He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

December 15, 2010

Just Breathe

My mom-in-law passed away over the weekend. I want to write up a proper obituary eventually, but right now I'm still processing everything, and I just need to do a brain dump to help put it all in order.

It was totally unexpected. The last time we heard from her was last Thursday, when she called to update us on the status of her husband, Rob, who was taken back to the hospital last Tuesday with some internal hemorrhaging. She promised to keep us posted on his condition, so we assumed that no news was good news.

Then on Monday I got a text message from the Tulsa Police Chaplain saying that he needed to get a hold of Matt ASAP. My heart started pounding when I read the message, because police chaplains who want to get a hold of you ASAP rarely have anything good to tell you. As Matt called him, our first thought was that Rob took a turn for the worst -- but that didn't make sense. Why would the police chaplain call us about Rob and not, say, Mom, or if she was unable, the hospital chaplain?

Because he wasn't calling about Rob, that's why. Rob was actually doing much better and was ready to be discharged, but when he couldn't get a hold of Mom to tell her, he called a family friend, who went over to the apartment to check on her. When she didn't answer the door, the police were called. They forced their way into the apartment and found Mom in her bed, where she had apparently died in her sleep.

We spent the rest of Monday in shock. Even after going over to her apartment to rescue her cat, it didn't really sink in that she was gone. It wasn't until that evening that the reality and the grief started to sink in, and we had a night full of tears and lacking in sleep.

On Tuesday, we knew we had to suck it up, because there was so much to deal with. She didn't leave a will. She didn't have any life insurance, or money in the bank, which would have gone into probate, anyway, because of the lack of a will.

We didn't know yet what was going to happen to Rob. We thought he'd probably have to stay with us, at least temporarily, but that first we'd have to take him home to get his things. So first we went back to the apartment to change the sheets on the bed where she passed. And all I will say about that is that it was one of the most horribly sad things I've ever had to do. Then we went to the hospital, where the staff convinced us that we can't possibly provide all of the care that he needs, so he'll have to go to an assisted living facility. He's not happy about that at all, but he understands that there's really no choice. He's staying at the hospital while they apply to different facilities, and we'll be able to tour the ones that accept him and pick the best fit.

I'm just so heartbroken for him, you guys. Mom was his whole world, and his life is completely turned upside down. She took care of all of his finances in addition to everything else, and he doesn't even have his own bank account. We're going to have to get power of attorney over his finances and everything so that we can at least take care of that for him. I don't know what all getting that done will involve.

After we left the hospital, we went to the funeral home where she'd been taken, and learned that we definitely can't afford to have her buried, which was what she wanted, and we can't even afford to have her cremated, so today we went to the social services office and applied for a county-funded cremation. It will probably be next week before we know if our application is accepted, but I don't know why they'd turn it down, since we just flat out don't have the money for it. We've decided to wait until after the holidays, and after Rob is settled, to plan a memorial service. That's just one too many things to deal with right now.

Meanwhile, we've brought all of her papers home and have been going through them hoping by some miracle to discover that she had a life insurance policy she never told anybody about, but that's not looking too likely. The list of things we have to take care of keeps getting longer and longer. We've got until the end of the month to get her apartment cleaned out, and we have to figure out what to do with all of her things. We have to enlist people to help us move her furniture, because we can't afford movers. I don't know how much of it Rob will be able to take with him to the nursing home. The rest of it will have to come back here until Matt's ready to start letting go.

We're both so tired. Grief alone makes you tired, but we just have so much to DO. I haven't had any time for work since Monday, and I don't know when I will have time. We both need a good night's sleep, and a massage, and... well, we need for Matt's mommy to not be gone anymore. But we don't always get what we need, do we?


Robrosebeth said...

Jean, first of all, I want to give you and Matt my condolences. To lose someone so suddenly is overwhelming--and when it's your mother. Well, I just can't think of anything "right" to say here. I don't know where they bank, but I do know that most Credit Unions offer AD&D insurance for $1000 per person absolutely free. Sometimes, people will opt for the higher insurance at a low cost quarterly. I would check with their financial institution to see if there's something like that there. It might cover the cost of an urn?

Joanna Cooper said...

An acquaintance of yours shared with our class at First United Methodist here in Tulsa that this was a difficult time. Angela and her husband are 'members' of our S.S. class when they are in the states. They know of our desire to be available to assist and help whenever we can. She asked if we could let you know that we would like to be of assistance in any way?? Packing, moving, food, ---We are quite sincere in this and I would love to hear from you if you have any thought that you could use our help---My email is cooperjoanna68@yahoo.com. We've discussed this as a class and hope to hear from you.

Joanna Cooper said...

A p.s. to previous comment--that was Angela Deller I was referring to as having connected with us---she shared your blog?? My savvy on terms such as blog etc. is ....minimal!

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