A year later-

I was pretty apprehensive about Sunday. My sister and I were taking mum’s ashes down the inlet and well, yeah! Many people sent prayers and covered me with care and love. It was absolutely beautiful and I thank those on WP who did this for me.

Sunday morning, I got a text from Jake asking me to meet her in a park. Not at her house. I was confused, but did so. It appeared Gigman wanted to sing to his MiL for one last time (I’m pretty sure mum didn’t like his voice!) before we went and scattered her ashes. I had NO idea he was going with us. (I was fortunate I’d made up 3 bags of ashes and one bag I made little peat pellets into ash holders for Pippi cuz ashes gross her out a bit. Except Jake told me the poppy seeds I used were invasive. So, those didn’t get planted til I got home).  I was actually glad Gigman went. I think it annoyed Jake, but we found a lot of the same sorts of things funny and laughed about them. Anyway, we were looking for a cemetery to put the rest of dad’s ashes with his mom and missed the first exit, thankfully it had a loop. We never did find our Grams. We aren’t even sure she’s in that cemetery, Gigman scattered dad’s ashes anyway. Then, we went down to Homer. The tide was out, that meant mom’s ashes would settle into the muck and get picked up later. Perfect.

 

They also decided they wanted to eat at mom’s favorite place, I reminded them it was fairly expensive, but they said it would be ok. (I meant to pay for my dinner, but got sidetracked by going outside) I’d asked Pippi to take photos of me scattering mum’s ashes and showed her how to use the camera. Except, I told her to press the silver button..I should have said to DEPRESS the silver button. She was excited that she’d taken several and didn’t get a single one. I laughed. (OK. Depress means press harder when it seems it should mean to unpress something. Oh dear, then we get to repress, which doesn’t mean at all what it sounds like it should.) At any rate, it was an entirely amicable event. Probably one of the best times I’ve had with that family.

Monday was slightly irritating, so I was glad Sunday went so well. Jake is a managing sort. Sunday, when we were choosing meals, she asked her daughter what she felt like eating and named off menu items. (Pippi is almost 16 years old!!!!!) When the girl’s burger arrived, Jake asked if she wanted it cut. I defended Pippi and my niece ate more for dinner than she has in ages (because Jake says Pippi doesn’t eat very much). So, Monday Jake calls me. It appears the oldest, Princess, has shingles. I commented that it unfortunately happens when a person has a low immune system. Which got her defensive because her daughter is as healthy as she can be (she wears the same size as her 15 and a half year old sister). Then, she went on to say that Princess wanted Mommy time and wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t get a hold of her all day on Sunday. So, once again mom got in the way of her family. I got mad at that. (I even said a bad word!!!) I replied that Princess is 30 years old, you guys talk every day, she knew you were doing something you will never get to do again, she has been married for at least 10 years and has a husband. And a cat and a dog. She could certainly be ok for the 6 hours you were busy with mom. (I wanted to say, ‘I know this is a horrible disease, but don’t complain about mom when I’ve been doing stuff by myself for the last month and more.’ I refrained.) I was glad I wasn’t seeing them for a while. She did invite me over for dinner Tuesday after I posted that morning how odd I felt on the ever sharing FB, but thankfully I was doing something else. (she said it was one of mom’s favorite dinners. I had no idea mom liked dinners at my sister’s.)

Tuesday. Mum’s been gone an entire year. Her hairdresser (who also spoke at mom’s service) came with me to a different portion of the inlet to scatter a few more ashes. She also prayed with me and reminded me that I was the favorite child. (apparently people tell hairdressers everything!!!) I knew mom ‘liked’ me the most, it is why I was allowed to live with her.(Jake is not an easy sister, I can imagine she wasn’t an easy daughter!) I’m still tired and ready to cry from too much.  I am going to try to distance myself from everything for a day or so. Leave the house and my sister and Oregon. I’d say I was looking forward to it, but I’m only thinking it is a good idea at this moment. I wanted to leave Wednesday. Any time much later, I won’t have the chance!

Except when I was speaking to The Craftsman about mum’s car, he reminded me it’s been a while since the oil was checked. So, I will look at that tomorrow and top it if needed and hope it doesn’t need anything else. Living with a mechanic, I don’t think of these things. Sometimes I think I’m not as responsible as I believe I am.

