In the years that led up to my mom’s death, I had moments where I would think about losing a parent and what it would feel like. Her death, my dad’s. I sometimes wondered if I’d even feel sadness. I was pretty certain I would but it felt so intangible that I couldn’t even imagine the emotions. Even though my mom had come very close to suicide, I still felt so detached from it, and perhaps I was living under the illusion that things would one day get better. They didn’t.
While the emotions are very real now, the thing I was never really prepared for was the bureaucracy. Other than making sure there is a will in place, I don’t even know if it’s something you can prepare for. It’s so draining, mentally and emotionally. I didn’t even have to deal with all of it. My aunts took care of the autopsy, cremation, death certificate and memorials (yes, plural) yet even what was left has been hard to deal with.
When I heard about my mom’s death, my main concern was “will I handle this emotionally?” After lawyer visits, paperwork and a weekend of sifting through possessions, I began to wonder if I could handle it mentally and physically too.
Being a sibling means hooray for having someone to share the load with and sad face for dealing with admin together. I used to loathe doing anything adminny with my mom because we both had very different styles, and it’s the same with my brother. I like to keep the peace, he likes to passive aggressively try and urge people into action. It’s frustrating. Last week, in a stark office fitted with a desk, three chairs and a phone, I had to sign some documents so that the executor could start doing her thing. After a painful consultation with my brother and a few words with the lady who was helping me, all I wanted to do was break down and let my tears bring some sort of humanity to myself and that barren space but a “thank you so much for your help” had to happen instead. It can be so difficult to know when to let it all out and when to just suck it up.
I want to believe that the hard part is over but it feels like it’s only beginning.