Monday, August 08, 2005

Manic Monday


Not looking forward to today at all.

In a couple of hours, I'll be leaving town to meet my mom and close out Dad's bank account. We stopped his Social Security and Army retirement right after he died, but have had to wait for the will to get out of Probate Court to take care of the account. In a few hours, one more trace of my dad will be wiped from the face of the Earth. Slowly, but surely, his existence is being relegated to the realm of memories.

The bureaucracy of death is amazing. So many forms to fill out, notarize, sign, and send. Then when I get done, it all goes to my brother for the same process. I've decided that there is more paperwork involved in being dead than there is in being alive. It's just that when you're dead, you leave it for someone else to do.

Somewhere along the line today, I'll have to trot out the death certificate, that wonderfully official piece of paper that coldly sums up the night of June 6--Carl Mitchell is dead--without giving any of the details that are stuck in my mind: his limp hand, that final gasp, that moment of awareness when you know he's gone forever. He's dead. I've got the papers to prove it.

I'm not completely sure how much is in the account. I really hate that my dad has come down to a couple thousand dollars, and a few boxes of photos sitting outside one of my closets. The traces are getting fainter and fewer. I talked with my brother last night about the best way to deal with the money. He and I are the only heirs, but we're trying to make sure that Mom gets something. That's been the really fun part of this, dealing with Mom.

My folks divorced before I turned 16, but by the time I had left seminary at 23, had managed to become friends again. It was an odd relationship to be sure, and it's even odder now. Mom seems to want to mourn, grieve, and be a part of everything, but she doesn't want too much weight attached to any of it. It's like she feels the need to draw a boundary around her sadness, so that no one makes any assumptions abut their relationship. They were married long enough for her to draw Social Security off of Dad's account. In the eyes of the SSA, she's now a "divorced widow." To me, that sums her up perfectly.

Keith just told me it's time to get ready. Guess I gotta go do what I gotta do.

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