Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Oye vay!

This has been a draining journey.  Not the drivin' between Washington and Indianapolis and back; not the gettin' ALL the way down to me da's only to find out (at 330 AM) that the DH still had the key to Daddy's house on his key ring!  I got in, six hours later.  Got a hotel room to crash in. 

So, today started with selected Daddy's final outfit.  I had wondered about his clerical robe, but then decided on a suit.  Only which color?  He had black, blue, grey, and a brown suit.  Brown to me spoke of the earth.  Daddy came from farm stock, he loved to work the fields and to work his gardens.  So brown it was.  Shoes of the same color.  A tie and belt.  A white long sleeved shirt.  Cuff links.  His wedding ring.  His watch that he was wearin' when he died.  Underwear and socks. 

All y'all will be glad to know Daddy did NOT get holy underwear, thank you very much! 

Then I realized in lookin' at a picture of him that he never liked to have a loose/floppy tie.  He also wore a tie clasp or tie pin.  Back to the dresser to look for an appropriate tie clasp.  His suit had an American flag pin on it, he's worn one since 9/11.  All of his tie clasps and pins were upside down.  I picked one up, looked at it, and decided that it was.  There was no need to look anymore.  

The tie clasp had the cross and flame emblem of the United Methodist Church.  Was it Daddy tellin' me it was right?  Was it just serendipity?  Was it God's hand guiding mine?  Maybe a conbination of all three.  I was to have another experience like that at the funeral home, more on that later. 

The reason I'm back at Indianapolis right now is not to go to work.  I have today off.  Yesterday was Paid Time Off, and Wednesday through Friday are beravement days.  Saturday is off day.  Sunday is up in the air.  As Daddy used to say, "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

I have two things to do today.  Vote in the primary and meet with Daddy's lawyer in Greenfield.  There is a strong possibility that the banks will freeze the assets in both Daddy's and my step - mother's trust account that Daddy administered.  Time to move the money.  The forms I need to sign today will speed up the unfreezin'.  Best to do it now, instead of waitin' a week. 

By movin' money in our personal account, I will have the funds needed to pay Daddy's bills, such as the credit cards, the medicals that still come to me, and the other necessary payments until the cards are cancelled and no longer have to be a concern.  When the subscriptions to his many magazines and the Wall Street Journal expire, they won't be renewed.  In the meantime, Robert is enjoyin' the WSJ, the ESPN and Sports Illustrated magazines, and is totally appalled and aghast that Daddy received the Rush Limbaugh Letter. 

Then I went to the funeral home, and turned over Daddy's outfit to the funeral director and his assistant.  We went upstairs to the office / showroom.   Daddy preplanned/prepaid his service.  That took a LOT of pressure off me.  No havin' to choose a casket, no havin' to scramble for people to sign, play orgran, be pallbearers.  No worries about expense.  There were tweaks to the plans, as some of the people he wanted as pallbearers weren't available.   

The funeral home can scan pictures and put them on a dvd.  I had pictures from most of the phases of Daddy's life, and some more are downloadable.  That will be a nice touch.  Daddy had already selected his casket, so all I had to do was choose the guest book and prayer card.  Even there, Daddy gave me guidance.  He'd opted for one row of bookscards.  There was a lighthouse scene, a flower garden, and the woods.  I keep lookin' at the woods and garden. 

The woods was under consideration because we had spent time at Santa Claus Methodist Campground every summer.  He as director, me as camper and later counselor.  The garden was attractin' me because of his love of putterin' in the garden.  When the time came, I chose the garden. 

Then there was the poem to put in the card.  The first one I really liked was fittin', but long.  I kept lookin, and saw another one that, like Goldlilocks tastin' the porridge, wasn't yet quite right.  The third one that caught my attention was "just right".  I started bawlin like a baby as I read it.  The funeral director and I both knew I'd found the one.  More guidance from beyond?  Who knows. 

I wrote the obit, which will be a little expensive, but will be worth it, I think.  If you're interested in readin' it, here's the link to the newspaper:

We had a fascinating moment when it came to ther burial.  Some years ago, Daddy had offered to sell the twin plots he purchased at our former church in Washington to Robert and myself.  The logistics of us being buried there seemed insurmountable.  The reason for this was that Daddy was goin' to buy a plot next to my step - mother in the same cemetary where her first husband was buried.   That was gonna leave ne with a burial plot to do somethin' with.  Well, turns out he never did that, and my step brothers had always figured they'd just have Mom's stone updated when the time came, but bury her with Daddy.  Problem solved! 

