Six months

On the 18th of every month, I light a candle in honor of
Della, the light of my life. Every month, it is really hard.
Today marks six months since the car crash that took Della's life and forever changed mine. The last six months have been marked by much mourning and sadness, navigating seemingly infinitely complex legal/financial/criminal systems, pondering of my future in so many respects, and much more. I've been mostly avoiding posting on social media, as it can all get overwhelming, but I wanted to share some updates so everyone can know what's going on.

Recently, I learned criminal charges against the driver of the oncoming car have been filed by the state of Montana. The charge is Vehicular Homicide While Under Influence*. The criminal process will be (and already has been) long and drawn out and no one knows where it will go, in terms of sentence, plea bargain, timeline, or anything. Ultimately, it is between the state of Montana and the driver and doesn't involve me unless I get called to testify at trial (if there even is one). Nevertheless, I plan to stay apprised as best I can.

There is so much paperwork/business/financial stuff that goes along with someone's death and each element seems to have its own procedures, quirks, and failings. From cancelling Della's business license, to closing her bank accounts, to dealing with the other driver's auto insurance, to filing her taxes and so much more, I've been chipping away at the todos. The process is endlessly frustrating as, so far, not one of these companies seems to put any priority or consideration on communication, speed, ease, or (in some cases) accuracy. In some respects, having the mountains of work has been good for me, as the details keep my mind busy and makes me feel productive, but I'm hoping the end is in sight and it will be a task I can soon cross off my list.

I mentioned in the 2 month update that I was only recently back on both feet, after time on crutches and in a walking boot from injuries sustained in the crash. Now, my physical health is maybe 90% recovered. Functionally, I'm able to do most things (walk, jog, juggle, etc.) but there is still pain, weakness, and inflexibility, esp. in the right ankle. Part of me is sure there will be ailments that are with me the rest of my life, a constant reminder of the terrible day 6 months ago. But the human body is an amazing thing and part of me holds out hope that time will do its healing job. As for my mental and emotional state, it is so hard to say. There are good days and bad days. Some days, I'm crippled with anxiety about the future and sadness for the loss of the past. Some days, I make it from my morning cereal to evening Jeopardy! with relative normalcy, albeit with loneliness and loss as a constant companion. Overall, I guess I'd say I'm doing alright considering.

As has been the case throughout this ordeal, I have felt immensely supported—from diversions when I need, to talking through feelings and fears, to help with the so many details of everything. Besides the wonderful support I've received from friends and family, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been an amazing resource for both help with details in all the different facets (law, insurance, bureaucracy, etc.) as well just the feeling of support that can only come from someone that knows what it is like to lose a partner because of someone else's choice to drink and drive. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a drunk driving crash, please know that MADD is there to support you.

With COVID vaccines becoming widely available and things opening back up, we've started planning for a memorial service, likely to be held outside in late June in Bellingham. I'll post further details in the comments of this post as they become known. Planning is also underway for a month of celebration and remembrance of Della in October 2021 in the form of Dellapalooza. Info for that will be forth coming as well.

All of these updates are just a summary. I have further details on everything (the crash, insurance, business, criminal stuff, my health, MADD, etc.) that I am willing to share with whoever wants to know. Sharing allows me to be reminded that other people care and that I'm not in this alone.
Sunday April 18 2021File under: Della

Toggle Comments (7)comment?
on Sat 15th May, 2021 04:40 pm EDT Wren said:
MEMORIAL UPDATE:Because of COVID concerns, we've decided to scrap our plans for a June memorial, instead likely aiming for September. Rest assured we'll get the word out once we have a date decided on.
on Sun 18th Apr, 2021 02:23 pm EDT Teresa Okane said:
We were just talking about you and Della this morning— crosswords, juggling, kindness... We think of you so often Wren. If you are ever in San Jose, please come stay with us. Love, Scott and Tris
on Mon 19th Apr, 2021 11:07 am EDT Jule said:
Thank you for the update
on Mon 19th Apr, 2021 11:15 pm EDT Andrew said:
Love ya, bro.
on Wed 21st Apr, 2021 12:00 pm EDT Chris said:
I second Teresa's offer if you ever find yourself in Colorado - Just last week I overheard Jonah showing his aunt the "really cool rope trick Miss Della showed me!". Love and think about both you guys every day!
on Fri 07th May, 2021 12:58 pm EDT Mark Anderson said:
Hey Wren, I am glad to know about the upcoming memorial service, and will check back often so I don’t miss it. Wishing you continued healing and strength, my friend!
on Sun 16th May, 2021 08:55 am EDT Horge said:
I'd like to third that offer of visiting, at least to Europe. We don't know yet where exactly we'll be later this year, but at least in Spain most of June & July, and Germany at least for Aug. (but fingers crossed may then move back to Spain).
I'd love to share with you sometime soon, especially on how you're doing. But FYI if you're talking long about insurance or legal matters and you sense my eyes glazing over, I really do care about you, but it's just just my body's natural defense mechanism against bureaucracy, but am willing to subject myself to it for your well being :-)

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