Eighteen Months Later

As of my last post, things were somewhat in limbo. My, how times have changed since then!

In late April 2017, Squishy and I got our own house. Renting, not buying, but at a great price in a nice neighborhood. A week after we moved in, I found out I was pregnant. It was a surprise, but not because we had an oops! We started trying to get pregnant at the beginning of April and apparently we were really, ie immediately, successful. It was awesome.

At the end of May, Squishy’s son came to live with us. We had specifically chosen this house to accommodate 3-4 kids plus ourselves, and it was a good arrangement. My kids went to daycare while I worked, and KS stayed home playing video games and doing whatever preteens do all day. Unfortunately the Brady Bunch dynamic wasn’t happening for us. I had higher expectations for KS than he was used to, as far as tidiness and courtesy. KS hated living with two little kids and having to “answer” to someone who was not his “real parent”. He’d had similar problems with his mom and stepdad, which is why he came to live with us in the first place.

Within a month, KS had been back to visit his mom and decided he wanted to go back and live with her. Squishy and his ex told him he would stay here for the summer and move back before school started. This would be his final move until age 18, as he had already moved back and forth between them three times. Everyone had had enough. In late August he went home to his mom’s.

As you may recall, Poke and I finally divorced in January of 2017. He was ordered to pay child support, and I spent all of February, March, and April fighting with him and his employer. It got to the point where CSEA was going to take both of them to court, and Poke was facing jail time. That was the final threat, and they began complying.

In June, Poke married some girl who lived in South Carolina. She was the ex of an acquaintance, and Poke and I once witnessed her bashing in the windows of our neighbor’s car at 2am. I guess absolutely insane was what he wanted in a wife. Anyway, I was glad that he was someone else’s responsibility now, and I hoped she’d somehow get him on the right path.

In July, JI turned six. As we were sitting at the Chinese buffet, just the two of us, I got a call from Poke’s brother. He informed me that Poke was in the ICU. Squishy came and got JI, and I ran over to the hospital. Poke was in a coma.

He had been drinking for nearly 18 hours with his ex girlfriend. They went to McDonald’s early in the morning, went back to her house, and fell asleep. At some point she noticed that he wasn’t breathing. The EMTs came, and it took 20 minutes to revive him. By the time I got there, he was on life support, completely, with all sources set to the max. He would not recover. Unfortunately Poke’s brother, mother, and I could not make the decision to remove him from life support; because he was married, we had to wait for a complete stranger to come from South Carolina and make the decision.

Poke coded three times during the night, and died just before 7am on the day after JI’s birthday.

I told JI what happened. He wanted to go see his dad, so I took him to the hospital. JI stroked his hair and touched his arm. The wife had arrived after 8am, and was there with her mother. They left us alone with Poke, and we cried. We cried like people in the movies, and I pounded on Poke’s chest. I was so angry for so many reasons. Angry that he’d not taken care of himself, that he’d left me alone with the boys, that he’d made such terrible decisions. Angry over petty things, like no more child support or health insurance for the kids. Angry that he’d broken his mother’s heart.

Over the next week, my angers retreated for rage. His friends were rallying on Facebook, and Poke became a saint. Everyone was “so shocked” by his death. At the service, folks got up and talked about what a “punch to the gut” it was to hear that he’d died. I wanted to punch them all in their faces. Where the fuck were they when Poke was losing his mind, attempting suicide three times in two months, twice in front of JI? Where were they when he tried a fourth time and his mother and brother had to call the cops to physically restrain him due to violent outbursts after drinking two bottles of whiskey, an assortment of other alcohol, and taking different pills he found? Where were all these people who allegedly loved him so much? Nowhere. They knew nothing of the real Poke. It made me sick to hear them prattle on while those of us who dealt with his demons on a daily basis were the ones who hurt the most.

…to be continued.

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