Everything feels “off”. By “off”, I mean not only as in “powered down” but also off as in “off kilter” or “askew”. I go home to my apartment and it doesn’t look or feel the same. Naturally, it wouldn’t look the same because it’s a total pig sty right now, complete with undusted surfaces, unwashed dishes in the sink and stacks of boxes filled with items taken from Mom’s home. Those boxes are in every room of my 2-bed, 2-bath apartment. I have no idea where I will put everything, but I’ll handle it because those items are now all that are left of my mother and father. Those items are all that I wanted to keep. The rest have either gone to my sister or they are to be sold in the estate sale this coming week or will be donated to charity.
My 89-year old mother passed away in early-mid February, a little less than 5 years after my 86-year old father died. She was in the hospital for a week and then I and my sister took her home to care for her with the help of Hospice. After Mom’s death, my sister flew back to her home and family in the Pacific Northwest and I began the duties as Executrix for my mother’s estate.
This has been one of the hardest, most physically- and emotionally-draining things I have ever done in my entire 53 (almost 54) years of life.
In addition to my full-time job, I am handling Mom’s estate. All by myself (ok, I have the attorney working on probating the will, but you know what I mean). And my sister and I are sooo very thankful that Mom had the means to pay for everything and that she had the foresight to put me as a signer (signor?) on her checking account.
You see, here in the U.S., you can’t die for free. Not unless you are totally indigent, I guess. Mom was not indigent, so of course there was a fee for the cremation, and another fee for interring her ashes in a little niche at the local cemetery. Then, there’s the filing of the income taxes. And the costs for probating her will. Plus, I can’t do much of anything without the Letters of Testamentary (part of the probate process) but that will only occur after the 10-14 day waiting period while the Court publishes notice of the probate in the local paper to let any creditors know of Mom’s demise. Luckily, Mom’s house and car and everything else were all paid for. Nonetheless, I can’t sell her car or the house or get the taxes done or do any other of the myriad tasks dealing with Mom’s death without those Letters.
I wrote the obituary.
I informed people and agencies of Mom’s death.
Everything I have done is a reminder of the demise of her existence.
I talk to my sister on a daily basis – sometimes more than once – particularly if there is some sort of emergency (which there usually is). I, who never wanted any more responsibility than that of work (which is why I have not yet ever remarried, why I never wanted to buy a house or why I don’t even own a pet) now shoulder more responsibility than I sometimes feel I can handle (but I’m an Aries, so you can damned well be sure I will handle the responsibility and I’ll handle it successfully).
I have very little vacation time left for this year, and it’s only March. Most of my free days were spent caring for Mom or attending to her estate matters. I will have to take a day off to attend court in order to get the Letters Testamentary. I will have to take a day off to go to the local Social Security Office in order to inform them of Mom’s death and get a tax form to take to Mom’s accountant for taxes. I’m sure I’ll have to take another 2 or 3 days off regarding other estate issues, as well. I *am* taking a couple of 3-day trips during national holidays (Memorial Day and Thanksgiving) to spend time with my sister and her family; which reminds me, I still need to find out if United Airlines will allow me to carry the cremated remains of my father in checked luggage since I want to leave them with my sister for a future trip with her to Montana to spread Dad’s ashes over his favorite place there. Thankfully (right now, anyway), I also have enough time left to take a 10-day trip (including weekends and holidays) to London in December to see the Christmas lights and to watch the New Year’s fireworks over the London Eye and to just escape from everything I will have had to deal with over the year. I want to recharge my photography (’cause I haven’t felt like taking photos at all and still don’t feel like it) and I want to explore that wonderful city. Who knows – maybe I’ll meet an awesome Brit of my dreams there …. Stranger things have happened, right?
In the meantime, though, I feel sad and lonely and a little out of place. I get teary often; I was never one of those sentimental, sappy kind of people, so this teary thing is a nuisance and an emotional drain all at the same time. I miss Mom. I keep feeling like I should have / could have done more. I’m always exhausted. I’m still sick with a lingering cold. I’m now dealing with the wet carpet in the sunken living room all by myself; heavy rains and a crack (or two) in the foundation slab contributed to the issue and the house now smells while the carpet dries. I need a hug and there is nobody here to give me one; actually, I could use lots of hugs.
Everything just feels off.
