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Accident Description


Hello, I was looking at the website regarding accident reports. I noticed that my fiance's accident (and death) was not listed. He died as a result of our raft tipping on it's side at Seidel's suckhole, and dumping all of us in the water. He could not swim to shore. His name:

Jerry Montemayor Date of death: 6/9/97... Salida, Colorado.

The story can be read at: http://jerrymontemayor.homepage.com

The Story of the Rafting Accident that Killed Jerry Jerry was killed in a rafting accident. I was there. I wrote down this account of what happened for two reasons: First and foremost, this was written down as a form of therapy for me. Writing things down helps... especially when something so horrible happens to you that you just can't get your mind wrapped around it to even start to deal with it. Second, I found that many of his family and friends wanted to know just what happened... how did it happen? How did he die? But everyone was afraid to ask. Which is understandable. I can seldom get through half of it without losing it... crying... sobbing. So here's the story. I wrote this about 6 months after he died. Cried through every bit of it. I still cry through every bit of it.

Jerry and I worked together in the same office, same department for 8 years. He was an electrical engineer and software developer. The last 4 years (1993-1997), we were joined at the hip. Basically, we were together 24 hours a day. Either he was staying at my place, or I was staying at his. We had a rare relationship. We very seldom argued (in fact, I can count on one hand the number of arguments we had in the entire 4 years we were a couple). In November of 1996, we finally decided for certain that we were going to get married. I remember the night we "decided". We had eaten at a Chinese restaurant (Fu's Garden on San Felipe), and we were talking about how we've been together for 3 1/2 years, and it was time we settled down and got married. We had been talking about having babies for years. In fact, he sold his corvette and bought a Chevy Tahoe because as he said, "it was more of a family car, and you [that's me] can drive our babies around in it."

So, December 9, 1996, I moved into his house with him. I hadn't moved in sooner than that, because he lived at home with his parents until he was 31, and I thought he should be given a chance to live alone for a while. But enough of that! We were always together anyway, and hey, we're going to get married soon. So, given the fact that we were going to get married, I decided that I should fulfill a life-long dream before I settled down and had children: I wanted to go overseas. I accepted a 3-month assignment in Australia. I was there mid-February through the end of May, 1997.

I missed Jerry terribly the whole time I was gone. I still have all the e-mails and cards and letters I sent him where I'm saying, "I miss you so much, I promise I'll never ever ever leave you like this again!" He had given me a pearl ring for my birthday in November of '96, I wore it everyday and kissed it every night. God, I missed him. Every time I talked to him on the phone, I told him how much I missed him. He always said in his silly voice, "Well, COME HOME!" I'd say, "I can't I've got to finish what I'm doing here." He'd say, "How much longer?" I'd tell him the number of weeks, and he'd always say, "That's too long!!"

So, May 24th, I came home. I was SO happy to see him. I was jumping up and down trying to see him through the crowd at the gate. He was standing there with a stuffed basset hound, 2 cards, and a bouquet of roses. (Those roses are still sitting on the fireplace mantle right where I put them that night.) One of the cards said, "I'm glad my Pookie is home, I missed my soulmate."

I was so happy to be home. I'd gotten the overseas thing out of my system, and my life was perfect. I was in love, I was going to get married to my very best friend and soulmate.

While I was in Australia, my Dad planned a trip with my nephew to Colorado. Part of the plan was to go white water rafting on the last day of the trip. He called Jerry at least once a week about going. In fact, I still have many messages he left on his answering machine for Jerry saying, "I'm really looking forward to taking you to Colorado." I told Jerry I wanted to go because it would make my Dad happy, and I wanted to spend some time with my nephew, Nick who was going also. We weren't really that interested in staying in a cabin with no running water, and rafting, but we went. (Jerry and Nick were very close.)