Annoyed By Debris

You would think after getting stuff ready for a sale, most of the debris would be tossed or sorted and only the cream would be left. Not. Jake said she was going to go through and ready the shed for use for the sale. She had the shed and her bedroom to do (granted, the shed was a HUGE task!). The room was pretty much full of lightly organized boxes, except where I had officially organized things. The shed looked ok, but when I went in it to clean it up, I was startled. (I have to constantly remind myself. My sister gave me as much time as she could, it must be enough. She came over the other day while I was gone to take down the old tent she used for books. I am glad I had her move the books to her bedroom, the tent was wet inside. I’ve not seen her since last Saturday.) Anyway, I was consolidating boxes and sorted an entire large garbage bag full of junk. I also found stuff I’d made mom that I wanted to keep. (One was a tiny wooden nativity set I seem to have made for EVERYONE except myself or my boys!) I hope most of the jingle bells are gone, I did find a few more. A rather disturbing Santa candle was gently placed in the garbage (gently, so it might not haunt me!! I have read way too many stories in the Deathlehem anthologies to treat even a candle badly!). Some horrible, mostly stuffed, snowmen were sent to the garbage bag. One adorable small one I kept because it matches a larger one I decorate with every year. I put all the winter/Christmas dolls in one tote. Gathered up more light houses of different kinds (she has a large one, NiB, identical to one in her bay window!) to bring inside and hope I can do the other holiday stuff this next week.

I’m also throwing away kitchen things. Ages ago, I shared a post about spiders in a toaster. Mom’s toaster stopped working, so Jake gave us theirs. It was filthy, but usable after being cleaned. Mom had a blender in the cupboard. Way back in the cupboard, covered, and it looked ok. I took it apart to move it, since it had not sold, and was appalled! It was very dirty and gross. I’m not even going to try to clean it. (Why on EARTH can’t people clean things before putting them away? Although, there is a cute coffee pot I am sure I cleaned after its last use that doesn’t look like it has been cleaned….)

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I was thankful mum’s car didn’t look like this one I parked near when I had to stop at the Sr Center. This one made me cry. There was barely room for a driver. From the scissors among the papers on the dash to the empty drink containers stashed everywhere, it shouted negligence. The Craftsman said he has had to work on cars like it. It makes me wonder. Do those people have no children to keep an eye on parents? Do the adults need housing? Mum’s rig is bad now, mostly cuz it is full of things I hope to sell on Sunday after church. (that sounds blasphemous!)

I have trash outside in bags getting rained on (hooray for rain!!). I made the decadent canned cinnamon roll pull apart cake today and have eaten about half of it (BAD) because it was cold in the house and there is just something comforting about warm cinnamon bread. I am going to make halibut for dinner tonight. A friend texted me a recipe that sounds easy and scrumptious. She called it poor man’s lobster. You boil halibut cubes in water with a smidge of sugar and then serve it by dipping it in melted butter. I’ve never cared much for lobster, but I absolutely love halibut! I’ll see if it needs garlic and lemon. Now, my phone has lost signal. I can’t text my neighbor across the lake! (definitely a modern problem! lol) I reckon that means I should probably go and move some more stuff. I need to do a paper chase and see exactly how much cash I have. (I also just discovered today, I don’t have a receipt for the digging work done last fall.) BUT, first I really want my dining and living room somewhat tidy looking. Then, I can move the stuff that got stashed in mum’s room (where I’ve been sleeping) because it was the catch all for important stuff. (did I mention I’ve been hiding the estate cash not deposited in a drawer, under my ‘toys’?) I’m sure my bear (I end up sleeping on him!) is helping keep an eye on things. Even if I did dream last night about burglars. I think I woke up after I hid in a pile of stuffed animals—very ET! (although, I AM home!! If you look close in the lake picture, you can see a small garden light reflecting in the water, not a heart light. A garden one. I was in the kayak around 9, just as it was deciding to get dark.)

This is hard

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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.

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It Will Be Done

As many of you might know, this last week has been difficult. Yet, there is light. Eventually. I’m pretty sure it isn’t a train or a car with one headlamp, it is dim, but I know it is there.

Friday was going to be super busy. It was looking like one of those days where I had a million errands. I wasn’t happy, one of the things I needed to do was see if I could get my phone fixed. Somehow, I managed to lose all my contact information. NOT the texts and phone numbers, just who sent them and anyone in contacts, alarms, ect. (So many were people who I only talk to on the phone, not a good thing. I now have 32 when I had over 80! I guess that is one way to clear up your phone!)

So, I was lounging in bed when I got a text. I wasn’t wanting to open it, there are some texts I’m less thrilled to get than others! (I could block that person, but they aren’t bad mean texts, they just make me uncomfortable to get!) Anyway, it was from Patience, the author who purchased mum’s sewing machine. The embroidery part wasn’t working properly. It was making ghost images on her fabric and she was wondering if I could start proceedings with the post office, since I’d insured it. This was an interesting errand, so I added it to my list. (I was glad I’d used a very long piece of paper).