I walk through Mom’s house, checking on the damp living room carpet to see how much more it has dried, looking at all the things set up by the estate sales agent in preparation for this weekend’s sale. It doesn’t feel like Mom’s house anymore because Mom’s not there any longer. It’s just a house now filled with loads of stuff collected over a lifetime of 89 years for Mom, and 86 years for Dad. And I feel empty. I know things must be “off” if I feel like going in to work is the same thing as taking a vacation.
I guess the best thing that can be said is that I am busy. I am busy with work (bless my co-workers for being so patient while I take off days here and there to handle this stuff), I am busy with the estate, and once all of this is over with and done, I will be handling my own messy apartment and initiating the process of researching places to live around and within Houston, much closer than where I currently reside (moving won’t happen until 2016).
Before all of this occurred, I was rather emotionally detached. Now, I find that I am sympathizing more with people and their situations – especially if they are going through similar experiences.
Right now, it all sucks but I know that this, too, shall pass. I know that somewhere at the end of this long, narrow tunnel there is a pinpoint of light; I don’t see it yet, but I know that it’s there.
8 responses to “Feeling “Off””
I am so very sorry for your loss, and I totally understand how much you have been dealing with. I am a legal assistant, and I deal with Wills and Estates. It’s not free to die in Canada either, and until people go through it they have no idea what a lengthy process it is and how much work is involved, and that’s all while you’re dealing with intense grief. I have family who come in and start getting angry with me because they think the estate should be wound up in a couple of months, but that’s just not the way it works, especially since you can’t wind anything up until the government finally gives you clearance, and that process can take at least a year. My parents are in their 80’s now too, and I know when their time comes, it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with, and it will be made even worse by the fact that they live 4 hours away from me. My heart goes out to you, and I sincerely hope that the process of winding up your mom’s estate goes smoothly so that you spend time with happy memories and not dealing with estate glitches.
My deepest sympathy for your loss Rebecca. (((HUGS)))
So sorry about your loss. I and others ,I am sure wish we could help with your pain. But alas all we can do is be their for you.. I have a feeling you will come thru this like the trooper you are. My best wishes are being sent to you. God Bless.
oh dear sweet and spicy Becky, yes indeed you are a trooper… and you WILL come through this to the other side of the storm of grief, and yet, meanwhile, we take one step at a time and look for some little something every day for which to be grateful. It is certainly time now for the good Karma you accumulated in so many ways to come back and surround you now and help you through the day to day process of learning a “new normal” to life. I understand this process all too well having lost so many, and know that the moments of being teary (even downright messy sobbing times far beyond simply the more refined “teary”!) will come upon you unexpectedly and at odd moments for a long time, but they WILL also gradually turn into sweet memories and a warm blanket of comfort as time goes on.
You have so very much more to cope with than just loss… all that extra work sucks! And you are a person who attends to those details thouroughly I am betting… planning them carefully. I was so ill prepared to cope with all that when my husband died, and as a result I pretty much lost everything we built together from lack of action and stupid decisions. As hard as it all is, it sounds like you do have a handle on things, albeit it s slippery hold on the handle! Sending you abundant hugs and warm caring thoughts, feelings and prayers. I am sorry that I was so caught up in my own story in life that I had not caught what was happening back in February!
Hang in there Becky… bless your beautiful heart
And bless you, Darlisa. Thank you for this. I know I’m not the first person to have ever experienced this, and life does go on, doesn’t it?
oh yes, it certainly does go on! allow the grieving, and don’t beat yourself up when it feels like you can’t “do it all”. Do what you can on the days that are good, and head for the hills when days are bad! You more than many know the value of nature in this process…
ps your mom looks as beautiful and lively and fun loving as you!
I’m so sorry for your loss. My mother-in-law died last summer and my out-of-town sister-in-law is dealing with estate matters. I know it has been a tremendous burden, both emotionally and practically. It’s not easy wrapping up a life, filing papers and sorting through stuff, all overlaid with a mantle of grief.
As the in-town family, much of the physical sorting fell to us and I was the one who took that final walk through the silent, empty house when it sold last month.
I hope things get better for you soon.
(ps I saw you commenting over at Life In the Boomer Lane and followed you back, lest you think I’m a crazed, random stalker. Your pictures are lovely!)