Nothing is Certain but Death and Paperwork

Thanks to everyone who posted good thoughts on my last blog entry. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, as we ricochet between the emotional side of death (memories; memorial services; reminiscing with family and friends) and the mundane side of death (getting papers in order, clearing out and selling the townhouse, wrapping up the estate). When you’re dealing with the mundane side, with the possessions and material goods accumulated in day-to-day life, and the bureaucracy of both government and large financial institutions, you simply can’t afford to be paralyzed by emotion. Even amidst so much turmoil, there’s still plenty of shit to do, and quite a lot of it.

But in turn, this means you need time to vent, to put aside the paperwork and focus on the important things– like the memories. (At least, that’s how it works for me.)

I’ve been coping the past couple of weeks by going through and scanning pictures from Mom’s scrapbooks. She kept detailed scrapbooks all throughout her life, and on top of that I’m pretty sure she never actually threw a picture away. We found a whole box with nothing but old negatives that I’m pretty sure had been sealed shut for twenty years.

In the process of going through photos, I put together a small retrospective, which in addition to being deeply emotional for me, I’m fairly pleased with from a creative perspective. It’s certainly not a comprehensive view of Mom’s life, but I think it does tell the core narrative, and the parts which were most important to her, especially the love she gave to family and friends.

This and the next couple blog entries will probably be overly emotional things, a way for me to vent so I can spend the bulk of my daylight hours dealing with banks, the IRS, the SSA, and any other 3-letter bureaucratic acronyms. The good news is, the end of the short-term work is in sight, and I hope in a week or so that I’ll be back in Seattle. Life will never quite be the same, but I’m looking forward to life going on, and seeing what new adventures will come.

In the meantime, a short little memorial video:

One thought on “Nothing is Certain but Death and Paperwork

  1. Dear Andrew,
    What a beautiful tribute to you mother. Thank you for it. I met your mother in Houston at St. Thomas Presbyterian. We were in a “playgroup” for our children with several other young mothers. I think Charlie is about the same age as my son Reece and you may be about the same age as my son, Cliff. It was a group that produced lasting friendships with mutual admiration and respect for one another. Most moved on to other places (Jayne Hawkshaw, Susy Gorham, Gail Van Gestel, Margie Riettini, Tara Concelmen…) as we do but we all stayed in touch as much as our lives allowed. You mother was a very special woman that I was blessed to know.
    Allyn Dukes

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