So, June 5th, we left for Colorado. We drove to Arlington first to drop Jerry's truck off at my sister's house. (We were going to return to Arlington after Colorado and drive Nick up to his Dad's in Arkansas.) Christie took us to the DFW airport on the morning of June 6th. I bought the tickets from Dallas to Amarillo. (We never used the return tickets.) We left Amarillo for Colorado on the morning of the 7th. We were driving in my Dad's Dodge Ram. As it turns out, it rained and hailed all weekend. The fish weren't biting and it was COLD. So when Monday, June 9th rolled around, I was glad because I was ready to get back home and plan our wedding. During the day on June 7th, we went shopping for neoprene insulation socks. We never found them. The last place we stopped at was the Exchange at the Air Force Academy. We decided to buy a radio to listen to the Rockets playoff game. I was standing in line at the checkouts, and Jerry says, "Wait!" and runs off. A few seconds later, he comes running back like a little kid with a bag of Jolly Rancher gummy candy. He says in a silly voice, "Can I have these???" I say, "Of course!".

The night of June 7th, Jerry was standing on the steps of our cabin between the 2 posts at the top of the steps. We had a few moments alone (most of the time, either my Dad or Nick was around, and Jerry wasn't much for PDA Public Displays of Affection.) Out of nowhere, he looked at me and said, "Know how much I love you?" I said, "How much?" He held out his arms as far as they would reach between the posts and said, "This much I really love you more, but my arms won't reach that far." I got up and hugged him around the middle and said, "I love you too." That was the last time we told each other we loved each other.

That night, we couldn't pick up anything on the radio. So, Jerry went to sleep early, and I stayed up to play poker with Nick. When we turned in, I reached over and hugged and kissed the side of Jerry's head and patted him on the butt. I loved him so much. That was our last night together.

The next morning (the 9th) we got up extra early to make it to the Air Force Academy's rec center in Colorado Springs. We got fitted for our full-length insulating suits, splash jackets, and life jackets (the big orange heavy ones with the big head pillow attached to the back.) The rec center had one pair of neoprene insulation socks. Jerry told me to take them I said, are you sure? He said he'd be warm enough with the swim socks he had bought in Hawaii the previous October. We were also offered helmets, but were told they were "optional". Jerry opted not to wear a helmet. I wore one. I wanted him to wear one too, but I never nagged Jerry about anything he wanted or didn't want to do. We loaded up into vans and drove 2 hours to the Arkansas River.

There were 4 rafts altogether one raft with the "leader" he had a sort-of dual-sided raft (with cylindrical floats on the sides) and two large paddles. They tied all the supplies to this. Then there were three rafts for all the rafters. 2 rafts were filled with air force guys many of them visiting from England. My Dad, my nephew, Jerry, myself, and 1 raft guide were in the last raft. Dad was in the left rear. Nick was on the left front. Jerry was on the right front, and I was behind him on the right rear. The guide sat directly in the back and "steered" with a paddle.

We were told that the river was running extra-high due to snow meltoff, so we were able to start further up the river than normal and end further down the river than normal. There was a short safety review. The one part I remember most was the part that told us what to do if we fell out of the raft. We were told to concentrate on staying on our backs and keeping our feet out of the water this would keep our head out of the water until we could get picked up. Then there was some paddle practice (synchronizing paddling). I remember thinking, "I wonder if Jerry should warn them he can't swim." But I didn't want to embarrass him.

So we started rafting. We had to do a lot of paddling, so it was sort of tiring. It was cold and wet, and I just wanted the damn thing over with. At one point, I was concerned that Jerry wasn't enjoying the weekend, so I asked him, "Are you having fun, Pookie?" He nodded his head very fast and said, "Yeah!! I feel like I'm in that movie, Deliverance we're going to have to rent that so you can watch it."

We stopped for lunch. I was one of the last ones to eat, so when I walked over to Jerry and Nick with my plate, Jerry jumped up off his spot on a rock and said, "Go ahead and sit here I'll stand." I said, "Ahhh, you're so nice!" That was so Jerry. He was the ultimate polite gentleman. That was his last sweet gesture towards me. We had sandwiches, potato salad and chips. That was Jerry's last meal. After that, I had to go into the trees to "water a weed" as Jerry called it. When I came back, he said, "Was it drafty?" with a big grin on his face.

