December 27, 2012
I came into the house. The familiar house that I grew up in. The cats are happy to see me- they are hungry because they haven’t had breakfast yet. Beyond tired from a red-eye flight that was delayed by an hour and a half, I numbly walk around the house. Mail on the counter. A bag of groceries on the other counter. In the care giver’s haste, they hadn’t been put away. Meat and fish ended up in the trash. I was doing ok until I walked into the living room and saw mom’s desk. There were a few pieces of paper and a pen. Was this where she sat when she wrote the note? I held the top piece of paper at an angle to see if I could make out any impressions from things possibly written on a piece of paper that had been on top of it. There were none. Tears.
I walked around and looked around some more. Dragged the suitcase upstairs. Where to sleep. Not in mom’s bed. Not where she took her last breath. The other bedroom. Where dad would sleep on occasion when mom’s snoring was too loud.
I went into mom’s room and noticed that her pill bottles had been taken by the medical examiner. Her pants, shirt and bra were still on the chair, shoes by the dresser. And a cup was on the other dresser; the one where she kept her pills. Was this the cup for water that she used to swallow her pills of death?
I looked through her top dresser drawer; where she kept an assortment of things, from her camera that was seldom used, to nail files, some jewelry and safety pins. Then I looked through her jewelry box. She still had a pin I made her in third grade. Some pieces of jewelry I remembered were things passed down from her mother: a garnet necklace, brooch, and earrings. Another piece was a necklace made from round paper clips and plastic pony beads. She must have worn that necklace a hundred times or more. More tears.
Everything was as it had been three days prior, when the state medical examiner took my mother’s body. The food in the fridge was what I expected. Two boxes of candy sat, unopened: Christmas presents. There was no Christmas tree up this year, just an arrangement on the table of conifer greens decorated with a few red flowers, berries, and a ribbon, completed with 2 red tapers, waiting to be lighted. Mail had been piled on the kitchen counter.
Still a zombie, I called the funeral home. They would take care of mom’s body. All I had to do was help them fill out a bunch of paperwork and provide payment. I told them that the state police still had the note that mom wrote, and I want it. I was told I could have it. They’ll try to help me get it back. What I want to know is, was this planned, or was it a spur of the moment decision, made at 3am by a confused, overtired, hopeless mind?
December 28, 2012
Today when the mail came. I sorted bills from junk from Christmas cards. The largest envelope was a Christmas card, and it had gotten a little bit wet sitting in the mailbox. What a shame, I thought. Not that mom was here to read it. Then I flipped it over to see who had sent it, and my heart hit the ground. It was the one I had sent. She never got to see it.
On the other hand, the Christmas present I sent, was already unwrapped. She hadn’t waited until the 25th to open it. A book: Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife. I wonder if she read any of it. Doesn’t matter now.
Time to move on finding the cats a new home. A trusted friend highly recommended a local, no-kill shelter. They don’t have room, but expect to have some after the weekend’s adoption event.
December 29, 2012
Lot more phone calls to friends, sharing the bad news. Some of them shared stories, while others thanked me for letting them know and asked when the service will be. Mom’s caregiver came over and we reminisced and commiserated. A friend of Mom’s came by, gave me some photos of them, and we also reminisced and commiserated. Tiring day.
December 30, 2012
A friend came over today to help bag up mom’s clothes for donation. They will go to a good, local cause. Walkers and wheelchairs will go to another good cause. Mom always volunteered. She would be pleased. In the living room sits her violin and viola. She played them for over 70 years, most of those, professionally. Her violin will be left to another violinist, not the family. It was very important to mom that the instrument be left with someone who will continue to play it. I agree.
December 31, 2012
Finally the weekend is over so I can get more business done. Biggest load on my mind is finding a new home for the 2 cats. After calling about 10 local no-kill shelters, I had no luck. They are all full. But someone tells me that my next door neighbor volunteers at one of these shelters. I called her to find out if they had a successful adoption day over the weekend, giving them room. She wasn’t home, but I tell my story to her husband, and he assures me that one way or another, they will take care of the cats. I bawl. Big weight lifted. Suddenly, I realize how attached to these cats I am.
Now it’s just down to the business of settling the estate and taking care of the things in this house, and eventually, the house itself. There is no time-table. No hurry. The long task has begun.