Sarah was saddened by the passing of her mother-in-law. Of her children’s four grandparents, only her mother was still alive. But she had moved to Florida, far away from any of her family. Sarah felt so alone.
With the death came a transition for John and Sarah. The big house became theirs. But something died in John when his mother passed away. He stopped cutting the grass or making repairs on the house. There was a small leak in the den. He bought the things to fix it, but never did. The small leak got bigger. They put buckets under it, but couldn’t catch all the drips. It wasn’t long before the hole got bigger, which caused the floor to rot. Sarah begged him to fix it. A person had to step over the hole to get in and out of the back door or to get to the washer and dryer. Since the furnace needed a small repair and the thermostat needed replaced, the only heat downstairs was the gas logs in the den. The den got worse and worse and eventually had to be closed off.
Life wasn’t all bad. Sarah still had to smoke, but she was only actually smoking one a day after John came home. She had been diagnosed with high blood pressure so John let her cut back. She was also better at getting rid of the cigarettes she was supposed to do during the day.
In 2009, twenty years after they were married, they finally got to take a honeymoon. The kids were out of town on an Appalachian mission trip with the church youth group. John and Sarah went to Gatlinburg, where the rented a little place. It was beautiful and relaxing. They went to Cades Cove, Ripley’s museum, and the aquarium. They even went fishing. John talked about buying a vacation home in Gatlinburg, and even though it didn’t happen, he bragged for years about his place in the mountains.
About this time, John reconnected with his cousin, Henry. Every afternoon after John left work, he would go to Henry’s and wouldn’t come home until sometimes 11pm. Henry had a little fishing cottage in Georgia, and the two cousins frequently spent weekends down there.
By this time, John had already been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and was on a couple of medications. Things went pretty smoothly until the Spring of 2012, when Sarah was sure he had lost all common sense.