So we loaded up the rafts after eating our lunch, and off we went. Towards the very end of the trip, we stopped short of the last big rapid. It was called "Seidel's Suckhole". There were railroad tracks on the left of the river, and big high boulders on the right. The guides said they needed to climb the boulders to look over the rapid to "scout" it out. They said they had to make a decision on how to navigate through it. As all of the rafters climbed the boulder, my Dad and I stayed behind. Pretty soon, the rafters started back down the boulder. Finally, Jerry makes it down. I asked him, "How did it look?" He just waved his hand and said, "no big deal". Those were the last words Jerry spoke to me.

So, the first raft goes through it's the one man with the two big paddles. He's ok. The next raft goes through no problem. The next raft goes through. One guy falls out. He's picked up, he's ok. Then it was our turn. I remember the horrible sinking feeling in my stomach as I looked down on the churning water. You know, the kind of feeling you get at the top of a roller coaster only worse. Then our guide started yelling over and over, "BACKPADDLE!!!! BACKPADDLE!!!!" I shoved my paddle down in the water and tried like hell to backpaddle, but the water was too strong.

I don't remember the raft flipping on its' side. I just remember suddenly being in ICE ICE cold water, being tossed violently around like a rag doll, and getting water in my nose, mouth, and lungs. I didn't think I would ever come up. But as I was going through this, I was thinking "Oh my God! Jerry!!!"

Finally, I popped up coughing and heaving and trying to breath. I kept swallowing water and flailing around. Then I remembered I need to get on my back and keep my feet in front of me and out of the water. Then I heard somebody yelling, "SWIM TO SHORE!!!! SWIM TO SHORE!!!" I turned around and swam to the Rafting Leader with the 2 big paddles. I swam to him and grabbed a hold of one of the coolers strapped to his raft. He yelled at me "SWIM TO SHORE".

I started trying to swim to shore. The water was running so fast, I didn't think I could. It was so cold. My legs started to hurt. I started tumbling over rocks. Finally, I grabbed a rock sticking out of the water. I looked around for Jerry. There he was, about 5 feet to my left clinging to another rock. The only thing was that I had my back to the water, and I was bracing myself against the rock with my feet. He had the rock only with his hands, the water rushing from his right. The water was rushing up under his chin. Our raft leader appeared. He was hopping rock to rock trying to retrieve our raft or the paddles or something. He shouted something at Jerry. I'm not exactly sure what he said. It was either "Swim to shore!" or "Give me your hand!". I had my eyes fixed on Jerry. He looked like he was straining to hold on, but he didn't look scared. A thought crossed my mind Jerry, he'll figure it out. He always figures everything out. He looked up at the raft guide and said, "I cant!!! I can't!!!" Those were his last words. Then I watched in horror as he let go, and struggled to swim as he was getting swept down the river. Then the river took a bend, and I never saw him alive again.

I started screaming at the top of my lungs at the raft guide. "HE CAN'T SWIM!!!!! HE CAN'T SWIM!!!!" I was frozen. I was frozen. I did nothing but stick to that damn rock. I was thinking, Jerry needs to stop trying to swim and get on his back. I also thought, I should have yelled at him that I loved him weird that I thought that.

Confusion. Fear. Horror. I looked to my right, and saw my nephew and my Dad standing on a boulder. Somehow, I managed to swim over to them, and they pulled me out of the water. I was hysterical crying. "WHERE IS HE? OH GOD, WHERE IS HE?" Then a girl climbed down to us from above. She had been video taping us going through the rapid. She said, "He's ok, he's waiting for us right behind that bend." I kept crying and shivering and coughing. It took forever for the other rafters to help us get our raft and paddles back. I spotted two of the rafters from the first raft walking back up the railroad tracks with paddles for us. We had to paddle from the right side of the river to the left to pick them up. The first thing I asked was, "Is Jerry ok??? Did you pick him up?" One of them, an English one, said, "Yes, we picked him up." I was so relieved. I said, "Oh, Thank God."

