Sunday, October 21, 2018

Then it all goes to shit

My Aunt Edith died (in the Philippines) in July.  She had been withdrawing over the past couple years & getting less verbal (like Mom), then she didn't want to leave the house any more, she wasn't walking around the house for exercise, then she stopped talking.  She stopped eating.  I used to write to her all the time.  She loaned me money to help buy my first house.  Then writing became difficult, but phone calls were useless.  Most of the time on the phone between Mom & Edith was like, "Hello?  Can you hear me?  ____ is that you?"  Her last real communication with me was when I got cataract surgery in 2014. "Upgrade for the lens correction," she said. I already requested it.  She knew my taste in clothing.  She gifted me my most favorite shirt ever.

Two months later, my incredible shrinking Auntie Susie passed away.  She lived about 70 miles from me.  Back in the 90's when my cousins started having kids, they started calling her Lola (grandma) but she said "No, call me Auntie.  I will be Auntie to everyone." And she was. 

OMG, this was hard.  In the past few years, as Mom slips deeper into dementia, Auntie was my shoulder to lean on.  I used to tell her all of Mom's incidents and accidents.  She didn't have any advice, but she would listen.  Then my birthday passed.  This was my saddest day.  All the usual suspects called, but I missed her phone call so much.  She used to be the first one every year to call to wish me happy birthday.  So now she's left me to be executor of her will.  So much to do, but somehow she did everything she could to make this easier.  I mean everything was so organized.  She left cash in her safe so that we could pay bills until the probate court makes me the official Trustee.  We tried, it isn't enough to the bank that we present the death certificate and the three most likely beneficiaries. 

But wait, there's more!  My aunt's cousin lives around the block (I call him Uncle because of the age difference), he was the closest and has a key to the house.  He's the one that found her.  In the Filipino tradition, her body hadn't left the house yet while all the closest friends & family gathered at the house and prayed for 9 days, followed by pot luck every night (OMG, so much food!  I don't think I've done groceries for a month, and I was only there on weekends.)  By the third day, Uncle was complaining about chest pains and went to ER.  A couple days in the hospital for tests, then he's having a quadruple bypass.  I think Auntie broke his heart, yea I know it was like going through a stress test.  My heart broke too, but I'm much younger than him so I guess I stressed out better.

Now we're coming up on her 40th day.  There will be more prayers at a special mass.  Apparently this time, rather than pot luck, it's time for the family of the deceased (that would be me) to pay for a buffet for everyone who has been praying and pot lucking for my Auntie.