Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Apparently there is something about me that keeps death ever present in my life.  Not only in my personal relationships of losing people but being near or knowing someone who dies, often tragically.   Those factors weighed heavily in my ending up in forensic death investigation.  I feel as if I am always waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop…. When am I going to lose another friend or loved one?  In the last couple of months I lost an uncle whom was around most of my life, even in adult hood and I had been visiting him in the end.  In the same time frame 2 dear friends lost parents of whom I knew and had at some point in my life been someone I was interactive with and influential to me.  The sudden influx of loss has caused me to be even more reflective that usual. On a more optimistic note, the several losses of late have been situations in which each person, for different health reasons, had no quality of life left and could no longer enjoy even the company of visitors.  Of course I can’t say there is anything optimistic for those left behind to make arrangements, not to mention grieve.   Next week I will be helping (to the best of my limited ability) to sort through my uncle’s possessions.  I am not expecting anything of monetary value but I look forward to seeing what craft materials I can make use of that belonged to my aunt, who passed several years ago.  Having been gardening lately, as well as my little memorial garden where my mom and dad stay in their custom ordered granite block urns made for outdoors, I am hoping I can find something I can add to the garden as a decoration or hang on the fence to add as a memory of my uncle.  My wonderful husband built me a beautiful bench from a piece of support beam left over from the house we built my father when he came to live with us.  I am able to sit on the bench and face the garden or sit the other direction and look out at the cluster of pine trees and apple trees toward the front of our house.  Both are peaceful options.  My coworkers, family and friends had generously provided me with multiple rose bushes for the garden as my mother loved roses.  Unfortunately we discovered the little section of the yard is shaded for most of the day by the neighbor’s huge trees.  The bushes were hanging in there pretty well until a hungry gopher decided to make his home in the garden and go figure – the bushes did not do so well after losing their roots!  I am now in the process of researching some shade loving flowers and plants that are not toxic to my leaf loving pups.  I am thinking maybe some plats that attract butterflies and humming birds then put another hummingbird feeder closer to the garden.  The humming birds have finally been feeding from the one I put out front that we can see from our deck.

Somebody reading may be asking by this point, what does all this have to do with my website and my work in death investigation – well to put it simply it is things like gardening and putting out hummingbird feeders that are a few of the many hobbies, projects, and activities that help me heal from all that I have seen and experienced as well as helping keep me a bit sane.  Okay, I confess the level of my sanity is subjective! I used to say being crazy was a job requirement because a normal sane person would voluntarily go into a house full of cockroaches and a dead body, or do an autopsy on someone so decomposed you are scooping maggots by the handful so you can get to the flesh to cut. Not to mention the part about having to go to neighborhoods that are quite dangerous and yet you have to go there in the middle of the night so you can knock on the door of an unknown house and tell someone their loved one is dead and hope you get that far before they try to fight you because they hate all cops and won’t listen to what you are trying to say.  I once got tired of such a game with a parole who denied knowing the decedent or admitting he was who I was looking for so I said “well if somehow you come across anyone who does know Mrs. X, please tell her family that she is dead. I tossed my business card at him and walked (backwards) towards my unit.  The big scary man then started to cry and decide to play nice.  Not the way I prefer to tell someone such bad news but I can only play games for so long before I have to move on.  Notifications are awful.  Having to tell someone their loved one is never coming home.  Having to take a deceased infant from a mother’s arms….  See if you aren’t messed up in the head before you take on this job, what you see, what you do, and what it does to your mind WILL mess you up.  

People, who have worked jobs like mine, as well as writers, tend to think differently.  For instance tonight while watching a show about different areas of the US, they showed Yellowstone Park and its bubbling mud pits and hot water pools.  Apparently the water in some of those pools, although beautiful, is super hot and very acidic – and of course I turned to my husband and said what a great place to dump a body.   I find myself thinking that as I pass ravines and clumps of trees too.  It’s the leftover of the job and the creativity of a writer…. Or am I on the way to psychopath?

So to finish this post up let me just say the day after I wrote the previous about death being such a part of my life – my daughter’s bird died, as well as my friend’s grandmother that I have known for years and adored her as she is, I mean was, such a lovely women and an example to all who knew her.

As for my parents’ memorial garden. I have redone it. In containers as that has been working well in my herb and veggie garden AND it will keep the gophers from destroying it! I spent almost 2 hours as the local Home Depot trying to find nice shade loving plants that were also NON toxic to dogs! I found several that will provide a variety a color and be easy to maintain.  I also added some soft light solar lights since I already had strung tiny “fairy” lights along the top of the wooden fence.  I got some pretty but appropriate decorations and also hung one of my favorite lighthouse wind chimes. I can now feel good about the garden again.

That shall be it for now!!

Karen Sue