Then we started down the river again. I started joking to the English guy about our "wipeout". I said, "How did it look?" He said, "Oh, there were bodies everywhere", but he didn't sound very amused. As we went around the bend (the bend Jerry disappeared behind), there were a lot more rough rapids. I remember thinking, "Oh my God! Jerry had to swim through this????"

At one point, we stopped our raft at a private landing. The raft guide from the other raft got out and talked to some people for a while. I remember thinking, "Geez, I wish he'd hurry up!" As we were waiting for him, our raft guide said, "That has NEVER happened to me before. I thought we should have taken the rapid from the left, but everyone else decided to take it through the middle. I knew we should have gone to the left."

So, finally we were moving again. As we neared the landing, I started looking for Jerry. Where is he? Where are the other rafters? Where's the van? Why are there all these sheriffs department vehicles around? Why is one the officers questioning our raft guide? I though, hmmm they must investigate every time there's a serious rafting accident.

Then one of the officers approached me. He said, "Are you Shirley?" I said, "What?" He said, "Are you Jerry Montemayor's fiancee?" Then I knew something was wrong. I knew something was horribly horribly wrong. I started getting frantic. I started asking "Why? What's going on? What's going on? Where's Jerry?" He said, "Ma'am, I can't tell you. Please calm down, I need to ask you some questions." Then he started asking me his address, his age, his profession, his parents names. I was getting hysterical. I begged him to tell me what was going on. He said, "All I can tell you is they took him away in an ambulance, and they're working on him."

I don't remember much of what I said or did after he told me that. I think I started crying. I think I started pacing around frantically saying, "No, no no no no no no no God no no." Then, a plain white car pulled up. A very serious sad looking woman stepped out, spoke to an officer who then pointed towards me.

I knew. I knew he was dead, but I didn't want to know. I turned around and started running away from her. She caught up with me, grabbed me by my arms, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "JERRY'S DEAD."

"NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I screamed and I screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. I fell against a rock and kept screaming and screaming and screaming. I think my Dad and Nick were standing there. I don't remember. Then I looked over towards the river. Our raft guide was on his hands and knees crying. For some bizarre, inexplicable reason, I walked over to him, put my hand on his back, and said, "It's not your fault. Don't blame yourself." I still don't know how or why I did that. Then the Rafting leader hugged me and we cried. Then I started getting frantic, hysterical I was pacing pacing pacing. I couldn't be still. I've tried to recreate the events from this point forth as they happened:

I'm pacing and talking out loud. "No, this isn't happening. We're buying two basset hound puppies when we get home. We're getting married next year. We're taking Nick to Arkansas this week. No, this isn't happening. I just got home. Somebody wake me up. I don't like this." I can't sit down, I can't stop pacing trying to figure out what really just happened. This can't be real. IT CAN'T!!!! THEY TOLD ME HE WAS OK. THEY TOLD ME HE GOT PICKED UP. He was right there. He was right in front of me. I could have grabbed him. I could have swam over to him and grabbed him. He was right there. He was so close.

My Dad is pleading with the social worker, "Can't you sedate her?" "No, she's doing what she needs to do." Nick is saying over and over, "I love you Aunt Julie, I love you Aunt Julie."

I need a phone. Someone give me a phone so that I can page Pat. Pat fixes everything. Pat will fix this. Please, give me a cell phone. It doesn't work it doesn't work there are too many boulders around or something. Oh God, somebody help me get a hold of Pat. I can't get this cell phone to work.

