Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Friday, October 27, 2006
So Long

Karen and Bill Andrews were aquaintances.

You know, the kind of people that you see at a neighborhood get-together or that you pass on the road with a wave? Neighbors like many others. Took good care of their large home, volunteered in the community and had many many hobbies. Much like myself, they were very fortunate to have been able to retire early, moving to Santa Rosa when in their 50's to be closer to their two sons. Each had been married before, the young early marriages in which they each had one son but that ultimately failed. Twenty-six years ago they found each other and made a lifelong enduring committment.

Sunday, Oct. 8th, likely began like any other day. Bill likely woke early, made coffee and retrieved the newspaper from the front driveway. He then came back in to help his wife with some of the daily chores. They had worked hard at cleaning their home to a very immaculate level, cleaner than most of our homes. Everything seemed so typical, yet they knew that this day would be unusual. They likely ate a bit of a celebratory meal perhaps with some champagne, carefully cleaning the kitchen afterward. Karen told Bill where to find the papers and he got them out, leaving the important ones like bills and wills on the kitchen counter. They likely both sat down at their computers, opened Microsoft Word and made their compositions, carefully checking for spelling and syntax.

Karen, 52 years old, had undergone a hysterectomy a year ago and an unfortunate accident during the surgery left her with a spinal injury. She was left with terrible chronic pain that, despite many doctors visits, didn't really seem to be getting any easier. She had to quit her community volunteer job getting dental services for underpriviledge children while Bill, 61 years old, had quit his volunteer position with the local homeowners association to help care for the love of his life, Karen. Their friends were concerned about Karen's health and felt a great deal of sorrow for what had befallen this very active, friendly family, but had every confidence that they would overcome this obstacle as they had many others in their lives.

Putting their MS Word compositions on the counter, and putting a note at the doorway entrance, they then walked down into their basement area. Karen probably sat down while Bill got out the ropes and strung them over a rafter, and then placing chairs strategically. Bill then likely went to Karen and helped her stand up, hugged and kissed her, and told her he loved her. Karen, tearfully, looked Bill in the eyes with undying admiration for his committment to her as he helped her onto the chair. Bill got on his chair knowing that pain would make it difficult for Karen to reach up and put her noose on. Bill reached over and placed the noose around her neck. Placing his noose around his neck, they looked at each other one last time exchanging their love and devotion, and said goodbye.

Then, on the count of three.

They jumped.

The newspaper story tells the rest:
The bodies of Karen and Bill Andrews, 61, were found last Thursday. The grim discovery was made by police officers alerted by neighbors who had noticed a pile of uncollected newspapers and went to the home to check on the couple.

The papers dated back to Oct. 9. The suicide notes were dated Oct. 8.

"There was a note just inside the door that described the location of where the bodies were found," Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Paul Henry said. "The neighbor immediately was concerned and backed out of the house and called us."
This is the second friends of mine who have died under similar type circumstances. Maybe it's a sign of our times, maybe we live too long, maybe medical science is able to keep our bodies functioning while discounting our souls. I don't know.

I just know that I wish Karen and Bill peace and rest.
Blogger Deb said...
I am so sorry, I'm still crying. Our healthcare system needs revamping, quickly. Their poor kids.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Those who worked with Karen back in Chicago are saddened, shocked and bewildered. Does anyone know how ill Karen actually was? Also, we would to reach out to her son John in San francisco but have no contact information. Any help would be appreciated.

Blogger GreyHair said...
We only knew Karen and Bill peripherally, and never met their children. This last picture of Karen is dramatically different from how she looked the last time we saw her. The reports in the homeowners newsletter suggested she was pretty much disabled and in chronic pain.

Contact me via my email:

I'll try and find some information for you.