Thursday, May 8, 2014

When the calls came, Part 2

The next week began. Back when we had been passing out fliers, Victor asked if he could have one. Of course! He folded it and kept it with him all the time. He would take it out during school and look at it. He was trying to process that his brother was missing... and there weren't many answers. When your children struggle and hurt, it tears your heart into more pieces. I tried my very best to keep my own pain from showing when I was around Joseph and Victor... I didn't want to add to what they were feeling. The older siblings and I had still not given the younger boys all of the information. We felt like they should live as normally as possible until we had some confirmation of what happened to Nathan.

Shasta paced around the house. One afternoon she broke down in tears, sharing that she went on facebook to look for any picture of Nathan that she had. Any picture at all. And she couldn't find one. You see, Nathan had gone to live with his dad for all of high school and this was his senior year. Shasta had been out of high school for 4 years already and was married and a mommy. We did all get together for special events... but I had those pictures, not Shasta.

I went to work, trying to stay in a routine, not knowing what each day would hold. Every couple of days I would receive a call from a Sheriff, updating me on the search for Nathan, sometimes with very little new information.

December 9th Not sure if this was the day it was done or just the day I was told that forensic specialists went through Nathan's bedroom. They took his computer, notebooks and journals and began hacking into his accounts.

To describe what it's like to live through this... I had my strong feeling about Nathan having ended his life, yet there was no confirmation... so there is just waiting... and having to live each day while waiting. As a single parent with bills, that meant waiting and working. I didn't sleep much, I felt nervous. I ached deep inside and wanted to double over to help the ache, but I couldn't just double over when out and about. This is what I wrote on the 9th:

"and it was as if everyone else was moving and living and i was in an alternate state...
you know you are not
and that you have to get thru the day
but you feel such sadness
and my laugh feels like it is missing a tone...
and how do you say that your smile seems fake in other words that sound poetic???"
I cant help thinking that an almighty God could DO something on all of our behalfs...
i try to keep faith
but it is worn very thin by now."

To say I felt like a zombie almost makes sense... but I don't really know how a zombie feels. What I do know is there were many times in those days that I felt like I was not in my own body... everything felt foreign... I felt numb and out of place. And it was as if my brains had been replaced with fluff. Honestly, it was a challenge to complete a sentence. I would start to say something and in the middle of the words I had no idea what I was saying.

When I received the call from a sheriff that investigators had gotten through the blocks on my son's computer, I had a very sad smile when I was told how very intelligent Nathan was. He was brilliant. I was told that the first thing they found was what is called a suicide note. It was also explained that he had written more notes on his computer, but that they were the sorts of things that investigators liked to share in person... but not over the phone. I was asked if we could meet the following day and that I would be given copies of all that was found on the computer. Sure. Okay. Next part of the call was to inform me that special teams would be searching along the beach and out in the water, offshore, near the area where his bike was found, looking to recover his body.

More numbness. Less sleep. And I got up, took boys to school and went to work. That's what some moms have to do.

The morning of the 12th the split second that I woke up, I said, "Today is the day that my son will be found."

I think I went to work that morning. I came home and my daughter, Bek, had asked a close friend to stop in and be with me. I was surprised when I answered the door and Debbie was there. She had a coffee for each of us and a protein snack for me. She came in and sat with me. I was nervous, pacing a little. Always waiting for another call. The meeting with the sheriff had been cancelled because searchers could recover the body at any time and he needed to be available for that... 100 miles away. Debbie asked what she could do and I asked if she would take presents that I had made and wrapped and mail them to my family for me. Sometime in there I got another phone call.

"Ms. Warren, we need to let you know that at this time a body is being taken from the ocean, next to the pier. Tides are very tricky to work in and we don't know why it wasn't discovered by now. Some fishermen spotted it. The beach is closed and we're sorry to say that it is already on the news. We wanted you to know."