 

At the post, I learned it would be better for her to pursue them. We were advised to have her take it in to a repair person for an estimate and she’d keep me posted (I know, pun.). While in the parking lot, I was texted by a lady who had taken one of mom’s unfinished projects. She wanted to meet me and give them to me. (it was aprons mum had not finished for the two cancer clinics she was a patient at.) I told them I’d meet them at noon in town. (another stop, but I’d already checked off two, so I was good!)

I got all the errands done near the house, dropped off stuff for the historical society (mom said she’d turned everything in, but I seriously don’t know what she turned it. I shredded bank statements and tossed newspapers and what not that went back to the late 70s!), and realized I didn’t quite have enough time before noon to drop something else off. Town isn’t really that large, unless you look on a map. (One of the mayors spread the city limits out to places that no one really calls the city! It is disconcerting when you are on the road and see signs saying the town is a mile away, but it is really much more than that!) Anyway, I stopped in a parking lot and texted the apron lady that I had arrived. She said to look for a St. Bernard looking out a window. I got out of my rig and heard the dog, but I didn’t see it at first. He was a super friendly pup when I reached them. He’s still a puppy, he was chewing on empty water bottles and what not in the car! I almost cried when she gave me the aprons. She’d completed 4, two different styles and 4 different colors. Mum had used things called D rings on them, but this lady left the strings long. Which made more sense because they were easier for anyone to wear. (the rings made the aprons shorter for tall people)

It was late and I was so emotional with thanks, I opted to get lunch instead of eat my Luna bar. I did several more errands (stopped to make an appointment, by left eye might be infected…) and received another text. This one almost seemed ominous. The woman had been at the craft sale and wanted to meet me at JoAnne’s. A bit later, she sent me a text rerouting us to the library. One of my stops wasn’t complete, I had forgotten the office was closed. However, I did stop there on my way to the library!

At the library, I met one of the kindest women in the world. (she is also a person with type one diabetes, so that makes her doubly precious to me) She had a pillow with her. Actually, it was a filled pillow case, but it looked like a pillow. She got a key and we went into a conference room. She then told me a story about mom’s sale when we were unpacking things. A bag of odd looking scraps was found. When she got it home, she realized it was a bag of hand quilted blocks from what she thinks was 30 years ago. So, she and some others changed a few things, finished the  quilt, and gave it to me. (I’m still in awe and teary when I look at this) Inside the pillowcase was the quilt. (apparently, storing quilts in plastic is BAD. A pillow case helps the fibers breathe.)

As I got done with the rest of my errands for Friday (I couldn’t recover the contact information. It needs redone manually), I was struck by something (no, the traffic was HORRIBLE, but thankfully, I managed to not be hit by any tourists!). When I spoke with a friend who might come out to help on Sunday with another friend, I realized as much as mom left undone, someone sometime will finish it. Me, a total stranger, friends, family, and more. I may feel completely alone sometimes, but I’m not really. There are threads of mom everywhere being tied off and completed. It is incredibly humbling. Time consuming and humbling.

Oh, and I heard from Patience.  She said the repair man knew exactly what was wrong and fixed it for under 55$. (more threads of mom being used across the United States!)

Raindrops are Falling on my Head

This is another favorite song from a while ago. If I remember the movie correctly, it was one of the first ones to romanticize bad guys. As a teen, I fell in love with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, carefully mentally editing those scenes where they shot people who bled graphically! (in the photo below, raindrops weren’t falling at that moment, but you can tell from the sparkles on the fireweed that they had been falling!)

Mum’s SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy) sale has been completed. There was a good sized crew of amazing women (and a few men) who helped this all come together. I woke Saturday night wondering if it was really done! I must admit, I’ve been second guessing some of the things I did (like NOT putting the expensive priced knitting kits with the regular yarn. I am certain they walked off in bags of ‘choose your own price’.). And with the rain, I was worried about the fabric and remnants of the stash, left under tarps in trucks til Monday morning. (The latter was done by the nice people who came to get it for a second hand store.) Yet, it isn’t my responsibility any longer and I have other things I need to do! As for the yarn, as a friend said, ‘People come to these sorts of events for steals.’ (So, I reckon a few got some, like the pick up full of bags of yarn!!!)

At 9 am, the doors opened and those queued outside came in and quietly packed up bags and bags and bags of crafting supplies. Some paid generously and others didn’t. I’m sure it all evened out (it was a donation sort of payment thing, except for those few things I knew had worth). It was odd the women with fancy nails, very nice clothing, and blinged out handbags were less open handed than others who dressed like ordinary folk. I’m glad it is done. Now, I can get to the real part of the house and it is so cool my bedroom echoes!!

