Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Terrible news

I just got some terrible news. When I went to check my email there was a message from a name I didn’t recognize but the subject simply said “Eileen carter”. That’s the name of my former secretary who was the best friend I’ve had. Opening it up I found a plea to call her daughter with her phone number. I had a sinking suspicion of what I would hear when I called so hurried to dial the number. Sure enough, my worst fears were confirmed. Eileen died Saturday.

I talked to Sue, her daughter, for about a half hour but her phones kept ringing as you would expect at times like this. One of my main reasons for our trip to Toledo on October the ninth was to look Eileen up and see how she was doing. In fact it was my biggest motivation. I’ve lost contact with her as her life slid downhill because she could no longer afford to pay her phone bill and it was shut off. Without that she couldn’t go online so couldn’t check her email, that is if she still had a computer.

Most of you are not familiar with the culture that exists on the east side of Toledo. It’s the same culture and problems you can find in any working class big city neighborhood. A land where alcohol, drugs, fights, pain, and sorrow are an every day part of life. Sure there is happiness, love, and life there but it is always stained by the decay that permeates every pore of the city. We were there when Eileen’s husband died and helped her out as best we could but after we moved here to Texas things began to go bad.

Drug addicts and alcoholics are always looking for an easy mark. They are universally users who suck the life out of whomever they attach themselves to and Eileen was vulnerable. These leaches came out of the woodwork when her husband died. Most were people she knew anyway but when Glen died they saw opportunity. It’s a shadowy world where many hide from the law and the lines between good and bad are blurred. Merle is a heroin addict who had dated Eileen way back. I met him at the VOA when he first got out of prison in 2002. He was the first to weasel his way in. Then there was an alcoholic that came in after Merle was kicked out for stealing from Eileen. He stayed till he was extradited to Tennessee. With him gone Merle wormed his way back in. Eileen worked as best she could considering how bad of shape she was in physically but they sucked her dry all the while manipulating her.

Her death is labeled suspicious. Merle had brought her to the hospital with some outlandish story about her trying to commit suicide because she had a fight with her daughter by taking all of her pain medication, which of course was mysteriously missing. He dropped her off, left her keys and purse in the car, and took off. There was no money in the purse, he took it. Sue said the police spent a lot of time looking at the hospital’s surveillance tapes while she was there.

Eileen stopped paying on her insurance policies recently because she couldn’t afford to anymore so there is no insurance to help pay for the funeral or anything else. Sue and friends put a donation bottle up at a 7/11 where the many who knew Eileen could leave a donation to help with funeral expenses. Bobby, Eileen’s son, is an alcoholic and took the money out of the jar and went to the bar with it. Bobby used to work for me when I had my companies but was always a problem. I would give him work for his mom’s sake. He’s been stealing and taking advantage of his mom a lot lately. She gave him her house to live in while she moved into an apartment that she ended up losing. Now there is no money to bury Eileen and Sue is at a loss for what to do. She broke up crying a few times as we talked. She needs to obtain power of attorney to handle her mom’s affairs but can’t afford a lawyer. Merle still has the key to Eileen’s post office box so he can take her mail. The post office won’t do anything without Sue having power of attorney. I so wish I was up there but don’t know what I could do other than just help keep her calm. We don’t have any extra money but I will send up a hundred bucks out of my next disability check. This is hard. I didn’t get up there in time to see her.

Eileen worked for me for twelve years and knew me better than anyone. She was my best friend. This picture is when we took her to Red Lobster. She had been in the hospital with a life threatening illness and when I asked her what she wanted most she said to go to Red Lobster because she had never been to one. She was surprised when we picked her up to go.


Jeff said...

Bob, I am very sorry ... condolences to you and to all who knew and loved Eileen.

Bob said...

Thanks Jeff, it's greatly appreciated. There is so much lost. Eileen held so many of the memories I lost with the accident, good memories and bad but all times shared with her that I grasp to remember