I asked if I could see the body. Nope. Well, I learned that real life isn't like what we see on tv. They don't unzip a bag and ask parents to identify the body. It just isn't done that way. At least not in this case. I looked up and watched every news clip I could to see if I could see a shape that was my son. Nope. I did learn from the news that the body had been weighted down, which kept it from surfacing sooner. During the next call the sheriff was not willing to tell me that the body could be or was my son's. They just don't tell you until a dna or dental record confirmation is made. I pressed him further. Of course this was Nathan. But no one would say so. Finally, reluctantly, I was told that the shoes on the body looked as though they were the shoes in pictures of Nathan. That was all I was going to get. I had learned within the previous 36 hours of this that it had occurred to parents where Nathan lived that exercise weights were missing from the bedroom closet.

My oldest son, Stephen and his best friend, Michael had arrived to spend some time with us and be a support to the boys and I. Dental records were requested, however that dentist office was closed on Friday, so that would have to wait until Monday. Nathan's fingerprint was on his id card, so that was given to the coroners and there were hopes that the fingerprints on the body had not deteriorated. If they were able to match up the fingerprints we might get a confirmation sooner. When I took this call I had walked into the boys bedroom. Joseph and Victor were not home, but Stephen and Michael stood with me as I took in this information. Stephen looked into my eyes and I shook my head. At the end of the call, his arms were around me and I shook and sobbed. He held me up. I cried it out for a while and I cry again as I write this. It is a horrible, horrible thing to lose a child. A while later, Stephen gave in to grief and let out a good bit of tears. It was my turn, along with Michael, to wrap my arms around him.

That day when I left to get Joseph and Victor we decided when they got home, we would let them know. I can't find words to tell how badly I wanted them to be protected from the pain. When we got home, Stephen and Michael joined me and we shared the information with the younger boys. They had many questions. They did not want to believe that Nathan did this. But when it registered that this was real, it was unsettling how they handled it. Maybe they felt like they needed to be mature like the older boys. Maybe they felt like they couldn't cry in front of their mom. They took in the information as if they were 30 year old men who had heard that a distant cousin had died.

That weekend was the Saturday that we had planned on our family Christmas party. We decided since gifts had been purchased and because we also needed to be with each other that we would have our party. Zoey was struggling and couldn't make it. Bek and Nick arrived. Now all this time extended family was notified. My oldest brother, Ron, took the news quite badly. He was very concerned about me. He knows that I will put on my strong face, take a deep breath and move forward in front of all my children. He encouraged Bek to keep an eye on me and get me to cry it out some more. Sheesh. Thanks, Ron. (I'm smiling) Well, Bek did just that. Younger boys were put to bed, it was getting late. Nick, Bek, Shasta and I stood around the kitchen island. I'm sure Stephen and Michael were around, too. We were telling stories and I started to tell one and started laughing. That was it. I could not stop laughing and suddenly realized I was no longer laughing, but crying. A lot. Shasta and Rebekah took me to my room and held me for I don't know how long, as I sobbed and sobbed. They took turns holding me and staying with me until I was sleeping. Bek and Nick had an air mattress in front living room. Sometime later a couple hours later, I woke up and got out of bed. Bek says I went in to the front room and stood there, staring down and her and Nick. They realized I was there and I think Bek called out, "Mom? Do you want to lay down with us?" And I said yes, and joined them. Nick's arms went around Bek and me. I fell asleep again. Some time later the bed had deflated quite a bit and this 40-something lady had to get up and go back to her own bed.

Everyone pitched in. Nick's mom arrived the next day with food, food, food. She stayed and it was such a blessing because she would just get in the kitchen and wash dishes and help out. She and Nick's daughter would start a game of bananagrams and different people would join in. I was still so bewildered by this all happening. My very dear boss stopped by and shared that the company would be paying me for full time hours for the following two weeks and for me to take those weeks off. More food came. Support from many lovely, loving people who had been praying all along surrounded us.

