When I arrived at Mary Kay and Jon’s house after the burial, she put me to work. “Here,” she said with her characteristic southern accent, “do you think you could clean up the blood all over the walls?“
I took a look around the small country-yellow painted walls. Tiny sprays of blood were flung on the walls as if someone had taken a paint brush and run their finger through the brush. Or something worse. I couldn’t help but have a flash back to the Charles Manson Murders. That story gave me the heebeejeebies for years.
In some places, the blood fanned across a large section – up to eye level. In some, there were finger marks and small drops in surprising places. It was throughout the house: kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallway, living room. How was I going to clean it? I knew that removing blood from fabric required cool water rinsed over it. But what about stucko walls? Who should I call? The homicide department of the Shreveport police?
A few days earlier, while MK attended to her mother in her final hours some 4 hours away, her husband Jon was cutting down some tree limbs in their back yard when a limb came down, smashing into his left hand. He nearly passed out from the pain (or potentially seeing his bone poking out perpendicular to normal). Thanks to his teen age son, he was assisted inside to a chair to wait for the police to show up. Within a few hours he had undergone surgery to right the main bone in his index finger to it’s proper position. It had been a bad day.
But that wasn’t why the blood was on the walls.
It was maybe two days later when the rest of the family packed for the funeral that Tucker, their Border Collie, had gotten in a tussle with Speckles, their mid-sized, short-haired Louisiana Catahoola Leopard Dog mix.
Crunch. He bit down on poor Speckles ear.
At which point, Speckles took off around the house, shaking his spurting ear as he went: kitchen, bathroom, living room … the wood floor, linoleum, cabinetry — you name it. He literally left no wall untouched. “Speckles” had lived up to his name.
I was afraid if I Googled “how to get blood off your wall“, I might end up with the police at my door front. It will be tough enough with the Google Ads that will come now that I’ve talked about homicide on my blog.
All of this the week your mom dies is a bit much. But on the other hand, it has a way of focusing you on what matters. Like just being together, reminiscing about the things that made you laugh, making plans for a service, listening to music, crying. Dishes? Laundry? Cleaning the dog blood off the walls? It could just wait.
(Thankfully, it only took some warm soapy water.)