Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tying up loose ends
I figured that Mother had handled her demise very competently, that my services would really not be wanted or needed at all. Lawyers were in place. She had made sure she had those she cared about at this time surrounding her (as the lawyer cryptically mentioned to me, "People seemed to come and go in her life), and everything possible would be done to insure that I was out of the loop.
Except it seems that "body disposable" (lordy, that's a cold term) actually does need a blood relative. So I got the call and then the e-mail, saying I needed to sign off for the funeral home to cremate her body.
Writing that seems so foreign. She was Mother, not a body. Even if I wasn't a chosen part of her final last wishes, she was still my only mother, not just a dead body.
The whole thing kind of threw me, not withstanding the cold language, and the fact that my services actually were required.
I knew how to get the proper signatures but our digital lives have now gone wireless. I actually have a scanner / copier printer at school -- but it's very old and slow. The one at home is now wireless and isn't equipped to fulfill multiple purposes. Neither do I own a fax machine. Faxes? In today's world unless you are a business? Most of us don't even own landlines anymore. Yes, I do . . . but that's because I don't like phones and cell phones, in particular (and yes, I have one of those but don't even know the number on it -- call Hubby if you need us quickly).
So Hubby stepped up to help me get Mother's final wishes granted. Wouldn't she have just loved THAT?
First we visited the local library. But no, they could not scan signed documents and turn them into digital files. However, they get so many requests for the service, they have a sheet of referral places. I glanced at it and saw that our second choice for scanning was on the list and off we went.
In the car, I dithered some more. "What if I don't know how to run their computers? Or scanners? Will they help me?"
"Silly woman. Give them your credit card, explain what you need, and go sit down."
So I did. And five minutes later I had all the files I needed, scanned and in PDF form. I had thought in advance and taken my trusty flash drive with me. I also had brought all the lawyer info, in case we had to resort to faxing. But I didn't need that at all, just the flash drive.
Back home, I sent off the files within 14 hours of receiving them and congratulated myself on a job well done -- and I hadn't had to explain to the lawyer that I really wasn't sure how quickly I could get the job completed.
Except, of course, I had left off an initial on a form line. The lawyer had sent absolutely no directions as to what needed to be completed on the forms, and though I had read them thoroughly, I had still left something out. You'd think for the amount of money my mother had spent on these lawyers, some directions would have come my way.
The funeral home called.
"We know you weren't close to your mother."
Gee, everybody knows?
"Do you want us to fax you the forms so you can initial the correct lines?"
"No. I do not. Just initial them for me."
"Are you sure?"
At home, after spending the PDF file off and answering the funeral home questions, I hugged Hubby. One more time he had put himself out for a woman who never liked him, never acknowledged his role in our family, and thought of him as less than a human being. One more time he had spent money to make sure her needs were met -- and with no acknowledgment in return -- other than my firm belief that his is the true Christian heart.
So now my part in mother's life (or end of life) is complete.
It would be the time to say, "and so her memories are put to bed." But, of course, it's never that easy or simple or satisfying.
Rest in peace, Mother. We have all done the best we could with the tools we were given. Even Hubby.
PS -- if there is an afterlife, please meet Mrs. Van and have a long, long talk with her. For those of you who knew Mrs. Van, you'll know why . . .