When things were being unpacked before the sale, the ladies found some super awesome things and gave them to me. An Eskimo yo-yo (not made overseas!), some more of a ceramic chess set mum made that is in the shop of the garage (why it was in crafting stuff, one can only imagine!), and a million unfinished projects. I only cried a couple of times. Once when a nice lady offered to finish up a project and take the aprons to the Oncology centers (mum had been making them for the nurses, but didn’t count right. Now, the places have been partially restaffed, but it was a beautiful thing to choose to do). The first time was when a man came in with his wife and said to me, ‘I worked with your dad, he was a good man.’ I left the table and ran after him to talk about dad for a minute.

There were so many stories told to me about mum. (One lady I sincerely hope remembers to friend me on FB.) I’d mentioned I wanted to take mum to Homer and she was surprised mum had never been. I amended my comment and said, ‘Oh, we started there in the 70’s, but mum wanted to go back the last couple of years and we didn’t.’ The woman was very surprised cuz SHE lived in the same town at the same time we did and hadn’t known. I told her mum was pretty closemouthed about her early years in AK. We talked about where we’d lived and places we both remembered. Then, I mentioned we’d lived in an area of town that was pretty remote with my third dad. Her face was shocked. ‘Your mom was married to that B..….’ She paused. ‘Man? He was one of the scariest guys in out there! We were told to stay away from his place!’ I laughed and agreed, but she was floored.

One question that I realized the answer to Sunday morning in the shower was this. Q: ‘Why don’t you do any of these things.’ It dawned on me that I did not do the same sorts of crafts that mom did because she was so critical. Jake had trouble with that, I wasn’t going to even go there. So, I didn’t. She could guilt me for many things, but she couldn’t criticize me for my knitting or crocheting or sewing. Although, she did often say it wasn’t right I didn’t do it because if I did I could help her. (insert mega eye roll!)

These next weeks will be more difficult. I need to get the line dug up (or should I just keep having it cleaned out, expensive band aid?), talk to someone about buying it (gods, I do NOT want to do that…), and sort for the sale of more personal things. I also need to stop whining! If I get too horrible, please pull me up shorter than I already am. (thank you!)

I’ll close with a moose playing peekaboo last week! (I wasn’t THAT close–)

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Learning Goes On

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I feel like poor Ned in the Dr. Seuss book ‘One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish’. I don’t know what to do! I kept putting things off so I can talk to the accountant, but really, I just need to dive in and get the debris packed/sold/gone. As much as it breaks my heart, I cannot keep this place. (I’m starting to cry as I write) I cannot feasibly afford it and it is like experiencing my dad’s death all over again. (oddly, not mom’s. Mom left me with so much of a mess, I miss dad more right now. He brought us to this house and was our dad and it was home.) Yet, it isn’t the actual house I’m going to miss so much, or the lake (although, I will miss that. Dad’s ashes are in it-I need to add mom’s sometime), or watching the saga of life unfold outside the window (there is a fight commencing between two male common golden eyes for the same lady!). It is this amazing place where I belong. Once I actually leave, I can only return as a visitor. And, honestly, I’ll have no real reason to. My sister isn’t a large enough of a reason (she didn’t come south for anything in my family, although she might since her daughter is in Seattle and that is fairly close to where I live down there). This place is in my bones and blood. I may have lived in Oregon for most of my life, but not much of it counts for anything other than a place to have and raise the boys. There is a line in the book of Ruth-‘Your place shall be my place and your people shall be mine’ or something like that. I used that in my wedding, but my mindset wasn’t right. I was always the interloper, the outsider, the one who came in and stole a town icon and even the town icon seems every so often like he got into something he didn’t expect (of course, most marriages have that tendency!!!!!). Another thing I’ve learned, being up here, in my own house, I can act and do exactly what I want without having to worry about how people see me or gossip and I can dress in the way I want to. (small towns are very knowledgeable. In fact, out here, there is a giant network of information-right or wrong-, but I’ve not found it as wearing.)

This week has been educational in many ways. I’ve realized being alone is incredibly peaceful. Walking on the beach, spying a very young eagle overhead, and chatting with a fisherman who has a house with many of the same problems mine does! (must be a thing out here!) He has a wife who is dying, has 8 kids (that isn’t the same as me, thank goodness!), and goes to the inlet to find rest.  Although, he takes a pole and I just look at the mountains and find rocks.

