20 January 2007

Details, Details

I've finally finished everything I needed to do for my mother's funeral on Monday. The last thing was to submit her obituary to the local newspaper. They'd run a death notice already, with minimal information; this was the actual obituary, written by me, with more details of her life and family, etc. I had to submit this before noon on Friday to have it run on Saturday. I also had it run on Sunday.

Then I had to finish getting my house ready for company. We'd been planning to go back to Palm Desert in October when she was diagnosed with cancer in August. We put our plans on hold immediately and bought some winter clothes, but we'd been packing things up to go south and now we had summer clothes to add. I'd also been buying yarn and turning it into scarves, because knitting was such a comfort to me as I sat by her bed every day. Plus I'd been hitting Amazon kind of hard, what with buying John Ringo and David Drake books, as well as some werewolf books (no, I don't really believe in werewolves, but escapist literature has its place) and Overstock.com had offered several items that were just perfect for the new house. So I had a dining room and living room full of stuff. My friend Pat and I spend three days scurrying around, picking up the house for company.

My cousin and his wife, from New Jersey, got here about 4:00 pm, after checking into their hotel. We had a lovely visit, with dinner from Black Angus to-go, and they left about 8:00 pm, an hour and a half ago. It's really wonderful to have them here, as they are easy to get along with and tremendous support. He's going to be a pallbearer and give the eulogy. They'll both be here through Tuesday and then he goes back to work and she'll stay for the rest of the week. She'll go down to Joshua Tree to see her mom and sister for a couple of days and then fly home.

My other nearby cousin, his sister, and her husband will come up from Yucca Valley tomorrow (Sunday). We'll all have dinner together Sunday night, which should be really nice. My cousin's husband is going to play the organ for the service and be a pallbearer. They'll go back Monday as they both have to teach the next day.

Those two cousins are from my mom's side of the family. Their father is her oldest brother, about two years younger than her. I have two more cousins, with spouses, from my father's side who are going to come. One lives in Clovis, up in the CA Central Valley, and the other lives in Utah. The CA cousin and his wife will be joined by two of their (six) sons, who are in Los Angeles this weekend for a gift show. These two sons are pharmacists, as was their father before he retired, and live up near Fresno, where they have a small chain of pharmacies.

I have a lot more cousins than that, since my father was the youngest of ten and my mother the oldest of seven, but a lot of them live in Utah and Colorado and are concerned about the weather for driving. I told everyone, quite firmly, that my mother, who was a very practical and pragmatic woman, wouldn't have wanted them taking too big a risk to be there and they were to decide accordingly. The cousins younger than me have jobs to consider and the ones older than me worry more about the road conditions, so I don't think they'll come.

However, I expect the turnout to be fairly high, as people from both her volunteer organizations are going to be there. She had volunteered over 15,000 hours to the hospital auxiliary and knew pretty much everyone. Ditto the Friends of the Library. This is part of the reason the interment is going to be on Tuesday. Our weather has been pretty cold for us and I really didn't want to drag all the volunteers out into it, since so many of them are older women. As I've told people, I don't want to be known as the woman who single-handedly wiped out the two biggest volunteer groups in town.

Oops, I just realized that I've left one thing undone. I forgot to order cards announcing her death to mail to everyone non-local who won't hear about it otherwise. Fortunately, I've got her address book and all the Xmas cards people sent, so I'll know who to send these to. I've got a lot of thank you notes to write, too, so I'll have to order correspondence cards as well. I'll get these ordered next week, while my cousin's wife is still here to go with me. The announcements don't have to go out immediately, of course.

We've got an appointment with a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts and estates and stuff on Wednesday. We'd made the appointment to set up our own trust and get new wills, and I'm going to have them handle her estate for me. We're probably going to go down to Palm Desert for a few months and when we return I'll deal with emptying out her house and getting it put on the market. I'm not looking forward to that at all, but she had gone through and cleared out a lot of stuff when my father died, which should make things easier. I told you she was practical.

I miss her dreadfully.

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