So the funeral service and visitation and burial are all set.  Next came selectin' flowers for his casket.  That, too, is already included.  So I choose a spray of red and white roses (IU colors) with an Iris in the center for his birth flower.  There will be five ribbons, 'husband, daddy, grandpa, great grandpa and uncle'.  They will be red and white.  (IU colors, get the point?  When y'all read the obit, y'all will catch on).  Ivy and fern will nestle with the red and white. 

I purchased a simple token of love that has special significaance to me.  The Gerard Butler fan group here is called the Indy Tarts and Tartans.  One of our traditions is whenever a member loses a loved member of their family, a reresentative of the group that lives in/near the town where the funeral will be takes a red rose, tied with a black ribbon, to the beraved group mmber.  I wasn't sure if someone would be able to that as far aouth as this is.  But, the tradition continues.  I ordered a single red rose, to be fitted with the simple black ribbon, and added a crystal in the center of the ribbon/bow. 

After the flower sprays, I took Daddy's hearing aid (he'd lost one) back to the hearing aid center.  They can't resell it, but they can donate it so that someone somewhere who needs a hearing aid and doesn't have the wherewithall to get one, will be able to hear. 

Daddy would like that.

I made his last property tax payment Monday; the house is in my step - brother's name.  With fall's papyment, it'll be his responsibility. 

Besides breakin' the news to the O'Briens, I also took some stuff over to the CPA, as we're workin' on Daddy's taxes, and gave them the news.  It wasn't any easy to tell them in person than it was to make all the phone calls.  But I felt it was the right thing to do. 

After spendin' a day runnin' on CAWFEE only, I was tired, grubby, a little sun burnt, and peckish. 
Yup, I ate somethin', then took a bath, relaxed awhile, and then drove back to Indy. 

And that's why I iz tired kitteh.  Nytol.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Some of the Hardest Work I've Ever Done

I've decided to continue utilizin' this blog to keep all y'all in the know of what's happenin', and how I'm doin'.  NOT that I don't appreciate all the individual responses and the outpourin' of love/support/prayers.  They're definitely appreciated and needed right now.  Just that I'm feelin' a little overwhelmed right now, and figure this is the best way to keep all y'all up to date on how things are progressin' and how I'm REALLY doin'.

That bein' said, I didn't sleep Friday nite.  Nor was I up to eatin'.  They say after a loss like this, it's normal, but 'they' say a lot sometimes!   After seein' Daddy at the hospital for the last time (Robert had been busy upon his arrival by packin' up Daddy's few personal items for us to take home with us while he was waitin' on me), we came home, and I was numb.

  My cell phone was very warm from bein' used, as everyone was callin'.  I felt at the time it was impotant to return the calls, but was feelin' a lot overwhelmed by the contacts.  Hence, the initial tribute blog about Daddy. 

Once Robert went off to sleep as he had to work the next day, I sat at the computer to try to locate the copy of the memorial write up Daddy had asked me to do for him years ago.  It wasn't on the hard drive, and then I remembered that it was a three and a quarter floppy disc.  Our computer doesn't run those! 

"D'OH!"  Typical Homer moment.

You see, several years ago, Daddy had asked me to write up the 'in memorial' for the annual conference journal, which would be printed for the Indiana United Methodist Conference journal following his death.  The Conference meets every year to discuss the successes of the various committees and outreachs of the church, ordinate new ministers, and announce appointments within the conference. 

After it's all said and done, the conference sends out a printed volume with all the reports, pictures, appointments, budgets, and the 'in memory of' write ups for the deceased clergy, their spouses, and the missionaries.   Because I'd written the narrative for a slide presentation that was shown of Daddy's career when he retired, he entrusted me with this honor.

It was written up years ago, and stored on a disc.  It was updated from time to time as needed.  When our last PC tower croaked, so did that file.  Hence, the only back up I had was that aforementioned floppy. 

Double D'OH! 

With the help of the VHS video of that presentation from the retirement reception and one of the most recent conference journals I had on me, I was able to rewrite both the 'lost' obituary for the newspaper and the 'in memorial' for the journal! 

Note to self, havin' a back up is good, but make sure one backs up on current technology!

