The to-do list is full of tasks that are irrefutably final, yet I’m waiting for it to hit me.
I want to say that I did my crying while she was still alive.
There wasn’t a serious break-down standing in the room with her body. Not saying it was tear-free to tell her mother that she was gone, but full-on break-down? No. And there was plenty of finality to be had in looking at her, touching her.
Picking up her ashes was fine as well. Another item on the list of things that needed to be done. No sense of catastrophe holding the five lb box that is left over when a body is burned at high temperatures.
Resolving her house is next on the list of things to do. Aside from my all-consuming rage at having had someone else touch her stuff, I think I’m probably going to be the most pragmatic of the three of us.
Maybe this is my mother in me. She loved her lists of things to do. I tend not to write them down, but I go over an internal to-do list over and over again. Wrap up the house. Drive home. Get here in time to do one more week at work. And then a complete blank. I have no idea what comes after that, but once it was clear that Mom was terminal, the list materialized: See her through her passing. Arrange to have her body cremated so we could separate the immediacy of the physical decay from the time we need to make the memorial happen. Spend Christmas somewhere else. Pick up her ashes and the pile of death certificates. Welcome 2015.
Done, done, done, done, done.
The house, the drive, making it home for one more week of work, and then …
Mom died when she got to the end of her to-do list. I don’t think it will be so dramatic for me. But it occurs to me that I should watch out. Once all the contingencies are taken care of, once the list is clear, then what?