"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain" (unknown)

"Without Darkness, there would be no Light" (unknown)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Moving Forward

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

After the death of a loved one, life still goes on. I have not allowed myself any other option, but to keep moving forward. I will not allow myself to sink into despair. I have to keep going for myself, and for my family, and as the executor of Mom's estate, there are things that must be dealt with; I think this responsibility has somewhat helped me in moving forward.

I have listed my progress in steps. I don't know why, maybe it will help someone else or maybe just give me something to look back on someday.

Step One
The first things I did were make cremation arrangements (no service per her request), cancel her credit cards and cell phone in the midst of packing up Mom's belongings and helping my sister move out of the two bedroom apartment she shared with Mom into a one bedroom apartment, dividing Mom's personal items between the two of us and bagging/boxing clothes and items for donation, and going through her bills and files looking for life insurance (which she had none of), etc, and having an appointment with Mom's attorney about questions we had about bills, Mom's bank account, filing taxes, and Mom's Ford Explorer.

When appointed as the executor of your loved one's estate, I highly recommend speaking with an attorney to at least guide you in what you need to do and help you with any questions that you may have; it helped me and gave me some peace of mind.

Step Two
Once I received her death certificates, I had to wait 30 days after the date of her passing (January 19) before closing her bank account and changing Mom's truck over to my name; however the attorney instructed us to do these things together because we were both named in her Will. Now that the one month anniversary has come and gone, the ball is rolling again. Last Friday Deb came up and we were able to close the bank account, but DMV was closed, much to our frustration.

Today I went to DMV alone (Deb couldn't make it up this week) and switched over the title of the Explorer into my name. Mom had gifted it to me years ago but never signed over the title; now that's done, along with registration and a new license plate. Once I finished with DMV I went to Mom's insurance provider, closed her account, got auto insurance for myself, and while I was there I also got life insurance and rental insurance.

I cried while at DMV sitting there filling out forms, I realized today is February 1st and Mom's birthday is in 14 days. The clerk helping me was very kind and compassionate. She told me "Just let it out Honey, you will feel better."  Bless her! I almost began crying again at the insurance company and had to fight back tears. I'm still crying off and on.

Step Three
All of Mom's bills are still being mailed to Deb's apartment. The next step is to get those bills from Deb and begin the process of mailing out death certificates, copies of the statement from her attorney stating that Mom passed away with only two grand in her bank account, and had no other assets; this should save us from a probate. As for any debts owed, the attorney said I am not responsible for paying Mom's bills; bill collectors cannot collect from me, which is a relief being that I'm not in the position to pay her debts; the very idea was stressing me out!

Step Four
I am now in possession of Mom and Dad's chest of drawers, and it is now an altar in their memory; it's a work in progress (below).The photo is of Mom and Dad at Morro Bay. The fairy lamps are Mom's, except for the amber one which I purchased at a local antique store this afternoon. Sitting in front of the photo is Mom's little Buddha that I remember her having since I was 9 years old, and that little triangle shape sitting beside the front fairy lamp, is one of Mom's crystals, an Austrian crystal. I have more of Mom's crystals, but they are the hanging type. I'm currently trying to figure out how to display them above the dresser... maybe a small clothing hook rail.
The only thing of my Dad's that I have is his hunting knife; it has his initials on the blade. I'm thinking of displaying that somehow, but being as it is in a leather sheath, I'm uncertain as to how. Maybe I will tuck the sheath aside and only display the knife.
Step Five
Next on the list is releasing Mom and Dad's ashes. The Mortuary was kind enough to mix their ashes together for us, so now we just have to save the money for a trip to California. Mom and Dad wanted their ashes mixed together and released into Morro Bay, their favorite vacation spot. They would try to go there every couple of years, just the two of them. I researched the local hotels and estimated that it will cost us around one grand for four days. It will be a family trip when we go and we will require 2-3 rooms for myself, my sister, my younger son, and my older son and family (wife, and 3 kids). This trip and will require 1-3 years (or more) of all of all of us saving up the money before we can perform their last wish. I'm thinking a savings jar is in order!

Thought I'd close this post with another quote; it made me smile:

"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."
by Victor Kiam


  1. Few people realize that mourning isn't the only part of saying goodbye to a loved one. Everything from funeral services to bits as mundane as taking care of bills take time and effort. I'm glad you are using what is required of you as a mantra to remind you that life goes on.

    Strength, my friend.