01 December 2007

An Unpleasant Visit

I've been in a morgue only once, and that was more than I had ever thought would happen.

Gerald was the youngest of six children, about 5' 9'' tall, blue eyes. He had married, had children and then was divorced when his alcoholism got in the way of his life. He told me that he had never suffered a hangover no matter how much or how long he drank. He would run out the drunk then check into the hospital to dry out. In between bouts, he hung around those of us who did drink, but said he didn't mind. The last time he went in to dry out he was told that his system couldn't handle the strain of another treatment.
His sister had divorced my brother and moved into a house in Rochester with her children; Gerald would stay there off and on. When she moved to the suburbs, he stayed on at the house and started drinking again.
My brother and his son went to the house one day to check on Gerald and found him sitting in a chair in the basement with a shotgun to his chest - dead. The police were called and it was ruled a suicide. The kitchen cupboards were filled with almost empty whiskey bottles. Someone had told Gerald that one could always tell an alcoholic because they drained every bottle; we think he always left a little in the bottle so he wouldn't be so labeled.
The police wanted positive identification, but his sister didn't want to go, so my brother and I went. Fred wouldn't go look at the body so it fell to me. It was Gerald.
I hope I never have to visit another morgue.

1 comment:

chloespop said...

A sad story. Having had an alcoholic wife, it rang a bell with me. Fortunately, she quit drinking and the last sixteen years of her life were alcohol free.