I went to a bridal shower and found it entirely too loud! (I also thought about how different showers were in the late 80’s. Or at least mine. Mine was guested by mostly older women who gifted many utilitarian items that were doubled or tripled. Not a speck of lace unless it was on a throw pillow, or silky stuff or gift certificates for anywhere. Not a smidge of anything even slightly inappropriate!) This shower had things that made the older than I am bride to be blush like a full blown rose all mixed in with utilitarian. I admit,  I didn’t take one of the cupcakes. Mostly because I’d had a sliver of cake and was trying to keep the carbs down. I was also given a bag of kisses and a lovely cookie on my way out the door! (the elegance of the candies on the glass plate with the cupcakes nearby made me laugh!)

Friday was pretty busy with running around. I finally got the estate check (I hope) taken care of, I don’t know if there are any other checks in Oregon that might be estate. I hope not. (no one has notified me of any mail I might have gotten. I know I got an invitation to the wedding this weekend, but I’ve not been told yet. Thankfully, I asked what time it was while at the shower!) I also found out how very horrible technology is. Let me ‘splain. Mum had an expensive sewing machine. (If the price she wrote down is any indication, it was around 5 thousand US dollars) She didn’t use it much. (I found out later, my sister used it after it was purchased and broke something with the needles-of course. I believe it was fixed, as mom used it a few times before she died and  I was told that sort of thing happened often.) When she was in the hospital that last time, she kept telling me to sell it. l found out today it might be worth $500. Just before 6 pm, I called the Fabric Center where it was purchased and after exchanging more information, found out it might not even be worth that. You see, when mom purchased this, it was new and top of the line (that is actually in the name!). However, part of the fancy technology was computerized. Floppy disk computerized. If it had a USB port, that would make it more user friendly for today, but as my youngest said, it will need remodeled for the new era.

(OH! UPDATE: there is one male golden eye bobbing in and out of the water right near where I sit when I am down by the lake! I don’t see a lady. I wonder if he’s the spurned lover? Or perhaps he’s showing off how well he can dive in the same spot? I see the other male across the water, but the female is not visible. Of course, she’s not in bright white and black!)

One of the best parts of Friday was meeting an author. Patience Griffin not only creates chaptered designs with words and syntax, but she creates quilts and (I believe) the fabric she makes the quilts with that go with her books! I was honestly glad mum wasn’t with me, she’d have purchased all of Patience’s books and fabric and patterns online! (Actually, there may be some of the novels in mum’s stacks and boxes….) I need to find one to read. AFTER I get done here. I’m taking ages to read anything I have with me. Crazy!

The very best part of today was seeing twins. I think they were probably a couple of days old, I wasn’t able to snap their photograph. Babies even the size of a tiny horse move fast! I did take a fleeing photo of a single baby with a mom on my way to the wedding shower. I’ll work on getting better photographs of babies!

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Today is Done

When I typed in the title of ‘Today is Done’, I laughed at myself. Of course it is done, it is almost 1130  at night! But, I’m actually referring to mum’s memorial service. I was a bit sad at the low numbers of persons, but I need to remember that there were several other large things going on at the same time. (And if I could go back and do one thing over, it would be to MARK the venue and the halls inside with directions. Outside the old school is signage and it is highlighting an event at the end of the month. I could have asked them to add mom. They might have….) One hundred and eleven or so people were there (two came at one pm instead of 11 am, but they were still counted!). I believe it went well. I wasn’t able to get very many photos, I was more of a participant than an attendant. However, I got a couple of clear ones. (Why are the cell phone photos better on the phone than on the laptop??)

The day started out in rain (NOTE: my internet is finally up again. There are tons of emails!!!), my skirt was too tight (I’ve lost only 2 pounds. Two.), and I was a bit too bossy in spots. The rain eventually stopped, I changed into jeans after everything was over (much nicer!), and I think I managed to be workable instead of super bitchy. I ended up sitting between my sister and my eldest niece, Jake kept trying to hand me tissue. (I had my own.) Her spouse was remarkably helpful (although his comments in the service were dubious for the event. It was sort of funny, though. He was impressed with the beer garden at the ball games in town and mentioned that twice, he was probably nervous. When we were sorting thru photos of mom, many early ones had her holding a beer can!) and her girls were helpful as well. I was concerned about Princess. She is not well (often has digestive issues) and at one point hid under the library counter. She’s almost 30 and is in the process of adopting a baby girl.

