How, to get him home. I did not know, how I was going to get my husband's body home. We live in the Charlotte, North Carolina area and he was in Indiana. Having been found passed away in his truck required an autopsy, they had to make sure of the reason. Then what? How was I going to get him home? I doubted that they would actually allow me to drive my Explorer to Indiana and pick up the body, even if they did, the paperwork would have to be unimaginable. I had promised him repeatedly that I would not have him cremated. I had to get him home.
A friend on social media reminded me of a group that I had saw online but never paid enough attention that it stuck in my mind. I would see it, think how sad and as most, move on to something more happy. Now, I needed this organization. Truckersfinalmile.org and a gentleman and truck driver by the name of Robert was going to become a God send. To be fully honest and above board, the company that my husband worked for, would have gotten him home, they had an insurance policy that would cover the expense of getting him home. At the time, I did not know this, did not fully understand what they were saying. Which leads me to saying, always have someone to help you, always have someone there who can talk with people and make sure that everything is understood. As it is, Truckersfinalmile got him home, the insurance money will cover his burial. But I'm ahead of myself.
After I contacted Robert by phone, who was driving at the time, but told me he would return my call as soon as he was stopped. It wasn't long before he returned my call and I told him what had happened. I filled him in on what little I knew and he took all of the information down and asked me to send him via email a photo of my husband. This is a group that operates on donations and they would need to set up a link just for my husband for anyone to give a tax deductible donation.
Once the link was up and being shared via social media, there was some confusion and problems. Other drivers for the company kept saying that the company was going to get him home. Robert from the organization called me with questions over it. He said that if the company was going to get my husband home, then he would step back and there was ethical issues there. I spoke at length with him and I spoke at length with someone from the company and there was the understanding that Truckersfinalmile would get him home. They had started the move and they would finish it.
It just took what seemed like forever. There was all manner of signatures needed on all manner of paperwork. I had filled out forms online, I had checked forms and I had checked the information I knew on the pending death certificate, I had spoken with people, and still I waited. The wait was very frustrating, at times causing various family members, wanting to just jump in vehicles and go and get him. The company that my husband had driven for called me at one point (they had kept in constant contact but this one was special) asking what was going on and I told them what I had been told. They asked if I had a funeral home and for me to talk with the director. I did get in contact with him and he in turn got in contact with the organization that truckersfinalmile used and it seemed that things stepped up more quickly. While I'm sure that Global Mortuary has a lot going on, maybe the fact that they were now dealing with someone other than a grieving widow got them to moving. Finally word came that things were about to happen. The flights had to be booked and the weather was a nightmare. He would fly from Illinois to Texas and from Texas to Charlotte where he would be taken to the funeral home. A seemingly long, long wait was finally coming to its end.
My husband passed away on March 7th, we finally got him home on March 16th. I understand that if he had passed away in California, it would have been a much longer wait because of the greater amount of paperwork and red tape.
Over the course of this time, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about a loved one passing, especially one passing so far from home. One of my husband's fears was that he would die out there and no one know. That he would go for an extended time before he was discovered. I had last spoken to my husband minutes before 9am, he was discovered around 11am slumped over on his bunk. It is important that we stay in contact with our loved ones out there. If you are accustomed to speaking with them at certain times and that time passes, start checking. If they are drivers for a company, know who their dispatcher is and how to get in contact with them and if need be, use that information. Have a contact person who can do that for you if you are unable. Know where they are going. Drivers, make sure your loved ones have the information they need, should they not hear from you.
Do not be afraid or too proud to ask for help. Don't think that you have to be super human and do it all, because at the moments of greatest distress and shock, we can't. We misunderstand, we don't hear, we don't know all of the questions to ask, we are overly emotional, and some times, we are easy prey for those who would take advantage.
Don't be afraid to ask those questions, over and over and over if you must so that you know, you fully understand what is going on. Ask for recommendations, ask people for the best for what ever you need. Those who have experienced before you, know who is the best go to for anything.
Understand that during the time it takes to get your loved one home, there are going to be more emotions than you knew you had flowing through and crashing out of you. Find ways to release this in a healthy way. Exercise, take long walks, find a distraction, get in the car, with the windows up and drive around shouting at the top of your lungs. Someone told me they went to really sad movies so they could allow the tears to fall.
Don't forget, in everything going on, to be as polite as you can be, there are those who are doing their best to help you, some things though are out of their control.
There are other organizations out there I am sure that are specifically for getting a loved one home. I used truckersfinalmile.org and they were amazing, they were respectful, they were available to answer any questions and concerns, telling me I could call at any time. Educate yourself on these and other things that are important. Insurance policies, places for burial, pre-need, wills, all things that one does not like to think of, but we really do need to have these things taken care of before the worst happens.
My husband was blessed in that he drove for a company who felt as if, and treated drivers and their family like family. Someone was always available to help and answer questions before my husband passed and have checked on me often since his passing. While they did not physically get him home, they did play a very large part in his return and continue to be here. They did not abandon him, they have not abandoned me. The insurance that was there to cover getting him home, will cover his burial.
I hope and pray that no one has to endure what we did, but if you do, I hope that this has helped in some way, shape or form.