Cafe Hitch-hike


Walking through it

What next? Due to the development of a funeral being planned (and paid for), some other new developments followed.

Hooray. I get to visit the hometown after all. I'll leave Wednesday and arrive on Thursday. If things are timed correctly, I may be able to attend Arielle's cremation and/or pick up her ashes on my way up. But, that is a secondary concern; the ashes will make it up north, one way or another.

I'll be picking up my brothers Deebo and (cousin) Drew on the way up. We might put a white cross in front of the abandoned home where she was found. Then, we'll pick up Mom who got a cheap flight to Indianapolis, and then head to the hometown. The funeral should be on Friday or Saturday.

Those who are joining this caravan are at least finding humor in having a road trip (we nicknamed ourselves The Griswalds like Chevy Chase's family in Vacation and are getting plenty of needed laughs out of that). My sis Lana the Wild Child might join us, but she was giving Mom a lot of trouble. If she does join us, we unanimously agreed we will tie her to the roof of the car like Aunt Helen in Vacation. We also joked we will get a tranquilizer gun and Deebo (who was a sharpshooter in Army ROTC) can shoot her in the neck with a tranq dart when she gets out of hand. Although we all love Lana and want her to be there, we came to the conclusion (after some discussion and disappointment) that it may be best that she isn't or else she would cause serious drama at the funeral.

The Case Itself. So far, the Orlando PD has been engaged with the case and with my family. The (female) detective assigned is from Michigan and joined the force in the mid-80s, and she has passed along as much information as she can. Orlando PD's victims services has also been very responsive and supportive. Witnesses came forward with information, and they have circumstantial evidence against the last person seen with Arielle. With all things considered, the case is getting ideal treatment from law enforcement at this time.

The News. My hometown's news channel filmed the candlelight vigil that took place last Friday. I wrote 2 Orlando-based journalists who initially covered the house fire story where Arielle was found. The reporter at one of the stations got in touch with their affiliate in the hometown, who then got in touch with my sisters and they agreed to be recorded. This was positive coverage, and it was our public call for answers and justice.

It has been very difficult for my family, and the details make it more. This case probably won't see the inside of a courtroom for a year and won't be resolved for quite a while. At least the investigation has traction, and the family can get together after all.

The Family. Considering that my sister and Georges, the father, are sickened and weakened with grief, they both have a lot of support. Sis Big Momma has been Bead's right hand woman, and Sis Rosepetal has been the social coordinator. Soon, bro Deebo will be there (he and Beads are very close) and so will Drew (Deebo's BFF and also a good friend to B.). I'll play my part by hopefully getting my niece's ashes, transporting all of us safely to the hometown, and most likely hanging out in the Orange County courthouse next year during the trial if it comes to that.

The drama we've seen has mostly come from outside of the family, and the ones within had been quickly defused. My mother is inconsolable and will only talk when absolutely necessary.

We won't have long to be in the hometown because of our schedules (work, transportation, and otherwise), but long enough to be there for the funeral and to give Beads and Georges our support.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day doing housework and cooking, and it was a relief. I felt spaces where all felt normal, and then knew things wouldn't be again but inching towards a newly defined one.

I cleaned out my spare room last week, the night before we found out about Arielle. I thought of all the changes I hoped for last year, before we found out about Uncle Joe. Well-oh-well, a lot of those came true. I got upgrades in where I lived and my work, and all were very hard-earned. My stature in the family also was considerably elevated because of how I handled Uncle's matters on multiple levels. All of those involved a lot of emotional and physical labor; no wonder I've been quite tired lately! So yes, I got upgrades, but they came out of walking through tough circumstances. Sometimes getting promoted in life isn't a pageant or parade.
It happens because we walked through tough roads or battlefields, and found our way to the end, even if it felt like we were crawling.

I also found it so strange that on that same night, I just so happened to be reading what I wrote before, during, and after my uncle's death. I didn't know it would ready me to deal with an extreme loss in my family, and to know that Beads and Georges and their other kids are going through this on a far more intense level.

Yesterday, between one of my feeling normal spells, I thought about that vision I had in September's retreat of where I found myself in a tent military hospital where I was surrounded by injured and suffering people. I was laying in a cot, and I rose. I got up, and I walked through the tent to the outside. I had the strength to do it although I didn't know I did, and I heard the cries and sense the pain; although most of it rolled off me, a sense of grief remained. But, I was able to walk and I had full control over my body.

When I pondered what that vision meant, it was a beautiful metaphor for what I've seen and been surrounded by during different times of my life. Despite what happened and whatever I had to encounter, I somehow was able to walk through it and go to the next place to show and share what I saw. Once again, this is the part I play, especially with this horrible loss.

downwind | upstream