Living With Don Johnson

Archive for June 2012


Posted on: June 25, 2012

So, here is something that I don’t understand. And the reason that I don’t understand it is because I have never had a pet die. Okay, I’ve had a hamster and some fish die, but that is totally different since I couldn’t really play with my hamster (he was a mean mean mean hamster), and I couldn’t play with my fish. Althought, Wendy did once try to play with her fish. I had a dog, Glory, with my exhusband, but he kept the dog in the divorce (and then gave her away). And Fez ran away before we left Texas. Neither animal died while living in my home.

Over the year that I have worked at the bookstore, there have been people whose pets have died. And each time, they have called out from work for several days. This is something that I’m trying to be sympathetic about. But I just don’t get it. In my head (and I think this each and everytime it happens at work), I think “It was just a dog or a cat. It’s not like it was your kid or a parent or a sibling.” Dogs and cats can be replaced.

When my brother died, if I hadn’t had to fly home to help my mom, I would have been at work the next day because I’m a grown up and I still have responsibilities to work and other people that have to be met and taken care of. As it was, I felt bad about leaving so suddenly because our manager was gone and we were already short stafffed.

I don’t understand it. And I don’t understand it because I haven’t gone through it. I have lost a brother though. So, please forgive me if I don’t give you any sympathy when I see you crying hysterically over your cat/dog/bird. Don’t ever tell me “You know what I’m going through because your brother died.” Puh-lease. Are you going to lump the death of my brother into the same category as your pet? I think not. They are not the same.


On a much lighter note, Don Johnson and I went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter the other day. It was a fantastic movie. I had my reservations going in to it. I thought that it was going to be really campy and stupid. Kinda like ‘Cowboys & Aliens.’ Boy was I wrong! This was a very well made movie. I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed Snow White & the Huntsman. So far, Abe Lincoln is in the number 2 slot for our favorite movies this year. Avengers is in the number 1 slot, obviously. We’re also looking forward to the Dark Knight movie which comes out in July. I want to go see Rock of Ages, but I’m not sure if I can convince Don Johnson to go with me or not. I might be seeing that one by myself. He wants to go see ‘Ted’ when it comes out. I think it looks incredibly stupid. So, I probably won’t go see that one.


This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted on: June 9, 2012

Today (Saturday, the night I am writing this. But, it will probably get posted on Sunday) is 4 weeks since Douglas died suddenly. It still feels extremely surreal. I imagine it feels the same way for my mom. It probably feels worse for her than it does for me. I didn’t talk to Doug every day or even every week. We’d probably text once a month or so. We saw each other once a year on our traditional 4th of July vacations with my parents. He and mom sent text messages every day, and they saw each other weekly. So, I know that it is hard for my mom. I

I can sometimes forget that he is gone because, while I love(d) him, he wasn’t a part of my everyday life. So, I haven’t had that part of my life disrupted. I feel terrible for saying that sometimes I can forget. It doesn’t mean that I miss him any less or that I loved him any less. It does mean that when I do think about it or something triggers a memory, it hits me hard each time. My friend, Kristi, was watching the Memorial Day Concert on TV and told me there was a song (If the Sun Comes Up) by Trace Adkins that made her think of everything that had happened recently. I waited to watch it when it was replayed on the PBS station out here, and I was bawling like a baby because the song hit home.

It’s rough. And there is no handbook or rules on how to handle a situation like this, so we are all just floundering along and hoping that one day we will find a new normal. I wish I knew what day that was gonna be. I’d love to be able to count down to that day and know that on this particular day, I’m going to wake up and life will feel normal again.

They say that funerals bring out the best or the worst in people. I have found that to be true. Sometimes, it also brings out the crazy, but I won’t go into that here. That will be a locked blog post that will happen in the future; hopefully, it won’t take me too long to get that posted. Some of my friends from high school and college really stepped up to the plate to help out. Karen came down the day we made funeral arrangements. Kristi brought food the first night I was back in Killeen, and she read my post about Doug at the funeral. My Head Start and Starbucks coworkers helped by picking me up from the airport and bringing food. I won’t go into the worst either. That will probably be a part of that password protected post in the future.

