I found myself sitting at my neighbor's dining table
with two investigators from the sheriff's department.
They had a tape recorder on the table and were informing
me that the interview was being recorded for their
I remember them asking: Did I live at the house?
Did we/I own any guns? Did he have any enemies?
Did he ever threaten suicide?
I truthfully answered 'No' to all those questions.
I don't remember what else they asked.
Next, I remember sitting on the neighbor's porch steps,
looking toward our house, when the back door opened
and saw two EMTs carrying a gurney with Michael's body
in a body bag. A uniformed deputy followed, carrying a
gun that I was later to learn was a .410 shotgun,
the gun he used on himself while sitting on the sofa in
the living room.
I walked to the waiting hearse (not ambulance).
I asked them to let me see my husband.
One of the investigators said that would not be a good
idea. I argued. He stood firm in his refusal.
Eventually, a long time later, I appreciated his judgement.
I numbly watched the hearse pull away.
I remember one of the investigators smiling at me and saying,
"You're really taking this rather well."
I glared at him and sarcastically apologized for my lack of
public hysteria. He stopped smiling.
I turned toward the gate and started to open it.
The investigator said I could not enter the property or the
house until the investigation was complete and as long as
the crime scene tape was in place.
I asked how long that would take and was told it could be
several days to more than a week.
I told them there were four cats and a dog in the house that
needed fresh food and water. NOW.
The lead investigator handed me his business card and said
that after they left I should make sure the tape did not
look like it had been disturbed. I thanked him.
As the officials got in their cars and began to leave, some of
the neighbors gathered around me. I began to hear what they
knew of Michael's last week. And, how he was found that day:
A long-time friend of ours had called Michael to ask if he could
get him a gun suitable for killing rats that were living in the
friend's girlfriend's tool shed. One of our neighbors was known
to brag about his large supply of guns. Michael got the gun from
the neighbor. For the reasonable sum of $50.
The long-time friend was too busy to pick up the gun for several
days. Michael asked the helpful neighbor to show him how to
load and shoot the gun in the woods. Helpful neighbor complied.
According to these neighbors and friends, Michael spent his last
week drinking, bitching about me and shooting in the woods.
No one called me because, they said, they were afraid I might
come back out of sympathy. I recall my therapist telling me, several
months later, that if I had gone back then it might have been our
It was the helpful neighbor and one other neighbor who became
concerned about Michael when he had not been seen or heard
from by noon that Saturday. They entered the house through
the back door, walked through the kitchen to the living room.
He was sitting upright on the sofa, slouched down a bit so the
back of his head was not in view. They had an idea of what they
were going to find as they walked to the front of the sofa.
Michael positioned himself in such a way that the top of the sofa
kept his brain and skull from splattering on the glass-front
bookcase that was about two feet behind him. Considerate, eh?
They said the entry hole was just to the right of center in his
forehead. Brain matter had run, like toothpaste, down his right cheek.
They called 911. They went to the neighbor next door, who then
The neighbors tried to talk me out of going in the house. They offered
to go in with me. I politely refused both offers.
I ducked under the yellow crime scene tape and walked up the
driveway to the back door and walked, slowly, inside.
Somehow, I managed to take care of the animals before I let myself
look at the sofa. I could tell where his head had rested.
A dark red, wet stain was on the back cushion scattered with bits
of bone, skin and brain. I remember trembling.
I don't remember the drive back to my apartment.
I had a long list of people to call.