"all Too Entirely Over""I feel like I'm standing at death's doorstep," he said, as I sat there playing Amazing Grace on my harmonica, the only song I know. He was standing at the doorway to the bathroom, facing the living room, having just walked out and ready to go get everything from his house he was gonna need for his stay while trying to get clean.
"He's rummaging around the room in there," said the daughter, who was hunkering down on the couch for the night, keeping her own watch over our best friend as he was coming off pills and alcohol. We were rolling into the third day and it was almost four in morning, so the fact that he was up and moving around was a good sign compared to the day before when he could barely walk, talk, or think at all. His blood sugar dropped earlier the second day, and while we wanted to take him to the hospital then, he was dead set against it. I guess we all figured that by now, things were starting to get better. It was my watch and I spent the entire part of it online, checking in on him from time to time, then finally going into the guest room when I was told he was moving around. Even then, I sat in the chair, my attention mostly on what was going on online. Of course I made sure that he had water, and gatorade, and kept checking his blood sugar, feeding him if I needed to, we had all been doing that for the past day and a half.
He sat up and announced that he needed to go to the bathroom, probably the most clear statement that he was able to speak in the last 24 hours, and he was able to walk on his own without much assistance to get there, although I was right behind him with my hands on his waist the whole time just in case. He had bad hips anyway, and I didn't want him to fall. He went in and closed the door, and I waited outside, leaning against the wall.
His best friend in the entire world, his everything, woke up and walked out in the hallway to see if everything was alright. Her girlfriend woke up a moment later because she was thirsty. We were waiting for him in the hallway.
"How long has he been in there?" I looked at the time, it read 4:40, I said it had only been a couple minutes. She knocked.....no answer. She knocked again, then went in the bathroom.
The world erupted into heartbreaking chaos at that very moment. He sat there on the toilet unresponsive, even to a slap across the face and as she yelled for his attention. There was no pulse. She grabbed his body and ripped him away from the toilet to the floor as quick as I've ever seen anyone move. But the bathroom was so small that his knee got stuck against the bathtub and they struggled, one of them pulling from the hallway to get him out, the other inside the tub trying to dislodge his knee. The daughter, fourteen years old, was already on the phone with 911 and we were frantically trying to get the animals away and move furniture around so the paramedics had room to get to him.
The two were performing CPR as a perfect team to save him.
"I just broke his ribs."
"I can't get an airway!"
"Don't ******* do this to me!!"
So much was happening, but she managed to do all that she could to bring him back while she was dying right along with him, thirteen years of everything together, and I mean everything, was being compressed from her hands to his heart and praying to God to do anything but take him. I was praying for the same, offering up all that I had to save him as well.
They had him, and lost him, the paramedics came and they had him, and lost him. Ambulance lights lit up the block and the sound of cries woke up the block when his mother and father drove up and were given the news. We all stood across the street filled with our own grief, horror, and shame. It took almost four hours before anyone was allowed back in the house again because they sent a homicide investigator, an ultimate stake through the heart. While none of us have the actual answer because his parents won't tell us, the investigator did find a bottle of pain pills in his bag that had just been filled yet missing more than forty. Once everything had been cleared and homicide wasn't considered, they wheeled him out on a stretcher in a black body bag and into the back of a coroners van. That moment was the end of any of us ever being okay again. The sun was finally up, the neighbors were now starting to come out and find out exactly what happened because watching through their windows for the last three hours wasn't good enough, and the start of a new day came with the realization that it was all too entirely real, and all too entirely over.
That bathroom doorway was indeed deaths doorway for him, and I've never played my harmonica again. None of us have ever been the same again since that night.
He wasn't the only one that died that night, or died because of that night, but he's the only one that got any peace out of it. The rest of us our left to live in our deaths.