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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Selfish Acts

I'm finally feeling somewhat caught up after the crazy weekend at Tiki Oasis. It was such hard work, but so worth it. I'll have more about that later. Right now, I just feel angry and I've been trying to wrap my head around it since Sunday night.

When we got home from San Diego and Charlie pulled into the drive, I RAN in the house because my poor bladder could not wait another second. While I was inside, Charlie got our luggage and a few things out of Wes' truck. Our neighbor Kathy, who was walking her dog Rex as she does every evening, greeted Charlie and asked about the weekend. After a bit of smalltalk, Charlie asked her how she was. He did not expect the response she gave him. She told him that she'd been very depressed the last few days. That's not like Kathy. She's always a bright, happy spirit. She always has a smile on her face, always something nice to say whenever you see her.

She began to tell Charlie of the source of her pain over this past week. Our tract of homes surrounds a neighborhood park. My kids have grown up playing in that park. It's a popular little park with a very large grassy area. On the weekends, it isn't surprising to see many family picnics happening. A group of seniors often play bocci ball there. Another group practices their Tai Chi. There are sand volleyball courts, a basketball court, and also a racquetball court. Sometimes, Charlie and I like to walk a couple of laps around the park with Ellie in the cool of the evenings. Kathy walks Rex early in the mornings. Very early. Every morning. It seems on her usual early morning walk with Rex last Saturday, she was coming up to a stand of trees when she saw from a distance what appeared to be a dummy slumped up under a branch. Perhaps a joke of some kind that kids might have left after a party. As she got closer, she says her knees began to buckle. She realized it was a person. A person hanging from the tree. A woman.

She says she literally started shaking, and just as she saw this horrific sight, a neighbor whose home literally butts up against the park stepped out of their house to pick up their morning paper. The neighbor screamed and ran into her house to get her husband. Kathy says she froze. Though she had her phone with her, she says she could not get her wits about her enough to dial her phone, and even if she could, she says she was shaking so much, that she couldn't hold her hands still long enough to push the buttons. The neighbor came out and called 911 and soon, the police arrived.

Kathy told Charlie that since this happened, she's been so traumatized that she cannot walk in the park. She's been taking Rex for walks in the opposite direction, away from our tract. Away from the park. She isn't angry yet, she's just sad and depressed. But I'm pretty pissed. I'm pissed that this stupid woman could do something like this in our little park. Our park where our children play. Our park, where so many people find joy. Our park, where Kathy and Rex walked every single day for YEARS. She did it on a Saturday morning, when the likelihood of families arriving for picnics and fun with their kids could possibly see her. I didn't know her story, but to tell you the truth, I didn't care.

Now I DO know her story and I'm even angrier. I did some research yesterday morning and found out that this woman was 51 years old (she would have been 52 on Sunday). She was convicted of defrauding her company and embezzling over $550,000. She was facing 10 years in federal prison. On Friday, she did not show up for her sentence hearing and the FBI put out a warrant for her arrest. The company she works for is little more than a block away from the park. They found her car parked at her work, but no sign of her. That's because the crazy woman walked over to our little park and hung herself.

I know it sounds so harsh. But I have NO sympathy for this behavior. Charlie's father committed suicide and did it in such a way that his family would find him and have to clean up a rather ugly mess. Actually, Charlie was the one who had to do that. A selfish act by a selfish man who never thought about anyone but himself. The last memory he leaves for his only son is to clean up his blood and brain matter spattered in the garage. The only thing I give him is that he did it OUT of public view, behind closed doors. Still, what a jerk to leave your family and your responsibilities that way. Bastard. That's what I think of this woman. A selfish act by a selfish woman. Instead of taking her punishment, she hangs herself in a public park for some innocent, unsuspecting person to find, leaving her family to live through the mess she leaves behind. Poor Kathy, out walking her dog, embracing the new day as she always does, and she walks right into this horror. And now, she says she keeps seeing it over and over. She says she was glad it was early enough that children weren't in the park yet and she wonders about the woman's family. I'm angry for her family. What a cowardly thing to do, and even worse, to do it so openly.

Charlie told Kathy that if she needed to talk, we were here. He understands what she's going through. It's a hard visual to get past. Until it does pass, she can't bring herself to walk in the park. And I'm mad as hell that that stupid woman took that away from Kathy.