You may or may not know that when a human hears of another human’s death, a very common response is to ask, “What happened?” I asked the police officer in my living room after I caught my breath.
I didn’t break down, I didn’t gasp or shriek or faint or any of those things. I knew. I’d known she was at risk, I just thought I’d have more time to help free her. I knew and I swallowed hard and I put my hands over my mouth and I asked, “What happened?” They didn’t know. They knew she was dead, they knew she died in Grand Ledge, they had a form for me to fill out giving the Grand Ledge police permission to search the car. That was it. Everything beyond that was a mystery.
I’d have nearly 16 hours to fill my mind with every possible, horrible, vile, terrifying scenario playing out in full-color, surround sound before anyone would even begin to answer my question.
I called work. Fortunately, my manager was on call to handle everything for me and that aspect of my life has remained solid and ideal through everything. Working for a mental health agency has its perks.
I called Cheryl. I needed her expertise on deaths due to domestic violence. She was instrumental during the struggle to free our late friend from her ex-husband and I automatically assumed (as everyone else did) that B. had finally killed her. As he’d threatened to only 4 months before.
The officers asked if I wanted a victim’s advocate to come over. Here I made a grave error, I said yes.
If I’d said no, my night would have gone much better. As it was, the officers were forced to wait 3 and a half hours, standing, in my living room while volunteer advocates were dispatched. It was a busy night in Lansing. The victim advocates didn’t know anything either. See, I live in one county, Faerin died across the county line in another county. So the police investigating her death were not in communication with the ones dispatched to inform me that my daughter was deceased.
It was after midnight before I got the advocates out of my house, Cheryl left soon after with plans to return in the morning to drive me to Grand Ledge for some answers. After an 8-hour mind movie of mind-numbing horror and pain (I can no longer watch another horror movie, ever) I called the detective only to have him tell me he can’t talk to me until noon. I told him I’d be there at 11:45 and hung up. Cheryl kept me distracted that morning but nothing she could have done could have prepared me for the reality of the detective’s words.
“We were called to the scene of a suicide”
“She was shot”
My baby? Was shot?
With a gun? And you think *she* did it?
“It appeared to have been self-inflicted”
My baby? Faerin?
“Tell me about Faerin”
She’s amazing. She’s smart and talented and beautiful and everyone loves her. She performs at the Michigan Renaissance Festival and she was looking forward to another gig in October. She’s a belly dancer and a massage therapist and a straight-A student and…
And she dates a monster.
She doesn’t know he’s a monster but I do. Most everyone who knows them knows.
It had to be him. It wasn’t her.
She’d never even held a gun.
He wasn’t expecting that, the detective I mean. He thought we’d just sit in the corner of the station, but suddenly I wasn’t just a grieving mother. I was a loose end. Something the police hadn’t accounted for the night before.
When B. told the police that Faerin shot herself.
We were moved to a proper room and asked about her job, friends, former boyfriends, etc. Question marks were forming in both camps. We’d all been so sure before noon. Now what?
I texted my sister and told her to come. For a domestic violence situation where the police were heavily involved, I needed Cheryl. For a suicide, I needed my sister.
We were told, on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, that the toxicology report could take as long as 15 weeks and that the case couldn’t be closed without it. As of today, Friday, September 18th, 2015 I have not heard from the detective in weeks despite my messages. He’s never called to inventory the items he removed from my home or go over the items they have from the scene. He hasn’t responded to my latest call at all and I’ve not heard that the investigation is closed. I’m in the dark in that regard.
I do have one more clue that I picked up from her death certificate. No one informed me or prepared me for this, I just read it when I got the paper.
It’s not pretty.
I’m preparing you. You’re welcome.
Faerin died instantly from a shotgun wound. The shotgun was in her mouth.
Everything I know about forensic science (including the term, forensic science) comes from TV and not life, but I think it’s nearly impossible to kill someone else with that kind of wound and get away with it.
It’s not a typical domestic violence wound.
It’s a very typical suicide wound.
It’s what you do when you don’t want to miss. When you’re sure.
Yes. My baby. Our Faerin.
Do I think B. is blameless? Oh hell no. His brand of crazy is incredibly dangerous.
I have no idea where the shotgun came from, the police won’t tell me. I can only imagine it was his.
Or hers. I guess.
You see, she called me, once. After 10 pm, she knew I was getting ready for work. She apologized.
She said she wanted to die.
I talked her down, she told me she was OK. I told her to get somewhere safe, she told me she was. She hung up.
When she came home the next day we made calls for a counselor. They never called back. We called another and made an appointment for her. She went to that appointment.
She went to the damn appointment and within 8 hours she had a shotgun in her mouth.
And the counselor was shocked. She didn’t present as suicidal. She didn’t raise any alarm bells at all. She went in, talked to a stranger for 50 minutes, walked out with an appointment for the next week and into the last day she’d ever know.
Did she search suicide methods on the Internet and decide to buy a shotgun? My baby?
Maybe someday, the investigation will close and I’ll get some answers. Right now, I need to live my life and wait patiently for the next clue to appear.