that moment was really what I was looking for…honestly, people’s roommates don’t randomly die, right? The flies were due to recent spraying for mosquitoes, I didn’t check my landlord’s bathroom for the source of the sewage smell, roommate has a girlfriend…all things that make sense. It was enough to get me to go home, because it did make sense, and of all things, I know the smell of death and my dog hadn’t paid any attention to it, so why should I?

I got home, opened the door, and it smelled faintly of death. Not enough to know absolutely that it was death and not mustiness, but again…these things don’t happen to people.

The next morning, Friday, I woke up and went through my normal routine. As I was watching TV, about to leave for work, I hear my dog whine, and paw at my roommates door upstairs. While I was still in denial, I knew. I yelled for my cats and dogs to go downstairs, and tried to muster as much courage as I could. I couldn’t even make it all the way up the stairs. I reached, and gave three brief knocks, before bolting back downstairs and leaving to work. When I told my girl friend, she said her and our guy friend would come over after dinner and come investigate. I agreed, not knowing what to expect when I got off work.

I didn’t even have to open the door after work to smell the overwhelming smell of death. I let my dog out, stayed in the back yard, then kenneled him and went to dinner. At dinner, my friend bought me a dead guy ale, just for kicks. We laughed and made jokes, and eventually made our way to a bar. After a few drinks, it was time. When I got home, I couldn’t even be inside. I went out to the backyard and waited for them to arrive. When they got there, they finally admitted that I might actually have a problem. They knocked and called out and knocked some more, but my roommate didn’t reply. When we tried to open the door, it was locked. I thank the stars for that every day. We tried as many keys as I could find, but to no avail.

I called the cops (after much coaxing), and the dispatcher said to wait outside until they got there. The first cop to go inside immediately knew and acknowledged what was:

Yup.

It was the wee hours of the morning on August 17, 2013 when they found him. They had to break down the door, and he was in the worst point of decomposition – 7 to 9 days after death. We were all interviewed, and the detectives couldn’t wrap their head around why I didn’t find him sooner.

He moved in on August 3, after finding our house on  Craigslist. I had spoken no more than 3 times to him. I thought he had a girlfriend, and was out with her frequently. He didn’t have a car, so I never knew when he was home or not unless I saw him. How was I supposed to know?

Then we had pancakes. At 4:30 in the morning, thanks to two wonderful friends, one of which even went to go get milk. At 6:30 in the morning, while I was trying to go to sleep at my girl friends house (we all had a sleep-over), I texted my supervisor that I wouldn’t be in the next day, also after much coaxing by my friends.

I stayed with her for a week, but due to her mother’s arrival, I had to find shelter elsewhere. I spent the night at the male acquaintances house (who bought be the dead guy ale), and went to my parents to take my pets for the next two days. I came back, and actually stayed with him up until 3 nights ago. I slept on an air mattress for the first week, then my girl friend and her boyfriend gave us their old mattress, so I started sleeping on that.

Only a  few days later, a Tuesday in fact, the male acquaintance who had been so supportive (henceforth known as Fella), and I started dating. He is the most wonderful, tender, masculine man I have ever met and I can’t say that I’ve found anyone who can match how amazing he is. I had had a thing for him since June (at least set in stone – even the first time I saw him, I was smitten), and I had all but given up on the thought of us ever dating.

Our first weekend we were together (I took my vacation a week after we started dating), we almost took another camping trip to Crystal Mill where I had just been. I really wanted to, but we decided to go drive and check out the changing Aspen’s instead. It was great, and we parked at the top of the pass and ate lunch, and Fella got to watch me fall not once, but twice down the mountain side as I tried to take pictures in the snow.

We dated for about a month and a half, before telling all of ours friends. Most everyone knew, on at least some level, and expected it of us. After that, things got increasingly more complicated, and there were several times when I actually questioned the decision to tell anyone about us. I don’t like to announce things anyway, but oh well.

Then, one Sunday morning two and a half months after Fella and I started dating, he called it off over pancakes. I don’t want to get into the break-up as much, but I understood and really, there wasn’t anything I could do. He was still nothing short of amazing, which made it all that much harder to get over him. On my first day back to work after that weekend, my back windshield suddenly shattered and collapsed into my car.

As if things weren’t bad enough.

Things got so rough for the next two weeks, and then one day, I realized that we still should be friends, and that if I could still live with him, I was fine with that. We are still really great friends, and he is so supportive. One must always remember – have low expectations, but high hopes. That way you can work toward a goal, but if things don’t work out, you won’t be let down.

