Earlier this week the death of my spouse became official, although I do not have a Certificate of Death in hand, as of yet.
When someone disappears, even when the evidence is overwhelming that they have perished, you cannot immediately proceed as if they were dead.
You must, at least in the State of Alaska, go before a jury, present evidence that would lead someone to reasonably come to the conclusion they have died.
Six people sat in a courtroom earlier this week for part of a day. They listened to an attorney present a timeline of events, witnesses and representatives of organizations who searched, pictures, documents and other details. Included in all of this was my testimony. As the attorney stated it was the first time I had spoken publicly of the events. They preformed a service that I am thankful for, including the hugs and condolences they offered when we were done.
The jury was allowed to ask questions of the witnesses, and they did.
At the end of all the presentations they went into the jury room to make a decision and come back into the courtroom to make it public.
They agreed it could be presumed there was a death.
Now those of us who loved him can take one more step in healing. I am not sure I can say ‘closure’ as there is no body to mourn. No answers as to what happened or how, or even when exactly.
It might be “just a piece of paper” but hopefully it will continue to make the difference it has the last few days.
The tears have not stopped. The “hole” has not been filled but hopefully, little by little, more healing will happen.