Cafe Hitch-hike


The first to tell her goodbye

This morning, I enjoyed the view of the yellow rays of light beaming over the trees as the sun rose from the east. The view is a beautiful start to the day while I let out my dog. Then came the thought that this was one day Ariel wouldn't get to see, and I realized this was the first day of living with her gone.

I was so exhausted last night from all the chatter, thinking, and feeling that I actually fell asleep. Her mother Beads is starting to talk more. She said she did the best she could with Ariel and her behavior and that she was always there for her. She was posting and sending pics, including the following screenshot from her phone:

B: (On October 6) Hru daughter if u don't answer me and ur dad we gna report u as missing person we need to make sure ur ok at all times even a hi Mom Bk or something would be good love you message me BK

Ariel: (The next day at 11:42 PM) I'm good. u tripping :-*

B: Lol no I just Wana make sure ur ok daughter <3 :D

B: (On Thu., October 24 at 11:44 PM) Daughter...... Heyyyyyyy

B: (On Fri., October 25 at 12:10 PM) Hi daughter

B: (On Friday, October 25 at 3:45 PM) Daughter

The house fire was reported on Friday, October 25 at about 10:20 AM and the fire department arrived within a few minutes. Sometime between my sister's Thursday message and the followup was when Ariel probably died.

Uncle Joe was the first person in his generation to die at age 61, of natural causes. No one in my generation has died. Ariel was the first in hers to go at age 18 of unnatural causes, and a year and 25 days after him. It hurt to realize how soon this happened, and to see both her age and that she's the current generation of my family's young adults.

I am still numb, although I feel an occasional wave hit me inside.

A reporter got in touch with me about what she knew about the case. The police would not verify with her if the body was Ariel's but since they were in touch with Beads and identified it, we are sure it is hers. The reporter said she would stay on it.

My big concern was for the case to fall between the cracks and go unsolved. Since the police caught the guy last seen with Ariel (who was trying to leave Orlando in a stolen car) and have surveillance video from a nearby corner store with him and her, they have information. Also, one of Ariel's friends who is social media friends with one of my nieces said he hung out with her a day or 2 before she died. As it turned out, the friend lived in the neighborhood and was surprised to learn she was in the house fire. I am highly sure Orlando PD got in touch with him.

Tonight, Beads and her friends are having a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil at their favorite park along the river in our hometown. They will play a song at 7:00 PM, during that moment of silence, and it will stream it live. I think that will be Ariel's service. Beads has no money for a funeral, and even if she did, she was probably too distraught to think about having to do one.

Sometime this weekend or Monday, I may be heading to Orlando to see Ariel's remains into the crematorium. Beads was not asked to identify the body and was not going to Orlando, so I said I would go in her place for Ariel's cremation. Ariel wasn't raised with any religion, but I will say a prayer for her and maybe find a sheath I can place over her if they allow that; I'm sure it would be a comfort to her Lebanese grandparents and father, and my mother and family members who are Catholic. I was told the crematorium would send the ashes to Beads, so I wouldn't need to do that. I guess my part, if I am actually able to go and am provided adequate information, is simply to be present, and be the first person in the family to tell her goodbye.

downwind | upstream