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The heaviness of knowing...

(I double checked by posting this as private, me only to be sure I did the cut tag properly. Please let me know if there's issues, because, well, content warning.)

Talked to my mom yesterday, about various things mostly, what I wanted from the house, that sort of thing.

Then she caught me up on the rest of the family.

First, mom is moving out to my brother's, to the InLaw suite next month likely. All well and good and load of worry off our minds, as she won't be alone in the house anymore.

It's an old house, close to 200 yrs now, and starting to really show it. It's bigger than she really needs, at 3 bed and 2 bath, with full basement, a couple acres and a garage.

So my SiL's brother and his daughter will be renting it from her instead. Which means I have time to get up there, gather some rocks from dad's rock garden, and dig up Irises. There's no rush anymore.

Next, she was telling me about my sister Jean and my oldest niece, as well as her kids (she has 3). Jean has 4 days off (she works for the school system), so will be coming by to see if there's anything she wants, which was why mom called.

We got to talking about Becky, my oldest niece. Apparently, she's recently been diagnosed as autistic.

We knew that already, Mark and I.

The rest of the family just went along with the BiPolar and OCD diagnosis. Even though, they never really *fit*, properly or entirely.

So Becky has been researching (good for her!) and figuring out that this explains a lot of things for her. But to top it off, Ellie, her oldest, has also been diagnosed as autistic. So Becky researching means she'll be better able to help Ellie as well as herself.

Which brings us to Eli, Becky's middle child.

Eli is transgender. Eli likes bright colors, rainbows, pinks, and wearing dresses.

The best thing about all of this is that Becky and Jean have recognized the issues Eli was having with fellow students at school (bullying) so Eli and Ellie will both be homeschooled until further notice, to protect them, or until a better school is found for Eli.

I do not know Eli's pronouns, as I do not have regular contact with Jean and Becky- mostly Becky, after I had to force her to leave my parents' house for verbally attacking my dad, threatening to hit him, then me.

But I am really proud of Jean for stepping up for her grandkids.

Mom said Oliver, the youngest was 'all boy' and not autistic. A bit of foreshadowing tells me, he'll grow up to be his older siblings' protector of sorts. I did.

So that brings us to the events of August 25, 2020.

August 25th, 2020, my aunt was out grocery shopping and had just come home.

Mom said she parked in the garage, which is attached, took groceries into the kitchen and was 'puttering around there for awhile', before walking into the living room.

A little stage setting- as you face the house, the garage is on the right side. You entire the house through the garage, into the living room, or you go through the garage to the back deck, then can come straight into the kitchen.

Front of the house is garage on right, living room, then front porch with dining room. Back of house is back deck, entrance into foyer whereupon you either turn left for the bathroom, go straight to go to the basement, or turn right to entire the kitchen. Next to the kitchen is an office.

You have to leave the kitchen, enter the dining room and turn left to go through to the living room- it's a large open archway type deal.

Upstairs is the bedrooms and second bath, with the stairs up in the living (they're over the basement stairs.

So, my aunt had taken care of groceries- and I'm assuming this meant she went through to the back deck and into the kitchen via the back door. Then went into the living room.

Where she came face to face with an intruder.

She immediately started screaming, ran out of the house, down the hill to the neighbor's and called the police.

Only, it turns out the police had *already* been called.

Because the man had *already* been found in *their garage*, by the neighbor lady, who was blind. She had heard someone in the garage, opened the door, asked if anyone was there, and got a response back. So she shut and locked the door, found her husband and called the police. Only to have, a short time later, my aunt come pounding on the door because he was now *in her house*.

Apparently he'd been in the house long enough to search it, found my uncle's gun safe, which held his and my cousin's rifles, as well as ammo.

By now, I'm sure he can hear the police coming. So he apparently staged the guns at various windows and barricaded himself in the house.

Roughly 25 police officers showed up. Including what amounts to SWAT from my hometown county.

Long story short, he pointed what appeared to be a large handgun at police- it turned out to be a toy?- , yelled about not going back to prison, and asked police if they were ready to die, before opening fire on them. One police car was put out of commission.

They responded by firing more than *20 canisters of tear gas into my aunt and uncle's home*.

A breaching team was attempting to reach the front door, with a breaching rifle loaded and ready, so they could toss in a cellphone to talk to him, when the lead saw him charging the window at them and fired. He then ordered his team back.

They found the man dead on the garage floor, with a rifle nearby.

Needless to say, my aunt was extremely traumatized and refused to go back into the house. Nearly every window was broken, tear gas every where. Their insurance company had to have ServPro come out, pack everything up and thoroughly clean and repair the house. My aunt and uncle then had to go through the boxes- retraumatizing my aunt- to catalog everything and decide what was worth saving and what wasn't, for insurance purposes.

Thankfully, my cousin's wife's family owns a condo nearby and told them it was theirs to use indefinitely.

They sold the house. For which I do not blame them one bit. ( Housing being what it is right now, they're having an extremely hard time finding a house they like, that they can afford. So I'm really glad they have the condo to use.)

Me being me, I had to know who this guy was. So I did some research. I mean, small towns, he's my age, I might have know him from somewhere. But nope, I don't.

They have determined it was a justified shooting. And I feel sorry for his kids and grandkids. The family set up a fundraiser, and, rightfully to be honest, claims there's more to the story that the police aren't saying.

But the 'what ifs' got overwhelming last night. My mom currently lives alone, granted she's in a neighborhood with close neighbors, as does my grandaunt Rosie. But my grandmother lives alone, with no close neighbors. What if my aunt hadn't walked into the living room. What if she hadn't had time to run. What if the neighbors hadn't been home. What if...

What if he never stole the motorcycle that morning that set off this chain of events.


So. Yeah.

Still processing this.

Anyway, woke up to a dead Dish internet modem, so am hotspotting my phone. Been having issues with the modem the last couple weeks, betting that's why they keep saying we've used up our allocated data a week before the end of the month.

But I can't hotspot my phone indefinitely, so will only do it long enough to update/catch up on emails and here.

Should have a new modem by Monday. Next month, we're switching to a local company that claims to not throttle or have a data cap, as well as the new tower is a mile from the house. They say everyone on our road is eligible to use their internet, so we'll see.

Maybe we'll finally be able to stream.

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