In the midst of all of that, I went back to the house to feed my chinchillas, and found that my snake was missing out of her Terrarium. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find any sign of her. This was right before I took my trip in September, and I didn’t really have the time to look.

A while later, I came to do the same thing, and I found Pandora, my lady chinchilla, dead in her cage. I was heartbroken. It was this day that I found my snake, randomly, just laying in front of my bedroom door. A  few days later, I found my male chin, Hesiod, dead as well. And not too long after, my snake also passed. The only thing I can gather is that due to everything that had happened, they fell ill with an upper respiratory infection, or something similar, and I was unable to notice because of my absence.

And that’s the story. The abridged version, kind of. Then, there’s the here and “now”.

Up until the first of December, I was planning on moving back into the house that I had been living in. A lot of work needed done on it, and after months of fighting with the insurance company, they finally settled with my landlord to pay 50,000 dollars for repairs. My landlord set my move [back] in date as mid-December.

Yes!

And then I found out she was thinking of selling it. That was when I started looking for a new place to live, and not terribly long ago, I found this little gem of a place in the mountains (I live in Colorado, remember?). It made it really difficult because even though I no longer had my snake or chinchillas, I still had a dog that needed a yard, and two cats.

While I was looking for a place to live, I was also dealing with career upsettings. All of these things I am talking about – breakups, landlord selling the house, looking for a place to live, career changes, dying pets – are all happening at the same time. The only good thing that came from my roommate dying was Fella, and when that ended, there was nothing good to hang my hat on. I was down and out, and very bitter. I’m still being jerked around at my job, and I don’t know where I will be in even a month. I was trying to do behavior, and then supervisor, and now I don’t know what’s going to happen with it all.

But I did find somewhere to live. The place I found is nestled in the canyon, with the river running through it, placed on 23 acres, 2 of which are fenced. I can live alone and afford it. 

I started moving in last Sunday, and spent my first night here last Friday. I chose this weekend mainly because of the prorated rent, but also because I went to the hot springs for a few days and wanted to deal with it after.

To make everything more difficult still, I fell down some rock steps at the springs, and messed up both feet and ankles. All my toes are bruised, my weight-bearing foot has a sprained/bruised ankle, and my non weight-bearing foot has a huge lump that wraps all the way around the outer portion, and is incredibly bruised. It’s gotten better, but I’m still not back to 100%. That night, I had to climb up the side of the mountain back to the cabin in the snow. It was so incredibly painful, and I wanted nothing more than to be carried, but I had to buck up. I didn’t want to be that girl, so as much as I wanted to cry, I held it back until I was alone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go back to the springs when everyone else did because of my ankle. Another girl friend stayed with me, and we played cards until everyone got back.

When we got back, I started moving, hurt feet and all. And while it’s been physically difficult, it has also been the most emotionally charged move I have ever made, other than the one when I moved from my family to go to college.

Really, living with Fella has been the easiest living situation I’ve ever had. I was happy, but I couldn’t just abandon my pets – I love them! I had no choice but to move out, and not only to I dislike change, but I dislike giving up happiness for the unknown. I live 30 minutes away from all but one friend, have no cell service here, and am genuinely worried that I will become alone and isolated. It hasn’t been bad, but going from seeing someone every night, who cooks amazing food for you, and always has good conversation to living alone again is difficult. I don’t know if I have spoken a single word out loud all day.

The unpacking process hasn’t been easy. Luckily enough, the workers who have been tearing up the house packed up all my stuff. Unfortunately, the basement flooded and some of it got wet/ruined. And then there is the dead roommate that is on all of my stuff. Everything I unpack has to be disinfected. I got a new mattress to help combat that and luckily enough (ish), I don’t have to worry about a couch, but I have had to wash every single article of clothing that I own. It’s been at least 6 or 7 loads of laundry, and I’m still not done with it.

But, I will have my cats and dog back in probably about 2 weeks, maybe 3. This summer, I can host awesome barbecues and we can hang out on the beach and swim in the river. I don’t have to worry about roommates. This basement apartment is pretty big, and open, and new. I literally live over the river and through the woods.

And probably the most exciting part – redecorating. I have big plans, and so many of them are DIY that once I get things settled, I will still have plenty to do.

And now that I’ve updated you, please look forward to a normal number of blogs from me. I apologize that I’ve been so absent. As you can tell, it’s been a roller coaster.

The Idea of Moving

13 Oct

Originally, moving was not in my game plan. Even still I’m a little reluctant.

The house I live in now kind of fell into my lap. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxed landlord, but unfortunately I haven’t been living in my house for 7 weeks. Even that hasn’t been a driving factor, and now that I have internet at the place I’m staying, there is pressure to actual go back to reality.

