It’s much easier to write a headline than a story, at least for me, at least this story. Just as it was much easier to remain locked into the role of Bitter Ex-wife and Mama Bear fighting for the financial rights of her child than to suddenly, after one 4am phone call, be recast into the role of Grieving Widow.
Marty died on 5/10/20, which I appreciate for the ease of remembering factor. And as so often happens in these situations, I picked up the phone at the nothing good comes at the hour of 4:30 in the morning, and when it’s a police officer in Los Angeles asking if I was related to Marty, the brain still isn’t functioning, and I explained who I was and before he could even ask me to confirm his birthday, I asked why, why, why, and in my cerebral chaos I was able to give him the month and the day, but the year of his birth was being overshadowed by the screaming weirdness of my brain beginning to understand that what was happening at that moment was happening to ME, so I couldn’t find the year in that mess between my ears, but the day and month were enough so he told me that Marty had died. And the journey from that moment to this moment right here is… multi-layered. How’s that for a meaningless descriptor?
I had to tell my daughter that her father suddenly died over Facetime. It’s worse than it sounds. Harder than it sounds. And I then I walked zombie-like through everything, the way people do when they’re dealing with death, only because we were three months into COVID-19 I was completely alone, which made the experience even more surreal. No hugs, pats, arm rubs, cups of tea placed into my hand. No help. Just moving through the “to do list,” which included letting his friends know, and, because friends inevitably take sides in a split, they were notified via social media and I gave not one shit at that point how tacky that was. It was private, a direct message, just to note that it could’ve been a smidge tackier, and when that information was disseminated, what happened next was the most beautiful thing that could ever have happened.
When Marty’s friends spread the word that he had died, the world not only noticed, the world gave him everything he had always wanted. It was astonishing to both me and our daughter that Marty was beloved. A “legend”. A fucking legend. And his legacy was his work. And the collateral damage?
His wife and his daughter.
To be continued…