Mum’s car ended up filled with leftovers since we had less people than anticipated. I drove to town to give it to the church for after the service on Sunday. When it was empty of foodstuffs, I went to sit with dad. It was a gorgeous afternoon, warm in the sunshine, with a soft breeze. Completely different than the last time I was there in the storm after mom died. I got home and discovered I lost almost 15 minutes just sitting in the stopped car next to the house. I wished I hadn’t come home alone. But, I did NOT want to go to my sister’s house! I’ll take the cards over there tomorrow, they are to the both of us and quite a handful are specifically for her family.

Of the ones in the post, a couple were for me. One was curious. It was from my evil aunt. The one no one quite knows how to handle. (kid gloves and shells on rotten eggs) Oddly, she sent me a good sized check. I called her and we talked for more than an hour. No one really communicates with her anymore, she really was horrible to my grandma and her other siblings. I usually send her a Christmas letter and we get one in return and my uncle keeps in touch with them. I almost wonder if she wants to bury the hatchet, but I’m kind of nervous the hatchet might get buried in us eventually! (she is really an uncertain person!)

Jake wants to go with me when I take mum’s ashes down the Peninsula to some of her favorite places. I was sort of annoyed. I wanted to go alone or with someone else. Jake really drives me nuts and she’s been around almost every day in some form or another since mom died. (She probably needs me, but she has an entire family!) Besides, when we lived further down the inlet, Jake was small! (OK< she’s always been small, but she was barely in grade school when mom married dad!) I was also a bit annoyed (it wasn’t for too long) because she wanted me to save some ashes in case her girls wanted jewelry with ashes in them (lockets) and Princess might want to put some ashes in the lake. While doing this, I accidentally put a hole in mom’s bag, spilled her on the floor, and had to duct tape patch it together again! Sheesh! (Did you know body ashes when you clean them off of carpet tend to look a bit like cat litter????) Then, I find out today the girls do NOT want ash jewelry or even a fingerprint one. Nor does Princess want to put anyone in the lake. My sister obviously does not know her daughters as well as she thinks she does.

So, here I am at the end of a very….a day I cannot even describe! (AND I HAVE SPOTS !!!) I have found some clothes for church tomorrow. I may look like a moose, but I’ll be a colorful, well-dressed moose and my hair bun won’t be as conspicuous as this young one’s antlers (Between the arrows)!

Stories

There is a scene in one of my very favorite books, A Little Princess, where Sarah shares that everyone is a story. I’ve been thinking a great deal about this as I finish out mom’s physical story and watch how it continues to intersect my own. There is so much no one tells you about when a person dies. You don’t have time to grieve when you must address things like bills, Medicare, or simple things like laundry. (Bank of America is best reached via FB. Odd, but true. They are also the only credit card who wants an original death certificate…)

Mom’s been gone a bit longer than two weeks now. I lose track of tasks and end up doing something completely different from what I intended or I just find I’m gazing off into space, generally with tears dripping down my cheeks. (I’ve caught myself doing that while writing this!) Eating is tiring. I did make one meal, it was more work than I anticipated (thankfully, I did what Gaz suggests in his posts and washed as I used the dishes) and most of it is still in the fridge. I’m not really very hungry, which is ok since I’m so chubby and eating causes elimination, which is something else I hate dealing with. (Next summer I’m having an outhouse put in. I may not need it, but I probably will) There are people who volunteer help, most of those are kind gestures. Those people have their own stories and helping doesn’t necessarily mean getting involved in mine. I absolutely understand this. Mom left me one hell of a mess and I can totally get how people end up in a slough of despair when confronted with handling a death by themselves.

Having help, unfortunately means visitors and visitors mean conversation and a chipper Kris. I can do this most of the time. Last week there was a dinner for a family who is moving, they have been an incredible help to me. I drove to town to say goodbye, but I didn’t stay. Finances aside, I just couldn’t visit. (I probably looked like crap anyway!) I did go to my sister’s for dinner on Friday night. She sent me home with photos, a bit of meat, and some bread. I was able to add to the one’s from Jake’s a few more pictures I’ve found of mom. Plus, some scary ones of  the fashions way back when. (I loved that plastic-like jacket!)

I was also able to attend a bridal shower for another friend. It was such an out of the box experience for me. I laughed, won a game (see loot below!), and had a pleasant time being myself and not living in the shadow of mom. (I was also completely terrified when it was suggested a group photo should be taken on the deck. If you notice in the picture, the bride to be was holding me firmly and the lovely woman in front of me was an angel. I stared into her brown eyes as I gripped her hands and backed up against Celisa, scared to my toes we’d fall. I wasn’t impressed when a partier commented it was only 12 feet to the main ground.)