I had not heard anything at all from my ex-husband since the first phone call. It didn't take long to realize that I would not be consulted regarding my son's remains or a memorial. In fact, from bits of information I received from my adult children, I would be lucky to receive a very, very small portion of the remains. Fortunately, the laws were on my side and I was able to come up with a way of having complete access to my son. Although it may sound terribly morbid, I longed to be near Nathan's body. I asked more than once to be able to see my son. An autopsy was performed and the body was being held in cold storage until papers were signed with a mortuary. I didn't care if I was unable to touch him, I just wanted to be near him. But, it was not to be. I was told based on natures way of dealing with a body in the ocean and the number of days until he was recovered and the health standards involved in handling a body in such a state, I could not. I did accept that. I only share this because it shows how deeply I longed to say good-bye. You ache so deeply inside that it really cannot be described. You long with such intense pain for something you cannot have back.

On December 15th Karla shared with me a most beautiful message.

"Ok, so, the other night I was driving home, the day after Nathan was found...
and I was listening to the radio.
Music is so important to me....
and the last song that played, when we were getting home was a song that made me think of you and Nathan...for many reasons...
It's called "Oceans".
Personally, I am passionately in love with the ocean.
And being a mother, I instantly wondered how loosing my son in the ocean would make me feel ABOUT the OCEAN....
and I was sad, as I was listening to the song...
and I listened
and cried
and praised God at His gentleness...and love....
and I had wanted to share the song with you...
but I couldn't find if for a wihle (I didn't know the name of it at the time...)
and then the next day, I found it, and listened to it again...and thought, wow...God is amazing.
The Holy Spirit was showing me His love through these words...
Well, (PLEASE DONT LOOK UP THE SONG YET! LOL I want to share this with you...)
This morning, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, as I was getting ready to listen to it again, thinking of sending it to you...
and you know what He said?
He told me to listen to it, as if I were Nathan, or from Nathan's perspective, and to understand His love for us...What satan meant for evil...HE MAKES GOOD!
And I was like!!!?!????! WOW!
So, with that set up, will you listen to this song....
God did NOT call him to the ocean, satan wanted to take out as many of God's children as he could in ONE FELL SWOOP, and God said to me, through this song, that WHAT SATAN MEANT FOR EVIL, I WILL AND HAVE MADE FOR GOOD! God gave me a glimpse into a very intimate moment, where Nathan was EMBRACED by HIS GOD! Where he met his God, and God was THERE with him..."

Oceans by Hillsong. It truly is remarkable how this song speaks to us.

Karla continued with another message that is important for me to share, because her life was blessed through this experience. If others can be strengthened... if others can benefit from understanding this path that I am on... of others can learn about my dear Nathan and prevent someone... even themselves... from ending life... then it is an honor to share.

"It's kind of breathtaking for me, because I feel like, even though I'm disconnected to you all down there, I am so deeply connected to all of you...and the fact that the Lord is using this whole thing to show Himself to ME and OTHERS like He has been has been so precious to me.
I feel like the Lord has taken what could have/would have caused me heart break and depression, through my personal healing and learning, He's shown me HIMSELF on such a deeper level, and strengthened me...because of Nathan...because of you. And your kids.
I'm not sure if you make this connection, so I'll make it for you...I relate more to your children's heartache and struggle, due to what I've been through...THEN I relate to YOU as a MOTHER...
So, I have a deep understanding of where Nathan was coming from, even though his experiences were different and we're different people."

Stephen and Nathan

Shasta, Rebekah, Stephen, Julie (Zoey), Nathan, and baby Joseph

My four sons

Mommy and Nathan

Thank you for reading along. My wish is that my story can help others. I have so much more to share...

1 comment:

Karla Marie said...

Oh, my, Betty. <3 Deep, cleansing breath. That means so much to me, to hear your perspective, connected to mine, and see how He cares so much about the details of our lives. Thank you for sharing.