What I did on my vacation

One of the things hospice and the comfort service impressed upon me during our discussions was the need for funeral arrangements. This did not come as a surprise, but it’s one of those things mom and I never got around to. We did talked about it, but we never actually made the arrangements.

While I was on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I decided it had to be done ASAP. I went to the same funeral home we used for my dad and Dan.

 

ales-krivec-623972-unsplashPhoto by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

Mom has a pre-paid plot next to dad, so finding a spot wasn’t an issue. Mom wants to be cremated and have some of Dan’s ashes added to hers. Mom wants to be sprinkled at various places she loved and enjoyed as a teen or we enjoyed as a family. So it’s all pretty straight forward, right? HA!

I sat down with the director who’s been there for years. He very subtlety asked questions about Dan. He thought there was something about Dan dying, but wasn’t certain, so he hedged around it a bit. Sweet man. 

Our conversation ranged from their old building (I worked in an office there when it was bought by the university) to Dan to my dad and then to mom.

There were questions for the obituary (paid directly to the local paper, not the funeral home), a discussion about putting an obit in her hometown paper (also paid directly to that paper, not the funeral home) and a discussion about a graveside service. Did I want a “viewing?”

The final decisions were based on what mom would want and with the understanding that funerals are for the living. 

I made the decisions of no obits. My friends and family will know. Mom’s friends are all gone. A death announcement is sufficient.

There will be no viewing. That is something she does not want. Once again, it would be for my very small family and we can get together in one apartment at any time to remember mom.

The memorial park where mom has a plot charges $900 just to open the grave. If mom and dad were going to be buried in the same space, they would charge another $1400 for second use, plus $900 to open the grave — all paid directly to the memorial park, not to the funeral home. Since mom doesn’t want her ashes buried anyway, no graveside service. Her name will be added to the marker alongside dad’s — another item already paid for when dad died.

So, mom cremated; her ashes mixed with Dan; I sprinkle the ashes — all for the low, low price of $3600. Not so bad when they’ll let me spread payments over six months. Now all I have to do is find another $600/month laying around.

I have no complaints about the funeral home or the charges. No one tried to talk me into anything and they are great at handling families in the position of dealing with the imminent demise of a loved one or whose loved one has passed.

It’s just … well, Yikes! I don’t have much cash in savings. My checking account is for monthly use. To me, this is a fortune.

This, my dears, is the reason to have life insurance that doesn’t drop you at age 85.

There was one humorous note during the meeting. I was telling the director about watching a Ghost Hunters a few years back. A young girl had lost her mother and was now living with her aunt. They had the mother’s cremains set in a little shrine in the girl’s room. Suddenly, they started having paranormal activity. One of the Hunters said that often happens around cremains. I looked to where I have Dan and I said, “Stay!” I could hear Dan in my head, laughing and laughing. The director said, “Just because it happens in your head, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.” I replied, “Thank you, Professor Dumbledore!” Yessir, I got the reference.

And neither he nor Dumbledore is wrong. 

I didn’t think we were here yet

I got mom home for the holidays. She went into the hospital on December 3, 2018, went from there to a nursing home until everything could be put in place to bring her home. December 22, 2018, she came home on hospice. For the holiday break from work, I stayed home. I was able to spend some time just hanging out with her.

There are people who come in while I’m at work and the hospice aide comes in 5 days a week. A hospice nurse visits twice a week. Things have been ticking along.

Until Sunday.

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As we near the 11th anniversary

I was at the doctor’s office the other day, sitting in the waiting room and … you know … waiting. There were two men talking. One got up and went in for his appointment. The other gentleman started to talk to me.

As it turns out, this man graduated two years ahead of me. That means we both have the reunion coming up. That also means he graduated is Dan’s class. And, of course, he knew Dan. Quite well, actually. As he was called into the office, he asked me to tell Dan “hello” the next time I talk to him.

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An update

I got a call from the treasury office and they gave me good news and bad news.

First, the good news: she kept saying “checks.” That means it’s not clothes! HALLELUJAH, BABY!!!! No dealing with bodily fluids of a beloved, long-dead brother.

The bad news: After almost 11 years, Dan’s estate is still technically open! The creditors have all settled accounts and would have done so within a year of the probate, but the final paperwork was never filed.

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Me, banging my head against the table.

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Suicide — the gift that keeps on giving

Several months ago I found there was “unclaimed property” from Dan’s estate.

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There was a bunch of paperwork involved, but I filled things out and sent it off to the State Treasurer. Sixty days later, I got a form in the mail. More paperwork was needed.

The first thing I had to have was a copy of the probated will. Easier said than done because I am not in the same state where Dan lived and died. There was information online for how to go about getting the copy, but since I had no idea how many pages it was, I was unable to send payment. It was difficult to get that piece of information. I was finally able contact the probate officer through email. She was very nice and was able to give me the information needed. Continue reading