The illness is over. The funeral is done. The “after-glow” party is a memory. Really, there has hardly been time to miss him. Yet, already the work to remove him from his life on earth has begun in earnest.
I made the mistake of doing the right thing by going to the bank on the day after Pop’s passing. What did they do? They froze his accounts. I am legally authorized to access these funds; yet they blind-sided me. Now I have to develop a new accounting system which includes funneling money through my own accounts. And if you think that the bank is following a reasonable course, try to keep your accounting clean during the days following death.
It was only a few days after Pop’s death that I began to receive official notices from various institutions of policies that needed my attention. These places needed an official death notice; these needed only a copy; these need me to fill out the forms; these wanted me to set up a time to come visit. I already knew of all of this, but — OMG, vultures — give him some time to cool off before descending. It’s a real challenge to extricate a guy from the bureaucracies.
Perhaps I’m making it all sound dramatic, but this is a period for drama, isn’t it? I want to bring it to your attention because you will have it all to face someday. Perhaps you already have. No matter how well you’ve prepared for it, it will be a hard time. And if you also have to deal with the emotional part of it, that’ll make it tougher. I hope to get through the administrative headaches before the emotional stuff hits me.
Given the above, it was only today that I was able to get to Piedmont Place to remove Pop’s stuff. Mom wanted it gone — all gone. I removed clothing and personal items, tools and batteries, books and, tomorrow, his easy chair. I reset Mom’s closet space spreading her stuff out in her and his closets. I rearranged the bathroom shelves with her stuff within easy reach (she’s vertically challenged, remember). For the time being, she wants to leave the cross-stitch works of art hanging on the wall.
It’s two weeks now since Pop died, and Mom is still claiming to be the happiest girl in the whole USA. She’s not being mean; just liberated of his domination and unburdened of the self-perceived medical requirements of his final months. “I’ve had a ball” Mom said to me as she exited the bathroom this afternoon. It seems that Pop had been restricting her to two squares of toilet paper per bathroom visit for years. It makes me wonder if we’ll now see a decrease or end to the number of urinary tract infections going forward.
One last story. Six years ago, the lawyers, bank and I set up accounts in such a way that each of us had access to necessary funds. Pop apparently convinced Mom that she did not have access to a checking account for which she actually did. She says that she has not written a check in years. (I can’t confirm that this is, in fact, true.) Today, I brought her a check already written out to her church for her tithe. All it required was her signature. After explaining that she was signing her own check, she was thrilled to do it, and she will be thrilled to drop it in the collection plate this Sunday.
We all grieve in our own ways. Mom is in a manic phase for now, but she might come down some day. So we’re taking steps to see if she’ll benefit from counseling. Her current mental state (dementia, Parkinson’s) might get in the way of effective treatment. But we have to give it a try.