Tuesday, May 23, 2017


So. It's tempting to list out all the things that have happened, that have gone wrong, in the last year and a half, but there's really no point to that. It's just life, and as I remind myself, our life is pretty good -- very good, in fact -- and many people have a lot more to deal with than we do.

It's been a little over a year since I lost my job, and while it wasn't what I wanted, I don't know how I would have handled all of the things that have happened if I had also had to go to work every day.

Bob's dad passed away in October. One of Bob's brothers had been living with his dad, helping him, taking him to doctor's appointments, etc. He needed a few months to get things together after their dad died, and he moved out of the house shortly after the first of the year. Bob put the house on the market the first of April, and it sold immediately. With closing a couple of weeks after that, the house had to be emptied and cleaned, and with Bob working every day, most of that fell to me.

I spent quite a few days over there packing up the kitchen and dining room and throwing things away. In the end, we ended up getting the 1-800-JUNK people to come out and haul a lot of stuff away. Much of it was furniture that there was nothing wrong with, but it was stuff that no one in the family wanted. While I would have liked to have taken some of it, I didn't need it, and didn't have room for anything anyway. It was an expensive choice, but we just didn't feel like we had the time or energy to have an estate sale or put things up on Craigslist. I gave a few pieces away to a friend, and that was the extent of it.

Bob and I spent a couple of days cleaning everything, scrubbing out the refrigerator, cleaning the carpets, etc., and the closing went through fine.

That same week, my dad got sick. He had a bad cold and cough; he choked on a large pill that he was trying to take, aspirated, and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Two weeks after that, he passed away. There was a lot of in-between, of course -- lots of talking to doctors and nurses, getting my mom back and forth to the hospital, filling out a lot of paperwork, then getting him moved to a nursing home under hospice care, where he died on May 1.

Then came planning the funeral, notifying relatives and friends, etc. I went through hundreds of photographs to make collages for the funeral, wrote the obituary, met with the funeral home people, chose flowers . . .

The whole thing was kind of an interesting experience, and while I wouldn't say I *enjoyed* it, I was glad that I had the opportunity to do these things for my father. The funeral was fine; there weren't as many people there as I had expected, but later I realized that he was one of the last of his generation. There just aren't many of his friends around anymore. We had the funeral in his and my mom's hometown, a small town in Missouri. It was a full military funeral with a 21-gun salute, and two Naval seamen in dress whites removed the flag from the coffin and folded it in a wonderful ceremony.

I had held it together pretty well, but the memory of the seaman kneeling in front of my mother to present the flag to her can make me cry even now.

With my mother being legally blind, profoundly deaf, and disabled from a stroke years ago, handling my parents' affairs falls to me. I've spent the last couple of weeks calling insurance companies and banks, brokerage houses, lawyers, etc., and there's really no end in sight. I have an appointment with our attorney tomorrow to go over some stuff with him. I sat at my mother's assisted living apartment last Thursday while a cable installer set up cable and new telephone service, and my brother and sister and I have taken turns being over there with her.

While they were installing cable, I had them install wifi also, so I can take my laptop over and work in Dad's office while I'm getting things transitioned. I will probably eventually move things over to my house, but for now I'm just feeling my way through it.

As we do everything in life, I guess. We just do the best we can and somehow it all seems to work out.


Jennifer Stumpf said...

I wish I had something profound to say to offer you solace, Willa, but all I can think of is that I am sorry for you and Bob, although aren't we all heading in this direction, with each generation replacing the previous. It is a very human experience and although both of my parents are living, they are getting older and different things that have happened make me sad for them, for me, and the passing of time already. I'm happy to see your post and thanks for sharing your experience with us, especially since it is something that people don't often like to talk about, or are willing to talk about.

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