My Mom passed a month ago today just a few days after she had a final and catastrophic stroke. It was five years ago Monday that we laid my Dad to rest and my Mom never recovered. While the stroke and other medical factors are listed on her death certificate, grief killed her. It became worse and worse despite all of our efforts to help her.
It is not a unique observation that clearing a dwelling piece by piece after the death of a loved one is a brutal process. It is made much worse in this case as Mom never wanted to give up anything of Dad's. I understood that. But, it makes things really hard.
Then there are the things that just make me wonder. Why she felt the need to save all the mail going back decades is beyond me. Not just tax statements and medical as well as utility bills for themselves. They saved mail of my grandparents going back years before their deaths.There are also tons of things addressed to all that should have gone into the trash the day the carrier delivered them.
My parents were both very private people and never told me things I should have known. I am gradually finding out those things as I slowly work through the boxes of mail one piece at a time. Often upsetting news is unearthed as I dig through box after box. While it is all still very confused and muddled, it has become clear that both of my parents were suffering from many more medical issues than I was aware of and that included the start of some form of dementia years ago. I don't know if they knew it or were just coping with what was happening as best as they could.
I missed the signs until the last few years, but I had no idea just how bad things truly were all this time. In a real sense, I failed them. But, at the same time, neither one of my parents tolerated any suggestion by me that anything should ever be done differently than the way they chose to do things. Even if I had known, I know it would not have changed much of anything. I knew Mom was having issues and I, and a number of others, tried to change the course of things with no sucess at all.
Instead, she doubled down and refused to do anything, but mourn. That grief was more powerful than anything anyone else had in the arsenal. Grief won and we all lost.