More questions from the officer. What is his parent's address? No No don't go to his parents house. They're elderly. Find his brother, Junior. Find Junior. Oh God, I forgot the city where Junior lives. He works at NASA I don't remember the company name I can't think. Don't go to his parents whatever you do don't go to his parents. His sister Maria she lives in Webster. Find her. Find Her. Maria Montemayor. Webster. Don't go to his parents. They're trying to get me to change out of my wetsuit. No. No. No. I don't want to. I don't want to. This is a dream. This is just a nightmare. I don't need to get out of this wetsuit, because I'm dreaming this.

Then the social worker asks me, "Do you want me to take you to him?" I start crying. Oh God, I don't want to see him dead. He's not dead. If I see him dead, then he'll really be dead. I say, "Am I supposed to?" She says, "It's whatever you need to do for closure." In my ultimate moment of complete denial and cowardice, I say, "No, I don't want to see him dead." I'm thinking he'll be stiff and cold, zipped up in a body bag in a metal drawer. His eyes and mouth will be open. I'm afraid. Besides, this is all just a bad dream. Can't someone wake me up??? Please! Somebody wake me up!

Finally, they coax me into the white car. I'm in a daze. I can't figure out what just happened. I just can't comprehend it. We're at a building. It looks like an old-style courthouse. It's sheriff's department. We are taken upstairs in a room with some desks and phones. I don't want to change my clothes. I don't want to take my suit off. I have to call Pat. I need to get Pat. Pat fixes everything. The sheriffs department tells us NOT to call Jerry's family. We can not call his family. It is being handled through their local police department.

I page Pat frantically with 911s. He calls back. I'm crying. Jerry's dead. He needs to call Robert (Jerry's best friend). Pat, don't tell Jerry's family. We can't tell Jerry's family they won't let us.

I call my sister. "There's been an accident. Nick's ok but Jerry's dead" She's saying "Oh my God". She's crying. I call my boss, Kathy Roberts. I'm crying. She's saying, "Honey, what's the matter, tell me what's the matter." I tell her. She starts to cry.

No! No! I don't want to change out of my wetsuit. Pacing, more pacing. What is happening? What is going on? This can't be real. This isn't real. Oh God, what am I going to do? What am I going to do?

Ok. I'll change into my dry clothes. They have my bag. Another social worker walks me to a bathroom. I'm in a haze. I can't walk in a straight line. I look at the woman and I tell her, "Gee, some job you have." Why did I say this? I go into the stall and put my jeans and sweatshirt on.

I'm back in the room with the phones and desks. Someone is there to pick up my wetsuit.

I want to see our raft guide. He's downstairs being questioned. They take me to him. I say, "I wanted to see if you were alright." He looks up at me and says, "I have a wife. I'm sorry. I have a wife, and I don't know what I'd do if this happened to her." Something like that I can't remember. We hold hands in silence. I ask him if I am making him uncomfortable. He says no, that it's ok.

Now they're putting me back in the car. They take us to some sort of meeting hall. There, the other rafters are waiting for us in a conference room. The van is parked out front. The rafts are tied up on a trailer. Everyone is looking at me. Why are we here?

I still have a social worker with me. My Dad is asking the other rafters what they saw. I hear bits and pieces. "We did CPR." and some other stuff. I don't want to hear this. This isn't happening. Make them be quiet. Make them be quiet. I put my hands over my ears. I start hyperventilating. The social worker puts me in the bathroom. She's helping me breath. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

They put my Dad, nephew, and I in the backseat of the truck pulling the trailer with the rafts. The raft leader is driving by himself in the front seat. Dad is saying, "We'll fix this. We'll fix this." over and over. He keeps trying to force my head to his shoulder. I don't want it there. I don't want it there. Nick? Are you ok? "I love you Aunt Julie." I say, "Did I not backpaddle right? Was I not backpaddling right?"

