This is hard

sunset love lake resort

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I’ve written a million times about mum and her last months. This summer I’ve dragged myself through generations of debris and lives. I’m supposed to be getting my own finds ready for boxing up to someday mail, but I tripped. I landed hard. I have fallen and I can’t get up. So, I’m talking to the only people I know who are awake and for some reason, listen.

This evening I started to attempt to sort the paperwork I acquired while caring for mum. The sympathy cards. The hospital records.  The notes from her cancer counselor on August 8 of last year that said mom was chatting about the local senior housing and was in great spirits and apparently feeling well, but that she and her daughter didn’t see eye to eye.

I have been crying off and on the last hour. I don’t know what to throw away. Gods, it’s like I gave her my last few years and nothing matters. I have to keep moving forward and I am not going anywhere. Like a treadmill with a virtual map. In the end, I’m tired and sweaty and back where I started. I don’t want to be strong anymore. I want held and cuddled and reminded it will be ok. Thank god for WordPress and my teddy bear!

When I return to Oregon, it’s exactly like that treadmill. I’ll have been changed, yet when I step back onto the floor, no one around me will notice anything other than that mostly quiet person is around again. I’ll be expected to be who I was 3 years ago.

In 10 hours, I need to be that strong person. I had hoped to ship boxes and totes in a container. Now, I need to adjust to moving them all by post. So, not only do I need to tear off bandages, exposing wounds, I need to discard what I had hoped to keep for what I might actually need to keep. Which is not really anything, except mom’s things I can better sell from the lower 48.

But, it really hurts.

brown and white bear plush toy

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Debris or not debris???

I started a handwritten post a while ago, but didn’t manage to get it typed up. I’m constantly tired and find myself mindlessly playing games on my ipad (note, I play til I lose lives or win one level completely on word games). Sometimes I read, I often sit outside in the sunshine, every so often do a spot of yard work… I am not really as brown as the second picture (photos were taken a day apart), but I am enjoying the sunshine! When I return to the states (Oregon), I’ll not have this sort of tan again. Here in Alaska I am out the boonies by myself. Naked is pretty safe! (I do keep an oversized shirt close, just in case, but I’ve never needed it!) Safe isn’t what I need….

 

What I need is more time. (and money!)

As you can see, I am surrounded by debris. Piles for donation, my sister, myself, to sell, or whatever. Most of the closets and cupboards are almost empty. Or at least they have been gone through! I’m still living here, so I need to keep some things. I do NOT want to go and live with my sister for a month or so and drive out here to work each day as has been suggested. (I’d go batty at her house!!)  Her spouse hates I’m sending stuff back with her and there is shouting and noise. I like it here.

In fact, that is the hardest part. I do not want to leave. I want to keep so many things. But, I cannot. There are four things a person can do with stuff. Keep it, sell it, donate it, or toss it out. I’m astounded by how much I’ve tossed. In fact, the other day I hit a low because I got all guilty about getting rid of pictures. I blamed myself for not realizing others were a part of mom’s life. As I was sorting photos I put them in three sections. Me, Jake, and WTF is this? (who, not what). Thankfully, my sister has a memory like mom’s. She knows and recalls every single thing that ever happened to her from diapers on. Me? I have difficulty remembering if I’ve taken my meds! So, Jake can usually figure out who is in a picture and if it should be saved. Anyway, I laughingly mentioned on FB how mum had pictures of everyone from birth. One relation asked me if I could save the ones of her family and mail them. (I had JUST thrown them away!) I went through a bag I’d not tossed and found a few, but gods, I felt so horrible!!!

On Wednesday, a friend will visit who will help me pack up things for posting to Oregon. It is going to be so freaking expensive! And I still need to pay a few big bills that are mine and not my sister’s. (house insurance and what not, I’m using more electricity with darkness falling earlier…) Then, selling bits of lives isn’t as easy as I’d hoped. The jukeboxes are worth much less than we thought. (Specialty items generally are!) People often say they ‘want’ something if they see it on FB, but they don’t come through. Frustrating. The Craftsman still thinks I should sell mom’s beautiful watch if I need to. (I really really don’t want to. I’ve never gotten mad at him before, but this is starting to frustrate me more than anything else I’ve managed to adjust to!) I think of ABBA’s song and just cry inside. If I had a little money…but, if wishes were horses, we’d all know how to ride. And shovel manure!

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Thankfully, I keep finding interesting or good things. This black and white is wonderful. Mum has a large framed colorized version of it, lots of singles of people in the photo, and there are no names or dates anywhere to be found on any of them. It was driving us crazy!  This one, however, has all of that information on the back! I was so thankful. Another thing I’d forgotten was my real dad had a nickname. It shows up on many pictures. The first time I read it, I was so confused. In fancy cursive, Sonny looks a smidge like Harry and I knew the man was Harry, but some of the other photos had a definite ‘S’. That is another funny thing. My sister suggested to me last week she wants to have her DNA tested. Because she believes she’s my half-sister!!! (She looks like my mom’s side, not much like our birth fathers. I look like both, but more like his side.)

