Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Smell of Death

For the past week or so, our three-year-old daughter had repeatedly talked to us about death.

We've always been open & honest with her, included her at every funeral we'd attended since she was born, and was very candid with her when her kitten died a year ago. She was no stranger to the topic of death.

But this time I had no idea what was triggering her frequent death discussions.

She was asking questions about her dead kitten, kept telling us how our oldest dog would die soon, and repeatedly asking questions about "dead" and "deading".


The minute I opened the back door that night, I was overwhelmed with the smell of death.

I came back in and asked my husband if the dogs had gotten anything lately. After all it's not unusual for the larger dogs to kill a raccoon, possum, or other small predator. He didn't know of anything.

I went back out side and shone a light all around. The smell of it was so strong, moreso than I ever remembered. I was convinced it was something rather large, and had to be close to the house.

But alas, it was nearly midnight, and was pitch black out. So since I could not easily see anything from the porch, I decided I'd check again in the morning.

I went back inside and informed hubby that the smell was so strong I wouldn't be surprised if it were a deer or something, but I couldn't see anything from the porch.

I woke up early the next morning, and decided to walk the property looking for whatever was creating the smell of death the night before.

The minute I opened the back door, I was overwhelmed with the smell of... nothing. This took me off guard. As strong as it had been the night before, there was no way it was just gone this morning. Smells much fainter had always produced at least a small kill.

I spent about 20 minutes walking the property. There was nothing. And the smell was gone


Around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I started feeling a pain in my upper abdomen. Convinced it was gas, I excused myself to the bathroom several times over the next couple of hours, in a vain attempt to relieve the pain that was worsening.

It didn't work.

I picked up my daughter from preschool and headed to dinner at a local restaurant. I really would have preferred to go home, considering the pain in my abdomen, but we needed groceries, so a trip to the store was needed before we headed home.

I suffered thru dinner, barely able to eat, the pain was so bad. Around 7 o'clock, I noticed it was getting better, and within another 20 minutes, I told my daughter that my tummy was all better.

As we loaded the groceries in the car, I got a phone call from my mother-in-law. My father-in-law had been taken to the hospital, and she was unable to get in touch with any of her sons. I promised her I would take care of contacting them, not to worry, and I would be at the hospital as soon as I could.


My husband was on shift at the fire house that night. I called the fire house directly, and got in touch with another firefighter, who was able to get my hubs on the phone. I told him what was going on, and to come home.

I then called my sister-in-law. She and her husband were walking a trail in the woods. I gave her the news, and they began running back home.

Then I called my dad, told him what was going on, and asked him to come to the hospital to pick up my daughter. No matter what happened, I knew it was gonna be a long night.

I continued the drive home, unpacked our groceries, and packed my daughter an overnight bag.


While driving to the hospital, my husband called. We always talk on speaker phone, so I knew when he asked me to take him off speaker, I wasn't gonna like what he had to say.

He didn't say it. Never did. Just told me that he didn't want our daughter to see everyone crying in the hospital, so please have my dad meet me in the parking lot.

I understood.


My father-in-law had collapsed at his home shortly after 7pm, likely died en route to the hospital, and was pronounced by the ER doctor at 7:31pm.


Cyndy Bush said...

OMG. I am so sorry for your family's loss. What an odd forboding you all seem to have had.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Very interesting. You and your daughter may have some type of sixth sense. Many kids seem to be more connected with this type of thing.
I got in trouble as a kid when we were trying to decide which campground to go to for vacation and I said it didn't matter because we wouldn't be going anyway. I told everyone that we would be visiting great great grandma's house, but she wouldn't be there. Everyone blamed me for her death. I was six.
I'm glad you are open with your daughter and willing to be honest.

Unknown said...

Peace and healing for your family.

Diane said...

My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. My boys, unfortunately, are no strangers to up close and personal death. It's never easy.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear of the loss. I pray for comfort during this time for you and your family.

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