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.
This week has been filled with a number of tasks that for many are probably not a ‘big deal’, but to me they are the foundation of skills I must either remind myself I have or must learn to be able to survive at our place here in bush Alaska.
Getting spark plugs pulled-burned out until replacements arrive, getting cold circulation pumps going-with oiled gas in the air intake area, securing heavy tank loads with chain and a come-along, making sure equipment is plugged in long enough to warm for starting in our below freezing weather, knowing just how far you can take a 500+ gal tank up in the air-tilting it down so you can gravity feed the tanks…..all without either getting hurt, spilling fuel all over or damaging something. On top of all of this happening, with the everything being coated in ice due to earlier freezing rain, you are trying to stay warm while it rains and freezes MORE. Lots of little tasks that added up to a win for me, and reminding me I should be capable to accomplish much of this.
Now after working several days to get things secure for a cold snap, down to single digits or less, that should roll in tonight I can sit at our bay window that looks out to the “front” yard….miles of river just steps away and a mountain range some 20 miles or so away that is made up of active (steaming almost daily) volcanoes.
While the critters dream and snore on occasion I can watch the winter sun travel the last hour or two out towards the bay and then finally setting. When asked why I do not “pack it in” and return to a life in the big city, filled with restaurants, live theater, and a much easier life, this is why. The beauty. The peace. The quiet. The wildlife. The wonder of rural Alaska!!
If the cold does roll in overnight and tomorrow is too cold to do more than the most critical chores I will probably catch up on some bread baking, more planning for the plant seeding that much start soon and some much needed paperwork.