Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mom’s Passing

Brian is going to meet me here at the hotel in Toronto on this afternoon, I presented two workshops last night. I am so happy. It is a much- needed break. It is easy for him to fly to Toronto from Ottawa. I take off early for the university, again, to deliver my remaining workshop. I have heard no word from Bala and hesitate to phone them. While out presenting the workshop Robin has phones me at the hotel and leaves a message. Brian, arriving in the hotel while I am out, returns the call to Robin. Apparently, on Friday, Robin took Mom to the hospital in the evening. Mom asked her neighbours to stay with my Dad, who still is not well. They cannot do anything for her and so Robin brings her home about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. They went back to sleep and Mom and Robin woke around 7:00 a.m. and talked a bit about grandkids and so on. They have some good chats.

Her breathing gets more and more shallow. Eventually, around 9:00 a.m., Robin looks over to her and she has stopped breathing. Dad, on prescriptions for infections, is quite out of any concept of reality. He becomes very upset and tells Robin to get her body out of the house. Poor Rob has to hustle, with cousins, to find an undertaker to remove Mom’s body. Dad is emotionally distraught, Rob says, and cannot deal with all of the things he needs to deal with. He does not recognize Mom’s body as his dearly beloved late wife. Dad is suffering from prostatitis, which we do not know at the time. He is incoherent much of the time and is having difficulties getting to the bathroom.

I must go back in time to explain this first problem. Mom and Dad named my cousins as executors in their will. We are not sure why, since the will was redone in 1998 and Robin and I were adults at the time. These cousins live in Guelph and it is a fair distance to visit here, especially since they have a farm. These cousins happened to be visiting in the area at the time. Robin and my cousins (husband and wife) take Mom’s body to the Funeral Home and made arrangements to have her body to be cremated.

Once at the Funeral Home, they begin writing the papers. My cousins declare my father unfit to be in charge and take ownership of the problems. Dad is in no condition to take care of these things. In hindsight, my brother and I should have simply signed the agreement with the funeral home and taken control. We have power of attorney for both medical and financial. All of the arrangements have to be done between my cousins and the funeral home from now on. We cannot even take her remains out of the funeral home, to the memorial service. Our cousins have to sign a letter as executors giving us permission. Later we take this control as Dad is incapable of physically singing checks and making financial decisions, but that is a long way down the road.

In the meantime, my cousins begin acting as executors and once they have done so, since Dad cannot at the time, they have complete signing authority for all matters. This became a problem later when trying to remove Mom’s name from documents and put them solely in Dad’s name.

By the time Brian and I arrive from Toronto the funeral arrangements are arranged and the contract signed. We write her funeral announcement at the funeral home, which has been started by my cousins and my brother. Robin does not know some of the names. In hindsight, we should have postponed the small family funeral until a later date, rather than having it a week later. Her obituary leaves out her dear adoptive sister in Lethbridge, whom I had not seen in more than 25 years. I feel badly – another mistake.

Mom and I spent some lovely, quiet, peaceful times together during her final months, in between arguments. Mom know that they need new carpets and she do not know if she should get them in green for her or blue for me! In March, Terry phone her to thank her for his birthday check and she admitted to him that she ‘isn’t very well.' She was nakedly honest with him. She knew he do not like any guff!

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