When I left, I had to be responsible again and do my laundry. (Jake had said I could do it at her house, but I forgot it.  TnT met me in town and donated a quarter, since I had 20 and not 21-it is a large washer.) I avoided church (besides, I desperately needed to wash my hair!), I’m having trouble sleeping, my mouth hurts where it was worked on last week, I ache all over, my feet are swelling when I stand or sit, I get light headed at odd times, my glucoses are not bad at all, Jake’s daughter will be here this next weekend (no one from my family will. The Craftsman did say they’d come up if I wanted them to. It doesn’t make sense, they’d only be here for Saturday and part of Sunday cuz they’d need to drive down from the city on Friday and be back there for a Monday flight. The expense would be ridiculous and I don’t have a working septic system) and that will be good for my sister, I lose my place in conversations and life (I was positive the friend who hosted the shower was moving and quitting her job and she’d given me her new address. I couldn’t find it this morning. I called the office where she works and it turns out, I’d DREAMED the whole conversation at the party, she’s not going anywhere!), but nothing matters. It really doesn’t. What is in today’s paragraphs only reach into tomorrow’s as building blocks for the future. I can’t see past the next day, anyway.

I am entirely grateful for the blogs I’ve been reading, those stories aren’t mine and are much more interesting. I’m sorry I’ve not responded, I want to and then I realise I don’t have the energy. I’m so thankful for the texts I have gotten from Podman, messages from GT (those have been beyond wonderful!), letters and a package from SE, and TnT stopped by briefly and helped me see how I could do something I’d been unsure of. People have been helping me organize mom’s service for Saturday, I don’t know how we managed to put together dad’s in so short a time! (If the weather doesn’t deteriorate, this service may become an event, she’d like that.) There is so much to not forget. I have notes on napkins, scraps of paper, and even in a notebook! I just need to remember to remain the rock and not hide in my blankets where no one can find me. (note: I would absolutely love to be taken care of and not need to be that strong, responsible person. Great, now I’m in tears for the 5th time while writing this!)

In just moments before posting, I have an update. The woman who is doing mom’s washing dropped by with clean things and took some more dirty stuff. She told me there had been a tribute for mom on the local radio station! I had no idea. People truly loved her a great deal. It is sad her daughters didn’t get to know her like others did.

 

One week and……

One week and I’m about ready to leave mom’s ashes in the back seat til spring. I’m so mad at that woman. But, there is some light out there! Let me ‘splain. (I got this far on Monday and then was distracted and went to bed!)

I knew I needed a shower. I knew it wasn’t all that chilly outside yet, so yup. I boiled a pot of water and got some cooler liquid and proceeded to first melt a plastic container. It was fascinating, but I determined the cooler water was pretty darn important! Then, I got a washcloth and a small towel and pulled the shower curtain of fog around me and scrubbed myself off. It was lovely and I need to figure out how to wash my hair, but alas, Tuesday was a bit more nippy!

After I did that, I opted to call Bank of America. I’m stating their name because I would never ever recommend having them as a company. I had about 30 spare minutes and spent 20 of them on hold waiting for someone to interrupt their repeated messages. ‘Thank you for holding. In order to protect your privacy, please have your account information available.’ ‘At Bank of America your informational security is of the utmost importance. Please have your account information available prior to speaking with our representative for authentication purposes.’ I’ve now been on hold with them for longer than 40 min total, I cannot reach anyone without them hanging up on me for not giving them the right answers to their automated question (‘I need to cancel my mom’s card because she has died’ isn’t an answer they have on their list). Even if I do give them the proper information, they just put me on hold. I am in a new loop of life. It is called ‘Holding Rage.’ Similar to road rage, but less public. I’d just let them go hang, but this card of mom’s has fees like crazy! I finally hung up on these people and thought I’d try later (I have left a message with their FB messenger, I don’t expect it to help, but whatever.).

The lawyer of my first appointment told me to not touch anything in the house (beyond the dog and foodstuffs and the like) until I speak to mom’s tax consultant. I was told to not do a thing to the septic, either. There may be an issue with that section of government. Alas, the lovely lady won’t return from vacation until just after mom’s service. After thorough thought, I think I’ll see how much it will cost to get the septic done and have them do it. It is kind of important no matter where the house ends up! (And I really do not want to climb into the sandy hole on a ladder with a sharp instrument of a kind I’ve only used once to play in sewage myself!) The other things, it doesn’t matter. I did hope to send my niece’s necklace back with her or send some of mom’s lighthouse collection away when people come to her memorial service, but at the rate things are going, few people may attend. No matter. The place and everything else is paid for. (Mom is in the container with dad and I’ll send the first set to Minnesota for my aunt to take care of. I’ll do some here and the rest in Homer or in the Inlet. NOTE: I do admit, I did leave her in the backseat for several hours. If dad hadn’t been with her…….)

