Caregiving Beyond the Grave
Mom recently passed away and I thought I would get that long-awaited sense of freedom but it has been out of the frying pan, into the fire. If you are like me and have been doing all the caregiving alone, guess what else you will be doing alone?
The aftermath. You know the saying, you can’t take it with you, well guess where they will be leaving it...in your lap.
First there’s the burial arrangements. I was lucky my brother flew in to be with me during moms death and making the arrangements. Then he flew out.
And here I am.
After the burial comes the legal paperwork. Social Security, pensions, insurance policies, bank accounts, all tied up in a Trust with tax implications.
I’m trying to avoid the lawyer at $250/hour so I’m working my way through the systems with the help of the internet, lots of phone calls and a kitchen table covered with designated piles.
Simple deposits and payments that ran smoothly for years suddenly become complicated state and federal issues with a myriad of forms. I downloaded a one page form that has seven pages of explanation to fill out the form. Really?
Then there is the family home of 65 years. Need I say more. You probably know how much can be in a home, garage, yard and shed with 65 years of living because you’re facing the same situation.
It’s a lot of physical work and also an emotional roller coaster as every item holds a memory. One day I cleaned out something as simple as Mom’s sewing drawer.
It was a Pandora's box of memory upon memory all intricately woven into a matrix of childhood memories. There was all her clothes to be dispersed.
She still had her wedding dress from 1946. Photos, mementos, nik naks, books, cards, letters. All the things that make up a life. A three bedroom house with furniture. A full kitchen. Bedrooms, bathrooms, cupboards, dressers, desks, closets all full. Everything to be picked up and a decision to be made. Its overwhelming.
And after the weeks? months? of making these decisions and clearing out the house, there’s the house itself. Find a realtor, make necessary repairs, get it on the market, the paperwork, cost, and tax implications of all that.
I have been bound and tied to this journey for 8 years already caregiving mom and upon her death I’m in it even deeper. Day by day I get something done. Days I can’t, that's OK. One day I assume it will really All. Be. Done.