Thursday, July 11, 2013

Passing of a Loved One - Life Goes On

Two weeks ago I wrote my last post on blogging fun and other time commitments. Little did I even think that my mother would pass away unexpectedly two days later. So for the past two weeks I have been naviating through funeral arrangements and estate processing, not having a clue where we as a family really stand legally. For as many wills, probates, funeral homes and cemeteries we deal with as genealogists this is certainly another aspect of how we handle the affairs of our lives.

Right now I feel overwhelmed and unsure how to react to much of the information others are sharing with me. Speaking with the lawyer has helped some, but there are so many unknowns. While I grieve for my mother I so want to honor her by doing the right things. She gave me clear instructions as to what I need to do, but so much changed in her life since she wrote her last will in 1991. Now we have to come to terms with how the legal system works according to the current laws in our state.

Can anyone possibly prepare for this situation? The greatest thing that is helping me is my immediate family and my three siblings. The funeral was lovely and the chapel was full of her family, friends and acquaintances. Her favorite color was purple and it could be seen everywhere in the room. She should have lived another twenty years, but it is her time to depart this life. The passing of a loved one is surely one of the greatest challenges in life, but life does go on. My prayer is that we all find peace in the process and move forward together.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss Susan. My condolences to you and your family.

  2. I'm so sorry, Susan. My sincere condolences and prayers for you and your family.

    You cannot prepare well for this situation. Just take it a day or week at a time, work with your family to prepare lists of things to do, follow the lawyer's guidelines, and it will eventually be over.

    You will, I think, look forward to finding her "treasures" and finding a good home for each one of them. I hope that you find many of them so that your memories are overloaded with her goodness and personhood. It's part of the grieving process.

    We knew my mother was going to die soon in early January, and we knew there was a trust, and an attorney. We emptied the house as a family (me and my two siblings, and our spouses and kids), finding homes for everything, or selling or donating them (four generations of stuff). There wasn't really "enough" for an estate sale. We knew that the "pot at the end of the rainbow" was selling the house, so we made that our focus, and it sold fairly quickly and we all appreciated the thrift and wisdom of my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. Through all of this, the three families had no arguments, no disagreements, just a common purpose. We have wonderful memories of finding mom's "treasures" plus things that she probably didn't even know about up in the back of the closet (her parents "treasures").

    Good luck and all the best. Please share some of the treasures you do find on your blog when you can. I'll be reading!

  3. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss and know your mind must be swimming. Stay strong and try to focus on one thing at a time rather than everything all at once, as you said, it is very overwhelming.

    I dealt with the loss of my Dad 2 years ago and found unexpected treasures and information among the "junk" accumulated over the years. I learned new things about his life from friends and relatives. I had no idea what to do first, or next with the many hoops to jump through after someone passes away. When we called Social Security to swap my mom's benefit amount for my dad's higher one I couldn't understand why the lady kept asking about whether my dad had ever worked for the railroad. We insisted he had not, a few months later I discovered his railroad pension card from the summer he worked for the railroad in Pawhuska, OK while in high school.

    Now my mother's Alzheimer disease is advancing and I begin again, but with different issues to deal with. It is a learning experience and one day you will only remember the treasures discovered as you go through this process. The rest will be a dim memory.