And the reality of it all is that I’m worried that I’ll never be able to get my friends into my house again. I shouldn’t try to appease them, but really…that’s the only reason I have even considered looking for a new place. Everyone thinks its the best idea, and the best thing for me, but all I see is having to move a ton of furniture and stuff, and having to live with strangers and meet people all over again. It’s overwhelming, really…and now, more than ever, I worry about roommates.

If I could find a 1 bedroom house with a yard that accepts pets in my price range, I would jump on it. But that’s so, so hard to find.

What would you do? Should I appease my friends and move, or should I stick to my guns and tell them to get over it?

Death of a Roommate: One Month Later

24 Sep

First of all, this isn’t going to be a life update. I will save that for when everything is finalized and done.

It has actually been a little over a month, but I haven’t really had the time to post an update. In this month (actually 6 weeks on Friday), I lived with a couple I am friends with for a week, and the remainder of the time I have been living with another good friend (bless his heart for putting up with me for so long). My doggy and my kitties are currently living with my parents.

It has been interesting, but definitely not bad.

The reason I haven’t been living in my house is because the insurance company hasn’t come to an agreement on how much they will spend to repair the damages. Three of the four companies who have done quotes for my landlord have given an estimation of 50,000 dollars in repairs to make the house liveable again. Included in that cost are things like carpet replacement, air filtration, and removing asbestos they found in the ceiling (really, universe…really!?).

It almost feels like I am living in some strange dream when I think of how long it has been since I have been misplaced. And sometimes I don’t even know if I really want to go back to reality.

Well, that’s all I have for you…at least until I update you on my actual life, which will come later. And until then, I don’t suppose I will be blogging much more than I currently am.

See you soon [hopefully].

The Roommate Chronicles: Dealing with Death

19 Aug

I’m not sure even where to start.

I guess I can start at the beginning.

At the beginning of this month, I got a new roommate. I saw him every day for a little over a week, and then my life started to get even busier than it already is. Parties, friends, work, friends, stuff…you know how it goes.

Then, as it started to kind of slow down a tiny bit, I noticed something was wrong. I hadn’t seen him recently.

The feeling came as a smell first. Then it came as flies. Then, I panicked.

But I have great friends, and being who I am, sometimes I just need someone to talk me down and make me actually accept the logical reasons I’ve pushed to the back of my mind as actuality, and that’s just what they did.

But then, it was all validated. On Friday night, at just about midnight, the police came to my house, and discovered that my new roommate was dead in his room.

He’d been there for 5 days.

It’s kind of surreal to get that news, no matter how sure you are that’s what is wrong. Going into this situation that night, two of my friends made attempts to find him themselves, and I’m so glad they didn’t. I would feel terrible if they had been traumatized like that because of me.

I’m so thankful that door was locked.

When I started this series, I never imaged that I would be writing about this. And I almost don’t know what else to say.

Death isn’t something I’ve ever really had to cope with, and while this situation is a little different – I didn’t know him – I still need to deal with the situation.

One second, I’m over it and I just want to go home and continue with my normal routine. The next second, I’m clinging to the friends I was with that night, wishing that they never had to leave my side.

I’m currently staying at one of their houses, because my house is kind of uninhabitable at the moment, but as the week wears on I’m not sure what the next step is.

They keep telling me I need to move, but I don’t really feel that’s necessary. And I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to my house, but the one I’m staying at kind of has an expiration date that’s coming quickly, and the other friend I can stay with will be out of town when that happens. I’m in weird limbo, and I don’t like it.

Maybe I’ll have more to say later. Maybe this is all there is.

30 Day Letter Challenge: Dear Person Who Needs to Forgive Me

24 Jun

Dear Person Who Needs to Forgive Me,

In length, my life is remarkably short, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my share of things that were probably on the edge of terrible.

There is one thing, that only you and a select other few people know of, until now at least, that I’ve done that I really, really wish I hadn’t.

Maybe not done, maybe just thought or said. 

Every day I wish you would forgive me. It’s been about 15 years, and still, nothing.

When Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, I so vividly remember the multiple times I thought I’d tell my parents “I told you so” if they got lung cancer. Every time they lit a cigarette, I was so upset. I thought and maybe even said things that I can’t even get up the courage to say now, and I don’t even know if I told them or if I just kept it to myself.

Regardless…no, Dad. I will not say I told you so. I will not rejoice that you may have gotten a lesson for your years of smoking. I will not be happy if you lose the battle.

But if I did tell you when I was so young, you wouldn’t remember anyway. And you wouldn’t even hold a grudge that needed forgiveness.

I would though. So please, forgive me.

Always, Me