By six AM, Saturday mornin', I had come up with a game plan that would enable me to still earn, take care of business, and utilize the three days of paid beravement time work allows to best advantage and texted my team lead.  He replied that it sounded good. 

Went to bed, tried to sleep, and fought the bed for two hours.  Since Tig, the bike's, repairman was due to arrive at 11, I gave up tryin' to sleep.  The repairman didn't arrive because the doctor didn't release him to go back to work.  Le sigh.

Had a nice visit with my cousin and his wife from Harrison County.  We talked about things in general, the service in particular, and Daddy quite a lot.  As they were leavin', I went into the house, grabbed the car keys, and took off for the hospital.  Got half way there when I realized that it wasn't necessary to go. 

D'OH!!!!  Again! 

Decided I needed a project.  Something to keep me busy and occupied until the DH got home.  So, I called each and every current minister for the churches Daddy had been appointed to during his tenure, so the ministers could give the news to the congregants that remembered him.   This was a period of time from 1955 through 1992.  A lot of churches. 

It wasn't easy.  I broke down several times.  Yet, it was an interestin' emotional journey, rememberin' the places we'd lived before, recallin' names of parishoners, learnin' how much things had changed since our time at those locations.   A few of the ministers did know Daddy, or knew of him, and that made it doubly difficult not to break down. 

So why put myself through such a thing?  Why intentionally inflect such pain on myself?  It felt like the right thing to do.  The conference office would put out an announcement on their web page come Monday, but gettin' the word out to the congregations would've been more difficult.  To me, alertin' the ministers directly enabled them to share the news during worship services on Sunday, so the congregants that wanted to remember Daddy could do so.  They'd at least know the basics. 

It was the last gesture of love and appreciation that I could make to him, and I wanted to do it right.  It took four hours to do.  It was the hardest work I'd ever done in my life. 

Today, I went back to work.  A little normal routine seemed helpful.  Sundays are kinda quiet at work; not the usual drone of a busy call center, as most of the other departments are shut down.  My appearance shocked everyone, as they didn't expect me to come in at all.  Hey, that's me, always doin' the unexpected! 

Our department manager was workin' today, and stopped by to see how I was doin'.  I told him what my supervisor and I worked out via text on my schedule, and had sent him a copy via email.  Though I have more than a year on the job, my full time tenure didn't start until July (was part time from hire until that time).  He was kind enough to check on my PTO eligibility, and found out my bucket has 40 hours of time.

So, instead of runnin' to Washington Sunday night after work and runnin' around the town scramblin' to get things done and runnin' back to Indy to go to work THEN runnin' back down to Washington for the wake and the funeral (jeeze!  I just wore myself out typin' that!), I'm gonna stay in Washington through Friday.  That will give me time to work on things at the house, sort through things, make the difficult decisions. 

The dear husband will drive down on Wednesday. 

This weekend has been a time just to try to come to grips with losin' Daddy.  I still can't believe it despite havin' seen his lifeless body lyin' in the hospital bed on Friday.  Every time that I've run across somethin' of his that we brought home from the hospital, the pain hurts just as it did the minute the nurses told me he'd passed.  

I'd brought his wallet up with me from home, along with the checkbooks that enable me to pay the bills for him and my step mother (Mom).  His wallet had my old high school senior year portrait in it, along with his driver's license.  I stuck that in the keepsake box where I also keep mementos from the furbabies I've lost (their collars,) and from other people I've loved and lost. 

Today, I gathered up his cell phone and his hearing aid to take back to the stores there in Washington, so his accounts could be closed and credited.  I also have his glasses and his watch (which stopped runnin', by the way), and seein' all those things together drove things home again.   I also took the little stuffed kitty that I gave him for his birthday that he took great delight in havin'.  I want him to be buried with it. 

Stupid?  Maybe.  But it's comfortin' to me to think of. 

I've never had to actively participate in plannin' a funeral.  I've been to a lot, but never planned one out.  Not that there's a lot of stuff to be done, such as choosin' the casket, burial site, etc.  Daddy did all that long ago and paid for it.  All I have to do is follow his lead.  Kinda like while he was still alive. 

There's a line from Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan, that I find is very fitting.  After the Enterprise crew has fired Spock's body into space, and the Admiral is standin' on the bridge with the rest of the crew, he's reminded that "He's not really gone, you know.  Now as long as we remember him."