The Rest of the Story
This relates to my previous post...
Joe's mother arrived at our dealership yesterday morning, having driven all night from Arkansas to get here, along with Joe's older brother and his wife. They came to meet us, to get insurance documents they will need, to pick up his belongings from work and his apartment, and to collect his beloved dog Casey and cat Simba and take them home. Joe's body has not yet been released by the coroner as an autopsy was required. How stupid is that? I mean there were several witnesses to the shooting, not likely he died from anything else, huh? I suppose it is for forensic evidence for the trial.
Joe's mom turned out to be the most lovely lady. While definitely in shock and dealing with great pain, she was so kind and beautiful, and a woman of strong faith which will see her thru this. She knows Joe is in a better place. When she came into the office I got up to give her a hug, and to share my sorrow for her as another mother with a son of the same age. She was sobbing and said simply "he's my baby". Her youngest, as is my son. I cannot imagine her pain. We sat and visited with her, and Joe's brother and sister-in-law for a good while. She told us several stories from his life, and at times we were all laughing thru the tears. When she got up to leave she thanked us for listening, noting that talking about him helped to make what had happened seem not so real, at least for a little while.
The hardest part for Joe's older brother, was when one of the mechanics from the shop brought up his work coveralls and boots. He headed out to the car with them, overcome with emotion and trying hard to "be a man" and not cry. While in the office earlier he had talked to his dad (also Joe's dad) on the phone, making preliminary funeral arrangements. It turns out that Joe's parents divorced before he was born and she raised the kids on her own, but the relationship between them is ok. There will be a full military funeral/burial for Joe in Arkansas, and they will accompany his body safely home to the family. Joe would have liked that a lot.
When they left, they were headed over to Joe's apartment. How hard that would be. His Mom told us that Casey had been with Joe for the last seven years and always came along when he came home to visit. She would make chicken and rice just for Casey. So Casey will be going home with family she already knows and loves, along with Joe's cat Simba. That made us all feel better. When they stopped back by later in the day Joe's mom said they'd found more cat and dog food in the house than people food. Yes, that was Joe, he loved Casey as much as she loved him!
Although it was hard for all of us, I am glad they came so that we could meet them, extend our condolences in person, and share our love and prayers. I think they left realizing that Joe had been a member of our family too.
In the past couple days I've looked up from my desk several times, half expecting Joe to come walking down the hallway and pop his head into the office to say hi, or see Casey come in for greetings all around and the doggie treats she knew we kept on the shelf. It is a sad realization that won't happen ever again. If only people would think before they respond with violence. Senseless. Rest In Peace Joe, you will be missed.