I was out there in Killeen for a week. I don’t think that anyone has any idea of how difficult it is to have to pick out a burial plot for your younger sibling. It is something that no one should ever have to do unless they are 90 years old already. But, I did it, and I survived. And there was a lot of thought that went in to where Doug was placed. We were good friends with the Tuthill family when we attended Immanuel Lutheran Church in Killeen. I babysat the 3 Tuthill children for many years. Becky, the mom, died a couple of years ago, and she is buried in the same cemetery. There was a plot available right in front of Becky. I picked that spot so that Doug would be close to someone he knew. The logical part of my brain knows and understands that the Doug I grew up with really isn’t in that casket it is just his shell. So, I know that the body in the casket really didn’t care about where or how it was buried. But, the mommy part of my brain and heart needed to know that he was next to someone he knew.  The day of the funeral, I didn’t want to leave the cemetery because I felt like I was abandoning him. Me, who was prepared to fight the doctors when he was an infant to keep them from taking him away from me, had left him there all by himself. How could I have done that? We went back to the cemetery the next day, and I saw how close he was buried to Becky, and my mom and I talked about it. We knew that Becky was a mom and that her kids were the most important things in the world to her. So we knew that Becky would look out for Doug. That made me feel a lot better about leaving him there.

I don’t know if it was fate or Doug or just coincidence, but we had 3 funny things happen during the funeral service and immediately afterwards. When I was growing up, my mom always mentioned that things seem to happen in 3s. Famous people always seem to die in sets of 3. During the funeral, a Bud Light truck drove by. Doug was a good German kid and liked his beer. And a school bus drove by the gravesite (Doug was in his first year of teaching). And as we were driving away from the cemetery, some teenagers were playing catch with a football, and they threw the football over the limo as we were driving away. Were they signs from Doug? I don’t know for sure, but each event did make us smile and think about him. Just this week, we were in Vegas. As I was walking through the casino at Caesar’s Palace, the TVs switched to the Mariner’s game right as I walked by. Vegas was the last place that Doug and I spent time together.

It was hard telling Wendy why I was gone for a week. She cried. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell her initially, but I remembered that we’d talked about her great-grandma dying a couple of years ago, so I brought that up and transitioned into Douglas from there. I knew that she’d have a hard time dealing with it. So, I had a stuffed animal that belonged to Doug to give to Wendy. And I told her that she could write a letter to Doug and send it up to Heaven on some balloons. So, we did that. We got blue and green balloons to send Wendy’s letter up to Heaven. That seemed to help her. The day Wendy released the balloons was also the same day as the eclipse. We took Wendy up to a park in Palos Verdes in an attempt to view the eclipse. We were having some difficulties since we couldn’t find the eclipse glasses, but then something cool happened. As we were sitting there waiting for the moon to get into place, the fog rolled in. And the marine layer moved in. This acted as a filter for the eclipse. We could see the eclipse without needing sun protection. It was so cool. There was just enough fog to see the eclipse but not enough that we couldn’t see the sung. It was pretty neat. As we were packing up, Wendy says “Mom, I know why that eclipse happened.” I asked her why she thought the eclipse happened. She says “That was Uncle Doug’s way of telling me that he got my letter.” I got choked up a bit, and I had to agree with her because thinking that Uncle Doug got her letter meant so much to her, and I wasn’t going to take that away from her.

Don, Wendy, and I flew back to Killeen last week. We had the tickets and it seemed a shame to let them go to waste since my mom had promised Wendy a shopping spree for her birthday. We went to visit my grandparents while we were in town. That was hard. Growing up, my grandma was my most favoritest person in the entire world. I grew up having her tell me that the sun rose and set for me. Every single time she saw me, she’d tell me that. And she’d sing me “K-k-k-k-Katy.” She didn’t do that this time. She’s been having some memory issues for the last couple of years. So, while I was visiting my Grandma, it still didn’t feel like I was visiting my Grandma. That was really hard. She had a certain way of laughing and saying “Oh, Katie” when she was going to tell me something funny or crazy. And she didn’t do that. While I saw her, it didn’t feel like I was actually visiting MY grandma (if that makes any sense).  The constants in my life are changing. They aren’t so constant anymore. My mom is a constant. That constant hasn’t changed. Being the center of my grandma’s universe was a constant (or at least being told that I was the center of the universe was the constant). That did change.

I know that life changes as we get older. I just wish it didn’t change this much. I don’t care for change.

%d bloggers like this: