I'm sitting here with a glass of wine, and it's been a "kill the bottle" kind of night. Last night was my first night alone in a week and a half, and I was so exhausted, I sat down in front of the TV with the laptop and fell asleep while Cosmos was on. Sigh.
Today was my first day back at work, and after getting through my backlog of email and talking with everyone who came by to share their condolences (which was sweet), I just felt cooked at the end of the day. It's been the week-and-a-half that felt like a month. An exhausting whirlwind of emotion and just -stuff-.
However, there was some good in all this... My sisters both flew out, including the sister I was worried about a few months ago. She's pulled herself together, has been clean for a few months (knock wood), and has a good job with a potential promotion coming her way soon. Thank GOD. This was the first time we've really been together and acted like sisters - I'm 15 years older than my middle sister, 17 years older than my baby sister, so for a long time, it was more like an aunt relationship than a sister relationship. This felt good.
We worked with the funeral home, worked on cleaning out her home (because the woman who owns it was pushing for us to give her the key - more on THAT later), and we worked EXTREMELY well when going over the sentimental and meaningful things that we found... no arguing, no posturing. Just sharing good memories and figuring out how to divide the sentimental stuff in a meaningful way. I think we ended up a lot closer after this than we'd been in a long time. Even the age difference worked to our advantage, as I was able to identify items and photos that they couldn't, and vice versa.
The wake went nicely (for the most part... again, more later)... we pulled together a slide show with pictures and some of her favorite songs, and it was so nice to see folks from her community come out (those Bingo players are CRAY CRAY!) and share some nice stories. A friend of hers and my uncle's came out to pay his respects and shared some stories as well, even running out to his car to grab his yearbook and show us what was written under her picture. My sisters and I surmise that he may have carried a bit of a torch for Mom all these years.
The service... Catholic (which I am not, so being in the front row and being unable to follow the stand/sit/pray script was a bit embarrassing). And sad. However, the reception that followed was pulled together by the folks in the trailer park she lived in, and it was wonderful. They shared some great stories, and it felt SO good to have it feel like a celebration of her life, rather than a sad marking of her passing. These people are wonderful, and I'm glad she knew them.
Now, it *should* end there, but of course it doesn't. This is the life of YouAreHere and nothing ever happens without complication.
When mom passed away, I called her "landlord" to let her know. The landlord is the ex-wife of my Mom's previous partner of 20 years, who died about three years ago. I figured they had a rental agreement. Silly me.
This woman decided she wanted the key THE DAY OF THE WAKE. And she'd help us clean out.
No effing way.
"Well, of course, I wouldn't touch your mother's things."
I told her I didn't want to offend her, but I didn't want her cleaning up the place without one of us present, and I declined to give her the key. She showed up at the place just as we were leaving for the wake, asking for the key (no), and then complaining that (A) she "wasted all this gas coming down here" and (B) what is she going to do? She planned to spend the night there.
So, trying to feign composure, I said that I'm sorry, I didn't know that was her intent, and that no, she couldn't stay there for the night.
Honestly, the dog peed on the only mattress in the place, so it would've served her right if she did, but I digress...
She then showed up at the wake and pulled me aside to talk about it again. AT THE FUCKING WAKE.
Asked me if I was heading home, if I could call her, yadda yadda. I kept repeating that this was not the time to talk about this, and that I couldn't call her that night. She was eventually asked to leave.
Wednesday (services and reception) go well. Thursday, middle sister flies back, and I get more cleanout done with baby sister. The only stuff that's left is more yarn (OMG, my mom was a knitting fanatic - we'd given away boxes and boxes of yarn in the days previous!), a set of Christmas plates nobody wants, some laundry detergent (which I'd meant to take), and a bunch of trash. We load up my mom's van and my sister and I drive down to my place to crash for the night.
Friday, we meet with the probate lawyers and explain the situation. They determine to dig into whether or not this woman really owns the trailer, or if the divorce decree gave the house to my Mom's partner, but they never had the money to transfer the deed. Baby sis and I then meet with the trailer park president, who took in my mom's dog (awesome guy - has a three-legged cat, a cat with half a tail, both adopted, and two ferrets. Doggie gets along swimmingly with all the pets
), and then we head to the airport.
I get a call from the neighbor. Woman has sent her daughter to break into the trailer, put up "No Trespassing" signs, and change the locks.
What the ever-loving FUCK?!
Local PD explains that she claims I never called her back (a lie), and that the place is hers (which it is on the old deed), so legally she's just supposed to hold onto Mom's stuff for 30 days.
I don't trust her a damned bit, so I'm glad we cleaned the place out. Lawyers got notified but can't do anything on the weekend.
I receive a call from crazy-woman on Saturday (my daughter's dance competition was over the weekend - nothing like going from one whirlwind to a different one) to ask what I'm going to do with the trash.
If I'm locked out of the house, then I'm obviously not welcomed back. If she'd waited a week or two, she'd have had a nice, clean house. Eff that.
She said she'd bill the estate. I had to laugh when I hung up.
My mother's estate is probably worth the value of her car and very little else. She had outstanding medical bills from her cancer treatments. Crazy Woman can try to get blood from a stone, but good luck to her.
GAH. Some people.
Anyway, the lawyers will be worth their weight in gold if they can keep her at bay. We shall see how the story progresses. In the meantime, there's still work to do. Mom would be bitching right alongside me, anyway, with respect to Crazy Woman, so I have to laugh. It's so Jerry Springer-like, it's comical.
So... back to my routine (sorta) today, after an exhausting week. I'm thankful for all the friends and family that shared so many good stories and pictures, to keep Mom's memory alive. Her life should be celebrated, and I'm happy it was.
Thanks to everyone here for the support as well.