“Here, let me take that,” I said as I gently took it from him.
I held the gun awkwardly in my hands. Now, what am I going to do with this, I wondered.
First things first, I needed to get him some help. He was in a bad place. Thankfully I found him when I did.
My day had started like any typical Friday. I was at work when I got a call from one of his co-workers.
“Hey Michelle, this is Bill. I just wanted to call and see if everything is ok with Dave. He hasn’t shown up for work the past three days and hasn’t even called in.”
I was shocked. The past three days Dave had gotten ready and left before I did. If he wasn’t going to work, where was he going? Where was he now?
I started to panic. I knew he had a history of depression, I just didn’t know how far he had fallen.
Maybe he went to his rental property, I thought. Before we moved in together, he was living in the bottom apartment of a two-flat on Blaine Street. He was recently spending time on weekends at the rental getting it ready to sell.
As I drove to the rental property, another thought hit me. What if he was there and I was too late? Or, what if he was there and had a gun, did I really want to walk in there alone?
I called the police department.
They were at the house when I got there. A female police officer walked up to me.
“He’s not there. It doesn’t look like anyone has been there in a while. The place is inhabitable. I was just out here last week with the building inspector,” she said.
My panic was mounting. Where could he be?
“Maybe he went back at our house,” I said. I told the officer where we lived in the country.
“I’ll call the Rock County sheriff’s department and have them check the house,” she said.
While I was waiting to hear if the sheriff’s found him at the house, I contacted his ex-wife and told her what was going on. She wasn’t surprised. He’s done this before, she said.
She told me about a campground that he often would go to when he was in this state.
As I was finishing up on the phone, the officer returned to my side.
“Green County sheriff did a drive by and they didn’t see any sign that there was someone at the house. So I don’t think he’s there,” the officer said.
I thanked her and then got into my car and headed to the campground.
I drove around the 54-site campground three times before I gave up. He wasn’t there.
My panic had turned to frustration. Where could he possibly be?
Then I remember something strange that happened a couple days ago, which would have been the first day he didn’t show up at work. I noticed that the thermostat at the house had been turned up, even though no one had been home. When I complained about it, Dave blamed my kids and said they probably came home sometime during the day and turned it up.
He had to be at the house. He must have been pretending to go to work the past couple days and then returning to the house after I left for work.
I turned the car around and headed toward home.
When I got to the house, I drove past it to see if I could see his car in the driveway of the farmette where we lived.
He’s got to be here, I thought.
I decided to drive through the neighborhood behind our property to see if I could see anything from that vantage point. As I drove slowly, peering in between the houses, I saw a glint of metal in-between the two barns on our property. I stopped the car and put it in reverse to see if I could get a better look.
And there it was, his truck hiding between the barns.
Now what am I going to do? I can’t just walk in there by myself, I thought
I drove to the nearby grocery store and called the sheriff’s department. They agreed to send a unit to meet me.
From the grocery store I drove to the house with the sheriff’s escort. When we got to the house, I told the two deputies that I preferred to walk in first to the house. I was afraid they might shoot my dogs as they rushed out the door to greet us.
I walked into the house, two sheriff’s deputies at my flank with their guns drawn.
“Dave,” I called. “Dave, are you here.”
I heard a faint reply. “In here.”
I turned into the great room where Dave sat at the desk. He didn’t look good.
“Dave, honey, I’ve been looking all over for you. I’m so worried. Everyone is worried about you,” I said as I walked up to him.
Once I was standing right over him I saw that he was writing a good-bye letter to his daughters.
“Hi Dave, we’re with the sheriff’s department. Michelle was worried about you so she asked that we come into the home with her,” one of the deputies said. “We just want to make sure that you are okay.”
Dave didn’t say a word.
Then I did something really stupid. I sent the deputies away.
“You know, I think we’re good. We’re gonna get him some help. You can go. We’re good,” I told them.
And they left.
I convinced Dave to sit on the couch with me so we could talk. I saw the gun in his pocket as we sat down.
After taking the gun away from him, we talked and he agreed to let me take him somewhere where he could get help.
When we got in the car, I put the gun in my door. My first stop was the local police department. I called ahead and told them that I would be dropping off the gun. I sure as hell didn’t want it.
An officer was at the station as I pulled up. I opened my car door and pointed to the gun in the car door.
“Please take this,” I said.
The officer took the gun and then I drove Dave to the hospital to get the help he needed.