Chris was inconsolable for the first few days. Rosa tried her best to not be too invasive while also being helpful. She made him meals that he didn’t eat and answered phone calls that he wouldn’t return.
She felt that her job was to merely hold the world at bay while he went through the grieving process. After the opening of the emotional floodgates the day that Angie died, Chris woke up forlorn the next day, and had been in a sullen state ever since. Rosa wasn’t sure if the stages of grief she’d heard about happened sequentially or what stage her brother might be in, but looking into the empty refrigerator, she realized her job had other duties as well.
She went out the back door where Chris was sitting on the patio watching the sun reflect on the swimming pool.
“I’m heading to the store,” she said. “I found a partial shopping list on the fridge. Anything else in particular you might want? Comfort food or something? It’s my treat.”
“Whatever you get will be fine,” Chris said.
“Ok.” Rosa kissed him on the forehead and patted him on the knee. “I’ll be back in a few.”
She stopped when she felt him take her hand and squeeze it.
“I want you to know,” he started, “I’m really thankful you’re here. I know this can’t be easy turning your life upside down like this.”
“Hey,” she said, taking a seat in the chair next to him and clutching his hand between hers.
“You’re my brother. You’d do the same for me.” He nodded.
“Besides,” she added, “I’m a freelancer. As long as I’ve got my laptop with me, I can work wherever I need to.”
“I guess that makes you safer than most, huh? Don’t even have to leave the house… or put yourself at risk for somebody else.”
Rosa sighed. “I do want to talk to you about that,” she said. “I called a few attorneys…”
“Rosa, I appreciate it, but…”
“Not now,” she interrupted, “but when you’re feeling better, we’re going to have to talk about it. I’ve talked to three different attorneys, and I think you need to talk to at least one of them.”
“You talked to them?”
“Well, I talked to their assistants or whatever, but they each offered a free consultation. I’m not fluent in legalese, but at the very least, I think it means you have a case.”
“Honey, I don’t want to pursue a case. I just want to sit here, watch the pool, and be miserable. Okay? That’s all I have strength for right now.”
“I know, Chris, but I also know that you just got strapped with a week-long hospital bill in the intensive care unit. That stuff doesn’t come cheap.”
“She has insurance through work… had insurance… I don’t know. I’m sure it’s enough to cover it.”
Rosa decided to not say anything. She just nodded and held his hand. There would be better times to talk about this, and for the time being, she wanted to just keep the world at bay to let her brother heal.
“I’m going to the store. Sure you don’t want anything special?”
He shook his head and she made her way through the back door. She knew that Chris probably didn’t have the wherewithal to fully think this through, but in Rosa’s mind, her brother was going to have to contend with much more than a few hospital bills. And while her employer’s insurance company might cover some of it, Rosa knew that if Angie hadn’t been at work in the first place, her brother wouldn’t be grieving now.