The Craftsman and Little Bear didn’t manage to get their deer yet. Little Bear is still up in the woods today, but, as I was told, there is next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They still have not gotten tickets to come up. I’m not thinking anything concerning their visiting and if I can’t get a working septic, I don’t want them here. Off the grid is kind of fun, but as it gets colder, I do prefer modern conveniences. There is a local pool where I can shower, at $6 a shower and I’m seriously going to go in and do that tomorrow morning before my dental appointment! (different thought: I was sad cuz I hadn’t heard from anyone all day and it was almost 930, Oregon time. I called and crossed a call from my husband. Later, I found The Craftsman had been home a while, but showered, ate, and visited his mom. Calling me was next!)

During the day, I had some lovely visits with different professional people. Mom’s obituary got sorted (I still think it needs tweaked, but after an early-for me-morning phone call, opted to let it stand.) and her service is now organized (mostly). It will be on the 13th because we need to have time for people to travel in, if they so desire. Jake’s eldest will be coming up for the weekend. I was able to meet with TnT and received encouraging messages via email and text. (Podman shared that Monday was National Hair Day. I had mind down, but today it is up, since it needs a wash!) I also used the Oregon account to get a few groceries, so I have some things in the fridge now. (one item didn’t get put in my bag, but I will go and get it on Wednesday.) I did get Tillamook ice cream and ate way too much. I know remember why my family prefers it! There was a moose right outside the house eating rose hips last night. I noticed there are only a couple of the fruits left, so this particular gal will be free from colds for a while! (I was able to get a photo of a moose that hangs around one of the churches out here, I reckon she was eating hips, too!)

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I lost the number I was given to call for a dig and I have decided to not cancel mom’s main phone or her internet til I am actually out of the house. The internet is sort of important in this day and age.  I also need to check on mom’s bank account. It appears money was deposited and I need to not spend it. Mostly cuz she’s gone and will most likely be removed. All in all, I am back to hanging with Doris. What will be, will be. Besides, it is difficult to manage my own flamingos when the course is fraught with stray balls and wickets! (this thought was in a previous post.)

I’m having a great deal of trouble walking in mom’s shoes. No wonder she left them on the front porch.

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She has gone

It’s been more than 12 hours and a million years.
Mum finally relaxed enough for her body to let go about 1130 Monday morning. My sister stayed for a bit longer, then went home cuz my youngest niece was….upset by the news. I was there through the cleansing and til the men came from the mortuary. My aunt and cousin walked out with me and headed to my sister’s. I went to see a friend in one of the offices and bawled all over her scrub top.
When I got back to my car, I ugly crying drove to the park where dad’s bench is. I was supposed to meet someone for lunch, but I didn’t want to eat. At the park, I didn’t know TnT had followed me from the hospital. He’d been working near there and just finished when I left. I had been texting and calling so many people. A brief line to him was among my messages. At the park, I cried more and dropped to my knees and bawled on dad’s bench. I was so glad to be free, but I’m so lost. TnT held me and, thankfully, helped me up off the ground after. He also checked on me later today.
The person I was supposed to meet wanted to see me, then said she’d follow me home. I guess I looked a bit crazy. I stopped at the post and my pancreatic cancer T had arrived. I’ve been wearing it ever since. Eventually, I got to the house and after a bit of a chat, my following friend left. I took a shower and went to sleep. Strider had talked to me just before and said he’d call after work to see if I’d eaten.
I’ve rested and talked to so many people. I’m still incredibly tired and so bereft. I’d called The Craftsman right after mum died and talked for a minute, he was working. So was Little Bear. The Craftsman texted me a while ago. He said ‘Good night, love. Have a restful night.’ I’ve extensively texted another medical worker friend this evening and she reminded me to drink something.
Obi is noticeably upset, Mittens slept with me til I didn’t get her dinner when she wanted and drew a bloody line across my big toe, and I’ve had a piece of bread with some lunch meat and some water.
Her leaving was so mom. I’d just been sitting near her to take a blood test when my cell rang. It was from my dentist about my appointment on Tuesday. I left the room to take the call, returned and started to sit with my aunt. She turned, saw mom and told me to call the nurse. About that time the skies opened up with rain blowing sideways. Then, it cleared and part of the sky was black and part beautiful and sunny. In another hour or so, the wind hit and power was knocked out all over the place. It was almost as if mum was mad about her body giving up!
As I said, I’m glad it’s over. There’s much left to do. And then, then, who needs me?