… and 2014 isn’t off to a strong blogging start.
There will be no review of 2013. It was a challenging year, filled with change. Most of that change resulted in positives, so please don’t think I’m down on my luck or down in the dumps. I am still married to my best friend, and as I type, Gretchen Greer is pressed against me, and Sissy slumbers nearby, after making me hold her most of the night. We have our health, a comfortable home, reliable vehicles, and friends and family abound.
It’s sometimes hard to have a blog when you’re really a rather private person. The blessing of a blog vs. “real life” is that I can share what I choose. I’ve had some trouble choosing this time, but because the regular readers have become friends, I will share that one week ago today, I got a rather surreal phone call that dictated the course of the next 7 days and will continue to require my attention for some time still.
The coroner from my mother’s town called to say she’d been found dead. After many otherwise indelicate questions – both on my part and his – over the course of several hours, it was determined that she died “before the paper had been delivered” on the 26th. We had indeed had a pleasant conversation Christmas night. I had originally understood that I needed to stay put until some papers were signed, but on Monday morning, my aunt and I made our way south.
Our new joke is that only we could go roughly 1000 miles south and walk out of the church after the memorial service to snow flurries, and then encounter still more snow on our drive. My mother loved snow, so it is fitting, even if it did add to my stress.
There’s lots I could share about our journey, but I choose not to right now. I will say that the kindness of strangers turned up where it was least expected and not at all where one might have presumed some hospitality might have been extended. My aunt and I have been close for years, but we deepened the bond with stories shared and just by pushing through this trip together. I am exceedingly grateful for our husbands – whom we realized are VERY much alike in some respects – my cousins and my half sister (I rarely use the half, but here it is significant; my mother was but her FIRST step mother and they were not close). We were also supported by our extended family and the few friends in the know, so we were not really alone. Again, my new employer was more than kind.
And as another friend who endured a very similar experience in 2013 had warned me… If you have a parent living in another state, morbid as it sounds, make yourself familiar with that state’s probate laws. I’ve long been an advocate for having a will and making sure the right people know you have one and where to find the original, and I am grateful for the “Last Wishes” booklet my mother had in her desk. “Estate planning” is necessary even if you have no real assets… trust me.
May your New Year be filled with joy and laughter. Whether it was appropriate or not, my aunt and I laughed at least twice daily on our trip. Sometimes it was because we were just worn out and silly, but laughter is good medicine.