Undoing My Mom

Today is my last day of bereavement leave from work and I spent most of it canceling out my mother. I’ve spent the last four years keeping her current, making sure her Social Security money kept coming and was accounted for, updating her Medicare coverage, renewing her newspaper subscription, arranging doctor’s appointments, changing the calendar page in her room each month, replenishing supplies of her personal items at the care facility, maintaining her presence in the world.

Even with the funeral planning, it was about getting her cared for. Picking out her outfit, her favorite poem, the hymns she loved, getting her buried between my dad and one of my sisters, Mom’s baby girl.

And now I’m undoing it all. Erasing her. Canceling her out. She’s no longer on the Social Security or Medicare rolls. Medicaid and supplemental insurance have removed her from coverage. I still need to go to the bank and close her account. I never realized how many people I would have to tell, “My mother died.” How many times I have said it this past week, and it’s a wrench every time.

All of the clothes she’ll never again wear, her empty wheelchair, her calendar –they’re all sitting in my house waiting to be sorted and repurposed. And after that’s done, then what? I don’t know. I really don’t.

 

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3 responses »

  1. My mom said it’s taken months to sort out stuff since my dad died Aug. 31st last year. Just recently, I’ve started seeing other elderly men and thinking, Gosh, that looks like my dad! Hugs, Ida. The empty wheelchair at your house really hit my heart. Love to you.

  2. Thank you for writing so clearly about this part of the grief process–the letting-go of each little thing that has made someone real in the world. It’s sad, no way around it. Peace to you–Barb

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