The Town Clerk called me early in the morning to let me know Attorney Downs had come in and submitted the petition for guardianship. She told me I should get to her office ASAP so I could sign it for Judge Jerry Pow’s approval, which I did.
On my way to the hospital for the meeting with the social worker, I received a call saying the petition had been granted, signed and faxed to the Social worker. Meanwhile, I called the hospital and talked to a nurse about making sure a guard was aware that I did not want Tyler coming to Mary Grace’s room making a scene and getting Mary Grace upset.
Two social workers, attended the meeting and told me that Department of Human Relations Services (DHRS) had been notified because of Tyler’s involvement. Authorities later informed me that Tyler had been to DHRS offices in Centreville to try to gain custody of Mary Grace. DHRS would have to interview hospital social workers, me, and Mary Grace before she could go home with me. DHRS was scheduled to come to the hospital on Friday, June 26.
One thing Tyler did not realize was that John could not just “give” him custody of Mary Grace. If I had not been there, or no other family member had stepped up (which they would have), Mary Grace would have been a ward of the state. Tyler said in the podcast that I just left Mary Grace at the hospital and that she was just waiting for someone to get her out. Well, because of him, I could not get her out. I had to wait for DHRS to release her. Of course she wanted to leave, but she was enjoying walking the walls or sitting at the nurses’ station with them and coloring. I have attached some of her coloring book sheets.
I realize now, that since she has left the her house, Mary Grace does not like to be by herself. Even now she wants someone in the room with her. And when I reflect on her time in the hospital, I think about how good she ate. It was one of the things the nurses mentioned to me: that she ate everything they put in front of her. I believe there were times at home she went hungry.
OK, back to the story. It is so hard not to get side-tracked.
After our meeting, I asked the social workers and the hospital chaplain to go with me and Charlie to Mary Grace’s room to explain what was going on. From the beginning, I made a point of having a witness for everything I did.
I explained to Mary Grace about police catching Tyler on the property and trying to load up stuff. She was very upset and stated that “Tyler had no business on her property. He was John’s friend, and now John was gone”. I explained that I was here to help her in any way that I could. I asked her if she trusts me, and we talked about being family and how family took care of each other.
I told her she would not be able to go home but that she was going to a friend’s house. She knew the friend and her family, so she was happy about spending time with her. Then we talked about plans to bury John Brooks.
Mary Grace wanted the funeral to be held at the funeral home and asked for Brother Corley to handle the service. I explained that it would be easier on her if we had just a graveside service, and she agreed. I explained that I hoped having a graveside service would enable us to bury him sooner. She was fine with me going to the funeral home and taking care of the arrangements.
I left the hospital and went to the funeral home. They asked me to try to find John Brook’s burial policies, bring clothes for John Brooks, write an obituary, choose the color of the coffin, and tell them how many death certificates were needed. It was at this time that the funeral home director asked if I knew about John Brook’s nipple rings and all his tattoos, which I replied “Really?”, I did not know that. I asked if I could view the body, and they declined because it was not prepared for burial. I told the director that I wanted the nipple rings. The podcast stated that I had bad dealings with funeral homes in the past. That is not entirely true. It is just that I have a lot of experience with funeral homes; I have lost way too many loved ones. In all my dealings, we never had loved ones buried with any type of jewelry, including eyeglasses. The lesson I learned here: Think about the way you word things when you are being recorded (more on “nipplegate” later).
We left the funeral home and went up the street to order flowers for the coffin. I think Tyler would have been caught off guard with all the expense for a funeral. I guess he thought Mary Grace had the money to cover it. The coffin and major expenses had been prepaid which was a blessing. After the podcast, I realized Tyler thought John and Mary Grace were worth millions. And that is what John Brooks wanted people to believe.
We stopped by Lowe’s to buy bolt cutters to remove the padlock Tyler had put on the house. Later we replaced it with a new lock. We then met with the person who would dig the grave and the person in charge of overseeing the site at the Greenpond cemetery where John Brooks would be buried. I am telling you these details so you will know I had other things on my mind besides looking for “treasure” or taking valuables from the house.
We went to the Woodstock Police Department and asked Officer Jerry Lightsey, the on-call deputy, to follow us to Mary Grace’s so we could look for policies and get John Brook’s clothes. I wanted someone to witness the condition of the house when we went in for the first time. ( At this point I was not aware that Tyler and Lightsey were friends.)
When we got inside and started looking around, Lightsey showed us the freezer in the basement and said, “This is where the gold should have been, but it was not there.” I did not even know the house had a basement until John called one day and said he had been cleaning it out and organizing it. He had a lot of school books that had belonged to family members. We took pictures of the basement with our cell phones. SEE ATTACHED:
I got John Brooks a shirt and a pair of jeans. The glasses I saw earlier were now missing. There was a padlock on Mary Grace’s closet, which we cut off and later replaced. We looked for the burial policies but could not find them. We could not find a purse for Mary Grace or a billfold for John Brooks. Mary Grace did not have any clothes or shoes decent enough to wear. We also did not find any medicine. You could not stay in the house for any length of time because of the flea infestation. John Brooks owned 13 dogs at this time. Charlie and Officer Lightsey then went behind the house to look in the 18-wheeler trailer, where they saw tire marks in the grass, and put a lock on the trailer. See pictures
Charlie and I were living this crisis 24 hours a day. If we were not planning, we were on the phone with attorneys, police, the funeral home, friends, or family. There was no escaping it.
Having temporary custody of Mary Grace put a whole new light on the matter. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I took the responsibility seriously. I had to find her a place to live, bury John, and get the dogs placed. They had no money, and I knew nothing about their income or their bills. I also knew nothing about how Tyler played a part in all of this.
I had to get this puzzle put together FAST. I did know one thing: Mary Grace was NOT going back to that filthy house. If need be, I would take her home with me, so be it. Papa would have to pick a room. We’d have one more person moving in, and believe me, she would keep us entertained.
Ok–Let’s keep talking