We drive and drive for 2 hours back to Colorado Springs. The river runs to our left. I'm sitting in the middle of the backseat on the edge of the seat holding on to the back of the front seat. I'm not crying. I'm just staring. I'm gripping the front seat like I'm on a carnival ride. When am I going to get out of this truck? When am I going to wake up? I don't like this. Dad is saying stuff. I don't remember. It's stuff like "We'll fix this. I'll do anything for you." I see tears running down the raft leader's face. He puts his hand on his face a lot. When am I going to get out of this truck? We stop for gas. I wander in the bathroom. I'm in the bathroom. What am I doing here? What is happening? Where am I? I come out of the bathroom. The people standing around stand aside as I walk out. It's quiet. No one is talking. They're just staring at me.

We're driving again. When am I going to get out of this truck? It's getting dark. It's starting to rain. The road is winding. Can't we drive any faster?

We get back to the rec center in Colorado Springs. It's drizzling. Where's Jerry's stuff? Where's his wallet? I need his baseball cap. Somebody please find me his baseball cap. Where is it? I'm standing in the middle of the parking lot. There are people all around. A pretty woman walks up to me crying. She says she's the wife of our raft guide. I don't remember what she says to me. I was crying. She hugged me. She said, "I'm so sorry." I need Jerry's baseball cap. I'm crying. I'm standing in the middle of the parking lot in the rain yelling for someone to please find his baseball cap.

They put us back in the van. They take us to some sort of hotel on the airforce base. They put us in a sort-of apartment. There is a chaplain there. He's wearing a uniform. Somebody asks if I want coffee. No. There's a phone on a desk. Dad Dad call Uncle Rod. He needs to go tell Mom. Don't call Mom when she's at home alone. Call Rod. Can't get a hold of Rod. Keep trying.

My sister, Christie. She's on her way to Colorado Springs with her boyfriend, Mark. Where's Christie? Where is she? It will get better when she gets here. I need my sister. I keep looking out the window for her. It's dark and raining. More pacing. We're getting married next year. We're buying two basset hounds when we get home. We're going to name them Claude and Cleofus. Jerry likes the name Cleofus. The chaplain tells me that Cleopus (with a p) is a name from the bible. He says "Did you know that?" More pacing. The chaplain is following me around the room as I walk circles around it. He's trying to console me. I show him pictures of Jerry on my digital camera. He says he's a fine looking young man. Look out the window. Where's Christie? She's on her way.

Air Force officials start coming in. They're talking to my Dad. I'm pacing. Try to call Rod again. It's getting late. We need to call people. We need to call people. Where's Christie? Call Aunt Mary instead. Call Aunt Mary. She'll go over and tell Mom. Mary is there. She's there. She'll tell my Mom. She'll go over there and tell my Mom. We're moving. They're putting us in a Red Roof Inn. Why? We get in another van. We go to the lobby. The chaplain is with us. I'm hiding behind him. I don't want the people in the lobby to see me. They're staring because I'm crying. Where's Christie? Christie is here. She's on her way down.

Oh God, there she is. I grabbed her. I'm crying and crying and crying. Christie says she'll get me upstairs. We'll go upstairs, ok? We walk up the stairs. Our rooms are too far apart. We get a new room next to where Dad, Nick and Mark are sleeping. They have his hat and his things! They have his things! Nick said, "Here, Aunt Julie, here's his shirt." It's a shirt he bought in Hawaii when we went there last October.

I have his shirt. I have his baseball cap. I have his moneyclip. Where's his wallet? I need his wallet. The police have his wallet. We can't have it.

I'm in this room with Christie. I can't sit down. What just happened? What just happened? I don't understand. Is this a dream? Can't I just wake up? Pacing. More pacing. I cling to Jerry's things. I look at them. Here are his things. Where is he? I stand in the corner of the room with my forehead pressed to the wall. This isn't happening. I need to call people. I need to call. Christie gets out her calling card. We start to call people from a phone list I have. I need to talk to Robert. But it's 3 o'clock in the morning. I need to call. I don't remember what I said to Robert.

