John Putnam's Journal
May 29, 2003
Day 4 - Thursday, May 29th, 2003 - Our cousin had stayed the night at our hotel. The following morning Phil and I along with our wives left to go to the Horseshoe Bay marina again to get the jet skis and start looking again. We could not wake up our cousin. We stopped by the lake house to see mom and dad. We picked up some 2 way radios to use on the lake. Phil and I each had one and there was one left at the house. We made it back to the marina and the staff there again was set up for us to get out on the water. I believe we left around 10am or so this time. We made it back out to the point and started our usual pattern. By this time, we were becoming more comfortable with the lay of the lake. We had been out on it long enough now we kind of knew where things were and which direction was north. Actually, we had been in the Marble Falls area four days now and we were becoming more familiar with the area and beginning to feel settled in. I recalled driving down to Marble Falls that first morning and thinking to myself that "Marble Falls" would probably end up being a hellish place in my future life without Laura. I just assumed that would be the case. However, by now we had met some of the local people and they had all been so supportive of our family, it was easy to have a positive feeling about the area despite the horror of the tragedy. As of the time of this writing, I hold a nice place in my heart for the people of that area.
We spent the usual 2 hours or so on the water. Arrangements had been made back at the lake house for us to have lunch with mom and dad. The people that owned the lake house next door to the one that Laura had been staying did an amazing favor for our family. They were friends with the family that owned the lake house where Laura had been staying. The owner flew down from Lubbock and unlocked his house so we could use it. Wow. Mom and dad moved in. That had to be a good feeling. A little stretching room and a place to be by themselves.
We had agreed to take the jet skis back to the lake house for lunch which we did. The group there had set us up very nicely in the second lake house. People were bringing food from all over just to help. We were set up to have a private family lunch. Participants included mom, dad, our cousin, Phil, myself and our wives. We ate and enjoyed some small talk. Once lunch was over, we cleared the table and dad was set to talk to us about funeral arrangements. Up to this point we all knew she was dead, we just had not really discussed it openly. Especially funeral arrangements.
Dad started off by telling us that he and mom had discussed it and they were considering cremation. This really set my heart at ease. All along I had been thinking to myself that if the family opted to have an open casket, I was not going to the funeral. Closed would have been ok, but talk of cremation really shed a new light on how to handle this. Before we could respond, mom and dad adamantly stated that it was a family decision and if we were not on board, it was certainly open for discussion. There was no discussion. We all immediately showed support and that was pretty much the end of that. Dad spoke of having some of her remains placed in lockets and some spread out at our family farm owned by my brother. The rest, he said, he wanted placed in the casket with his mother, Aliene. She was our tremendously beloved grandmother that passed away when Laura was about 8 years old. That was tough. It was such the right thing to do, but to think of the magnitude of respect shown to both women was heart wrenching.
Other topics had to do with what kind of music we wanted. Where we wanted to attempt to have the service. Whether or not we would have a visitation. Who would preside and so on. It was decided Audrey and I would be leaving to go back to Fort Worth by Sunday at the latest. We had some things to tend to including bills, our own as well as a couple for mom and dad. Audrey's best friend and her fiancé had been keeping an eye on our house for us, checking our mail and feeding our cat. We were going to go to the church, florist and funeral home to get the information on cremation, urns and the details regarding what we needed to do. The meeting ended around 2 or so. Phil, Audrey and I went back out on the jet skis for a couple of more hours.
Once off the lake for the day, we headed back by mom and dad's to let them know we were done and going to the hotel. Our cousin had left with instructions to drive to Oklahoma and tell my dad's sister that we were all ok and we would see her soon. My dad's sister is in very poor health. Somewhere in the days events, it came to pass that one of Phil's dear friends and his wife had loaded up from Dallas and were on the way to our hotel. This is about the time I started to realize that our family had seemingly left in the middle of the night in some way. That first day we left a huge group of people behind that cared about us and essentially disappeared. Basically, before anyone outside our family knew what was going on, we were already in Marble Falls. Eventually, I guess it just got to some people and they couldn't stand it anymore. They had to see us.
We eventually made it to Chili's. Wendel and Ann showed up shortly thereafter. We spent the evening with them going over all the details of what was happening. It was nice to see them. We found out then that the rest of Phil's friends were on the way as well and we were expecting them some time on Saturday.