The story of the day my husband died.
The Voirols were a family of 5. Mom, Dad, Jack, Jess Jr. & Charlie. Our lives were far from perfect, but when Jess Sr. & I were hanging with our boys; those were the best days.
Jess Sr. & I had separated in September. Jess Sr. had moved out of the family home and into an apartment about 5 minutes away. He normally had the boys 2 days a week and would take them more often if his work schedule allowed. From September through December, some bad stuff went down between us. It was ugly. Our relationship was not good at all. In January, we started to get along again. He normally had the boys on Saturdays, so we started hanging out as a family on those days. We started attending church again on Sundays. Jess & I really were the best team. The skills each of us possessed complimented each other perfectly so we could get anything done well. Co-parenting proved to be easy as long as the two of us were getting along.
February 20, 2019, I woke up to a school text stating school was canceled due to icy, slick road conditions. I texted Jess to see if I should bring the boys over before I went to work. He had the day off and was supposed to have the boys that day. I figured he worked late the night before and would wake up, get my message and go get the boys. I left for work with my oldest in charge “until dad gets here.”
I was busy at work trying to finalize payroll before the deadline. I had texted Jess several times and called as well with no response. I kept in contact with my oldest and had a friend go check on the kids. I would finish payroll, then leave early to figure everything out. A rep came into my office and would NOT stop talking for me to finish payroll. I was super annoyed. My assistant (also a very close friend of myself & Jess Sr.), Allyse, knocked on my door and said my mom was there to say hi. “Thank goodness!” I thought. An excuse to get out of my office!
I walked out to see my mom smiling at me. She told me she and my dad, who was in the car, were out running errands and stopped by to say hello. I told her I couldn’t get a hold of Jess Sr. and asked her to stop by his apartment to check on him to make sure he was ok. She said “of course” with a smile on her face. Turns out, she already knew. That is why she and my dad had come. To be there when I found out. Holy shit. I have no idea how she kept her composure.
As Mom and I talked, I was facing the front parking lot, so I could see the cars coming and going. I could see my dad sitting in the car. We were talking about the kids and I noticed a sheriff pull up in front of my work. This sight did not surprise me since there was a gun shop next door to us and law officials were always going in and out. But this time, the sheriff walked into my work. He looked toward me and Allyse (I was standing next to her desk) and asked if I was Sarah. “Yes.” I said, kind of scared I was going to jail not knowing what I had done.
“Do you have an office we can talk in?”
As we were walking into my office, I say nonchalantly, “Is this about Jess?” He nodded yes and gently urged me to proceed into my office. I said something to the effect of, “Oh great, what did he do now?” Thinking he was in jail or possibly hurt in the hospital. Thinking Jess Sr. had done yet another thing that would add stress for me and cause relationship problems for the two of us. I wondered to myself how much this mistake would cost in money, time and emotional distress.
The sheriff closed my office door and suggested I sit down. I wasn’t having that. Nope. I’m a big girl, Lay it on me. I will deal with this obstacle the same way I deal with all of them – Head on. Little did I know what I was about to hear.
“Jess got into a car accident very early this morning. His car went over a ditch, flipped and he did not make it.”
“Wait. WHAT?!?” is what I think I replied. “Wait. What? Can you please repeat that?” He did. And I heard it that time. My mom nodded her head to verify it was true.
“No…..No, no, no, NO, NO, NOOOOO!” I cried.
I fell over. I cried. I screamed some more.
“He’s fucking DEAD?!?!? No, no, no. He can’t be! He’s fucking dead?!” I asked the officer.
“Yes. Unfortunately, your husband, Jess, is dead.”
I cried crouching on the floor. I screamed and screamed and screamed. Allyse and my dad came in. I screamed and cried some more. The officer left. I screamed some more.
I asked my mom to go check on the boys and sit with them until I got home. She and my dad agreed to do that. My parents had already found out about Jess. The police couldn’t figure out where I worked and I wasn’t home (they had gone to my house when my kids were there alone to tell me. My kids knew the rules and did not open the door, thank God). The police called my business, DiG’s, phone number and my dad picked up. He argued with them for several minutes, but they finally told him why they had to contact me. He and my mom told them where to find me, immediately got into their car and came to be there so they could be present when I found out. God bless them.
My parents left. Allyse and I went outside.
“I have to finish payroll or no one will get paid.” I told her.
She assured me our boss would figure it out if I left.
“No. No one else can do payroll. No one knows how. I have to stay and do it.” I insisted.
Anything to avoid the reality of life right now, I thought.
“FUCK. I have to go tell my kids their dad is fucking dead.” I thought.
I returned to my office. I sat down at my desk, picked up my phone and texted my best friend/cousin, “Jess Sr. is fucking dead.”
I finished payroll with tears streaming down my face. Angry, wanting to yell. Thinking that if I can only scream loud enough at someone, it wouldn’t be true. But it was.
Allyse took me home.
“I have to tell my boys their fucking dad is dead, dude. How the fuck am I supposed to do that?”
She and I talked it through. My mom and Allyse would both be there, so it would be 3 on 3. Three adults to three kids. We decided who would sit with each kid as I told them. We got home. We executed the plan. I watched my boys’ hearts break.
The Voirols used to be a family of 5. And then there were 4…..
MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
~Love & Light, Sarah