I have also found little special moments bringing a pause in my stampeding passage of time. A group of ducks wisely staying away from a lone loon, white fireweed fluff (seed) separating from the stalk to create more flowers next year, a mama moose with twins stopping for a drink at the far end of the lake (those were too far away to photograph properly), and a piece of petrified wood I placed on a beach log for perspective. It really is a beautiful world!!

Climbing from the Pit of Despair

Isn’t it odd how after a run of great moments, you can find yourself in the Pit of Despair?

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The sewing machine is delivered and working (I think I didn’t pay attention to writing down what I was going to sell it for, but it doesn’t matter. It’s gone and being used.), my laundry was washed and eventually dried (I brought it to the house instead of doing it at the laundromat.), and I had a splendid time from top to toe on Tuesday (OK, the doctor visit was annoying. It appears I need to just wait out my sore ear, weeping eyes, and treat OTC as I have been! Lol)

Tuesday I was supposed to meet a friend at 10 in the morning to pick fireweed blossoms. Another high school friend who lives on the East Coast wanted blossoms to make honey with. So, we offered to pick them and C was going to send them off. We ended up picking for an hour cuz we didn’t meet til after 11 and I had that doctor appointment and needed a shower (fireweed blossoms are sticky and full of little bugs!) and to get back to the house. Which was a good thing, Jake wanted to take some of the art we’d not wanted to a dealer and see if it was worth anything. After discombobulating rooms getting her the artwork, I got showered and left.

After the doctor, I was going to wash laundry and it was busy, so I opted to hang out in the cemetery for a bit. Those places are absolutely fascinating! The history buried there, literally, and the way people who are left honor those who are gone are as varied as buns in a cake display! Here are a couple of shots I took. The first one was for a young teen sort of girl who had died in the last couple of years. Her plot reminded me of the floor in mom’s room before we cleaned it up. (yikes!) There was one I didn’t photograph and should have. It was FANCY. She had also died recently and had a giant stone (about 3×4, maybe) with a plot full of that white gravel and a bench inside the plot on the gravel with an inscription on that, too. Others were neglected, other older ones were covered with a cement ‘blanket’ (a few of those had been cracked because of winter and quake damage).  I wandered around with my shirt open cuz it was so warm and quiet.

TnT joined me later on and we got a chance to talk. I’d talked to C about a plan I had thought and even TnT thought it was doable. Then, my sister called. I was glad to not be alone because I was very mature in my responses. Jake asked if I was sitting cuz she wanted to tell me something. I just told her to speak. Well, it turns out the pictures she took in are pretty much worthless, maybe a hundred dollars total. Except for hers. She also decided to have appraised two pictures an aging local artist did. They were hers, their worth means nothing to me financially. She had taken one from the house. But, they are worth several thousand. She seemed surprised I wasn’t as thrilled as she was.

Then, I slept badly. Tossed and turned and had a low glucose at 3 AM. I had to wake early to get the pictures from my sister. She wanted to make sure they weren’t in her possession for some reason (I think she just wanted to get them out of her house). When I got back, I cried. I did some math and realized that I do not have the 5 grand to get me through October that was a part of the plan I’d made (including a plane ticket back to Oregon) and then I need about 700 a month to keep the house til spring when I can be sure to empty and sell it. But, with all the cash I’ve made selling stuff, after splitting it with my sister, I have just enough to pay a couple of estate bills and the property taxes. A little over 2,000$. I wanted to do a sale this month, except the weekend I was shooting for, Jake will be gone to take her daughter to the airport so she can visit her sister in the PNW and go to a YMCA camp. (it is a homeschool write off and they are sending her first class cuz she’s 14 and traveling alone is scary.)

It was then I realized my sister didn’t bring me one of the pictures she took and asked her about it. It seems it was checked over carefully. It was dubiously determined the canvas might be by unknown painter instead of someone famous. Since it is also slightly damaged, Jake decided she’d keep the lovely little Indian girl on black canvas.

Doing a sale any other time will be difficult. State fairs the next couple of weeks are a huge draw for people, school is starting in 20 days, and people are gearing down for winter. June and early July are the best times for sales here.  I don’t want to donate everything. I have quite a bit I want to take back. I’ve gone over some of it more than once to determine if I really need it and I don’t. Most of it are wants. As an advisor told me, you didn’t know it existed, you did quite well without it, why keep it? I’m putting some on thumb drives, it isn’t enough. How can you put a fabric apron worn by your mom as a baby on a drive? Or a pair of embroidered kid gloves? Or slides you haven’t even seen yet?

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Today is not a glowing pearl of a day. But, in spite of everything, glittering huge dragonflies are darting in front of the window, there are golden leaves falling fast, and fall colors are starting to appear on the seasonal fashion runway. I’ll leave you with a picture of the young bull from the other day (he wanders past now and again!) and a sunset from the same day.