I need to call Becky (my best friend from high school). Becky! Becky!!! Jerry's dead. She's crying. Call Greg and Maria in New York. I need to tell them. I don't remember what I said to them or what they said to me. Keep calling people. More pacing. I walk outside. It's cold. Is there someplace way over there where I can jump in the water? Is this jump from here enough to kill me? I'll run. I'll run. No, I can't leave Christie here.

I lay down on the bed. When is morning going to get here? I hug Jerry's shirt, cap, and money clip. It can't be true that he'll never wear this cap again. No, it can't be true.

Morning arrives. We go to the airport. I'm crying. Christie is pulling me behind her by my hand. Nick, Mark, and Dad are driving to Amarillo. Dad lost his glasses in the river, and he can't see to drive. I'm still holding Jerry's things. We get on the plane. I stop crying. I don't cry on the plane. I'm in a daze. The clouds out there. Which one is Jerry on? When are we going to get there?

We land. I start crying. I'm in Houston. I left Jerry up there. Oh my God, I didn't bring him home. I left him in Colorado. Christie leads me off the plane by my hand. I'm still holding Jerry's things.

My boss, Kathy, my friends, Jim and Pat they're there waiting for me. I see them and I start crying. I can't move. My feet won't move. They're standing around me. Kathy says, come on, let's go.

We get in Kathy's car. She's parked on the roof. She asked me where I wanted to go. I don't know. I don't know. She says, "Why don't you call his family." I guess they know by now. They dial the number. Maria answers the phone. I start to cry. She starts to cry. She said, "Come over here and be with us." I said ok. I'm still holding Jerry's things.

Long drive to Friendswood from Intercontinental Airport. I don't cry. I'm in a haze. I look down at the door the entire way. What am I going to say to them? I took Jerry away, now he's dead. Why did I take him there? We arrive at his parents house. I see the familiar "Montemayor" family sign on the fence. Oh my God. This is happening. This is really happening. What am I going to say? What am I going to say?

I have to be helped from the car. I'm still holding Jerry's things. The backgate opens. Junior is coming towards me. I freeze. I cry. I cry and cry and cry. Everyone in the family is there. They're all in there. I'm here. I'm alive. I'm at Jerry's house and he's dead. This doesn't make any sense at all. It should have been me.

Junior helps me into the house. Everyone is there. I'm crying. I sit down. They take his things from me. I tell them that Jerry may not have said it much, but he's loves every one of you. He loves you all very much. It was an accident. It was an accident. It was an accident. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. He was just a few feet from me. I could have grabbed him. It was an accident. Junior is there. He's trying to calm me down.

Christie gets the dentist she works for to prescribe a sedative. I take it. The rest of the day is a blur. Junior, his wife, Melissa, Jerry's brother James, his wife Brenda, Christie, and I go to the funeral home close to his parent's house. It smells funny. There's a big room. Kind of pale green. That's where the viewing will be. We go into an office. We sit at the table. I'm crying off and on. Do we want a newspaper article? Do we want a flower arrangement for the casket? What kind of vault do we want to purchase? I say, "Unsealed we were watching the discovery channel one day a show about mortuary science they described what happens to the body in a sealed up vault. Jerry said it was gross. He didn't want to be sealed up." I don't want cheap carnations for the top of his casket.

We go into the next room into a room full of caskets. I'm crying. This can't be real. We really can't be looking for a casket for Jerry. I like this one the cherrywood one. Jerry loved Cherrywood everything. He would have liked this one. It's expensive. James and Brenda decide to go find one like it in The Woodlands.

We're in the car again. We drive through cemeteries. I'm sitting in the front seat with Junior. He's holding my hand. He asks me what I should be called in the obituary. I start crying. I said, "I don't know." Junior starts crying. Somebody suggests "fiancee". But I don't have a ring. We didn't buy a ring yet. Yeah. It'll say fiancee for me. We find a Catholic cemetery in Dickinson. Jerry's mom would like that.