I apologize for my distinct lack of desire to relive this, but alas, it’s history, it’s not ‘flowing’ or coming out as easily as other writings have…it’s overwhelming at times and I just have to step away and take a break. But, I know if I write it, I’m also freeing myself from it at the same time.
April 26th (the day of Dad’s death) when I informed everyone of his passing, I also took a vote as to what kind of service to have. Despite not wanting to, Richard and I had been looking at the funeral home brochure and they had ‘packages’ that included the limo, catering, etc. Dad was a pretty low-key kind of guy, I didn’t think he’d want that, but asked everyone anyway.
Consensuses indicated an immediate burial of Dad with no family at the graveside, and then, have a small memorial at a church.
So, with Richard and I back home Friday, April 26, we had a LOT of work waiting for us here, like paying Dad’s bills, going through nearly two weeks of both Dad’s and our mail and email, mucking, cleaning water troughs, cleaning dirt boxes and kitty vomit (my elder Kidney Disease cat was mistakenly given the wrong food.) It was a lot of work, plus, now we had a memorial to plan too.
I was exhausted beyond belief and couldn’t get myself to function. I missed the high functioning person I had been. I tried my old standby of caffeine, but it no longer held the ability to help my stamina to last just a little bit longer. I was fried and there was no artificial means of bringing more brain bucks. I needed quiet and rest, and lots of it.
I knew there was no way I could plan a memorial, so, I handed it off to my three brothers. They should be able to get together and plan it; besides Rebel Heart said he wanted to be involved in as much of the planning as was possible. Great. Problem solved!
I would come to learn from Dad’s ex-wife that Rebel Heart called her not once but twice the morning of Dad’s death about the Will, and, as she said, “Your Dad’s body wasn’t even cold yet.”
Interesting. A phone call I had with Rebel Heart even before our first trip on April 17 was: 1) He said he wished he would have known I was coming like a week prior and he would ask me to make Rice Krispie cookies for him. No joke. He said that. Um, okay. He’s 47-years-old. I ask, “Don’t you have the recipe?”
“Yeah, but it takes a candy thermometer and stuff.”
“No it doesn’t.”
and 2) “I don’t really eat sweets anymore but I was telling my friends how good they are and they don’t believe me. Could you at least bring the pan? Maybe we can get together and make cookies, that’d be fun, maybe do it at Dad’s Sweetheart’s house.” (Rebel Heart was NEVER told about the divorce!)
Quite surprised that Rebel Heart/Domestic Abuse brother is talking ‘family togetherness’ and all, I knew he’s bullshitting me.
“She’s been sick, she’s been really sick!” I reply in disbelief.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to call her like every day but something comes up.”
I wonder if he’s stoned or whatever. Narcissistic? LOL! You think? OMG!
Back to being at home before the memorial: I started being flooded with emails from my Sister-in-Law about a program, having the pastor/friend of Dad’s to officiate, music, refreshments, how to pay for it all, you name it. Apparently Religious Heart brother delegated his responsibility to his wife. Yes, that’s my family. The women do everything, the men just show up. Grrrr.
So, it was her and I planning EVERYTHING. OMG, I could NOT wait for this to be over. I even thought about not going to the memorial, I really did, I was that worn out.
I did manage to have Rebel Heart and Reluctant Heart pick out the casket, not a cheap one by any means; they didn’t think they were paying for it when in reality it was all coming out of Dad’s Estate.
I started emailing the church coordinator trying to get everything set. We decided on coffee and cookies, we’d need to provide the cookies (no problem since Richard just happens to be a master cookie baker!) :) So it was a mad dash getting the house prepared for another absence, finding motel rooms, getting the memorial set up, and, trying to keep our sanity!
Oh yes, and it is at this time I realize I’m no longer Power of Attorney because Dad has passed away. OMG, how do we do this? How do we pay for all this? Who will sign the papers? The funeral home will not bury Dad unless they receive payment 48-hours prior.
The confusion mounted as I told the funeral home I was the only one with access to Dad’s accounts and I do all his bill paying online from home, where it’s secure. They told me I couldn’t. They’d apparently never had someone do online bill paying in the 40+ years they’ve been in business. Yeah. Whatever.
I had to call the bank to see if they would receive a real check in the mail or what. Yes, they would receive a real check. Despite the funeral home’s strange difficulty understanding online bill paying, I went ahead and made the online payment for the burial portion of the process so we could get Dad buried!
I felt ashamed after Dad passed away he went into ‘cold storage’ while we tried to get our family shit together. Seriously people, this is not a time for passing the buck! The funeral home said Dad would be buried at their convenience, that was fine with me; at least we were making progress.
Going back over Dad’s Will, in one place it specifies Religious Heart and I as Executors and another section where it shows me as Dad’s Personal Representative. And, Dad had made a lot of notes in pen with his initials and date over the years. Would this invalidate the Will? Oh crap. We need an Attorney; I set up an appointment before we hit the road.
Exhausted, Richard and I decided to travel Wednesday, May 1 and we would return home Sunday, May 5 as the services were on May 4th. I ended up taking ALL of Dad’s files with me in case I was no longer in charge of his affairs. Each day we carted them from motel room to car for safe keeping…crazy, but we were running on fumes by this time. I think there’s a point where you’re so exhausted you’re sort of running on autopilot.
Our first stop back in Washington on Wednesday was the funeral home, to sign papers, pick up death certificates, and, pay the portion due to the funeral home side, this came out of my personal account. Ouch! Harsh learning curve when it comes to these things.
I cried when I saw the death certificates. OMG, this is really real.
I apologized to them for us not having our act together, passing the buck, etc. I said they must see a lot of family dynamics! They agreed and said we were doing pretty well. I thought it interesting one of the ladies asked where I had experienced PTSD in the past because I was functioning better than most people. Interesting! I just felt like I was super shocked and super numb.
The following day, the three of us that had been mentioned in Dad’s Will and Power of Attorney (Religious Heart, Reluctant Heart, and I) met with an Estate Attorney. In with Dad’s files were notes of money my brother, Rebel Heart, had borrowed. I told the attorney I’d really like to have that resolved since I felt Dad was taken advantage of. The attorney told us part of the process of settling an Estate is to pay all debts, and, collect debts too. So, theoretically these loans plus interest will be paid in full.
We broached the subject of who would be Dad’s Personal Representative to distribute the Estate. Religious Heart voted for me, then Reluctant Heart. I had already been dealing with Dad’s accounts and had everything set up, that seemed logical. Reluctant Heart hadn’t wanted any part of the process from the get go, so, with Dad’s passing he was happily relieved of his duties.
That afternoon Richard and I went to Costco to buy flowers for the tables at the reception, I already knew red and white flowers had been ordered by Dad’s sweetheart, so I found some red and white annuals. We dropped off the cookies in the church’s refrigerator, and counted down until the memorial…