Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rough Days

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.

10 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

My parents were also very private people. But they got rid of everything long before they died. So I didn't have to go through it. I only learned in the last years that they were separated for more than a year before I was born. Why was that generation so secretive?

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I don't know, Patti. In some ways we got closer after Dad passed, but in other ways that are just now becoming clear to me, we got further apart.

Terry W. Ervin II said...

My brother and I are still working on cleaning the house my mother lived in for decades, since I was an infant.

I found Christmas cards from the 1960s and Valentines Day cards my father sent her. They got divorced in my teen years, and it was not a happy or amicable split. The window through the cards, of who their friends were and the love they once shared, before I was even born. It's odd. The problem is, there are bank papers, and items with SSNs intermixed, and even in some of the cards (and also old photos), so looking through before shredding is necessary, and time-consuming.

While it may be difficult to understand, individuals grieve over the loss of a spouse in a variety of ways, but some do take it hard and never truly recover.

Hang in there as best you're able.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I am finding much the same Terry in their mail. I am slso finding medical stuff going back decades that I had no idea about. They also saved a bunch of my grandparent's mail. Not just tax returns, bank statements, and the like, but other stuff.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

You did not fail them, Kevin. We find things, after our parents pass. Things they kept, who knows why, and some things we are grateful for. Stay strong.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Oh, I think I did. Between my health issues and Sandi's and everything else that was going on, I missed what was happening to my folks.

Reine said...

Oh, Kevin. It is so very difficult.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

It is, Reine. It is.

Jan Christensen said...

So sorry you're going though this added agongy, Kevin. Know I'm thinking of you often, and wishing you and your family some peace soon!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Jan.