Dizzy Days

There are days when my head swims, even now, about 6 weeks after Dad’s death.  And I’ve stopped traveling so much on the road to take care of things — though I am calling and following through with some matters.  That’s what does it — the business, the phone calls, the frustration of lack of contact, of responses that are prompt.

I’ve not contacted his former employer regarding his life insurance in over a week now, but I will probably call today since I know they’ve received what I overnighted to them last week.  Maybe I can at least find out something regarding the amount of insurance, or at least get some actual confirmation that he DOES have this benefit.  I have the paperwork to support that.  But their records (from Dad and others who retired from Oryx, as Sun Oil had become by 1982) are on microfilm.  The company is now Anadarko.  It’s interesting that they immediately halted his pension checks, but can’t get the records for the same individual for insurance/benefits.  Isn’t a pension a benefit?  You can tell I am tired.  I no longer call as often.  Maybe that is what they want?

And then there’s this tiny matter of mineral rights that my mother owned — she’d sold the bit of family property while retaining the mineral rights.  At one time, she had nearly $100/month from this, but now the income has been barely $115.  A year, not a month.  Dad has had usufruct of this income since she died in 1993.  I called and called and called the company that disburses these payments.  No real person ever answered.  No phone message could actually be left, even with the so-called phone message service, since it simply looped back to the message itself and never led the caller TO an actual voice mail box.  I told my attorney about it while I was seeing him about other matters, and he suggested a letter, and also gave me copies of the successions I’d need.  He knows me well and said he felt sure I could write “a nice letter.” That phrase was said with a grin, implying he knew what “nice” would be.

Nice and sharp.  The letter, so acidic it bites, lies on my desk.  I’ll mail it today with the papers he gave me.  We’ll see what response THIS gets.

I’ve cancelled the telephone.  I’ve cancelled the television service (dish required).  Though I mentioned that the television cancellation was because of his death, the service person to whom I spoke failed to tell me that there would be an early termination fee.  Nor was it mentioned that this fee could be waived with a copy of the death certificate.  My sister just found that out when talking to a co-worker today.

Waiting for paperwork is, I think, like Waiting for Godot:  an exercise in existentialism.

The payment for the funeral — from an annuity — hasn’t been received yet by the funeral home, which means that Kay and I haven’t received that money either.

Yet his investment annuity account was dealt with quickly and easily, and we had our money deposited within a week.

It’s frustrating, and I am tired.  And dizzy.  My mind can’t seem to focus anymore, and I laugh about it at times, saying I clearly have two syndromes (related, I’m sure): CRS (can’t remember shit) and SFB (shit for brains).  At other times, I am sharp and bitchy, especially with Kay.  I apologize to her, but no one else is in our situation with us, and she manages to be the target simply because she asks questions and because I have no real outlet.  So I lash out.  And am sorry.  And apologize.

It’s time to get away, clearly.

Taking care of Dad’s business has pulled me up sharply about my own business affairs.  I now have a list for Kay of what I have, where it can be found.  I had a new will drafted last week.  Yet probably I’ve forgotten something, even with all the attention I’ve brought to bear on everything.  Everything I can remember, that is. I’ve tried to simplify my financial life nevertheless.

Just at the times when the family needs downtime, this hasn’t been possible, at least for me.  I know I’ve been pushing myself because I’m leaving tomorrow for Greece.  Despite everything, despite all the problems, I’m actually pretty satisfied with what Kay and I have managed to accomplish.  It’s just frustrating and tiring.

We’re edgy now.  With ourselves. With each other.  Even with love and tact, that edginess comes out.  Even with our focus on the future, on our new beach house in Crystal Beach near Galveston a reality (contract signed, dirt work done), we get mired down in the grind of post-death details.

I’ve got no real reserves left, of energy or tact, or anything.  I find myself exhausted by the thoughts of what needs to be done.  Exhausted and brought to tears.

Perhaps I’ve expected to get too much done too quickly.  And just when I manage to get myself to expect less, Kay innocently wants something done I can’t manage, and I go ballistic all over again.

So yes, it is time for me to leave.  To escape.  To breathe, to let go, to rediscover myself and recover my reserves.

My own house needs so much work — and part of my frustration stems from that failure.  My front porch has a soft place, from some support failure.  In The-House-That-Jack-Built pattern of my life, that problem has led to the brick column (non-supportive) separating from the porch, in turn pulling the decorative brick wall apart with a clear fissure that reminds me of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.”  Will a thunderstorm (a reality likely to occur often) pull down my house?  No, of course not.  But in dark times, I see that.

When I look at my house, I see what isn’t done.  The living room needs sheet rocking.  The kitchen does too, and it needs new flooring.  My bedroom still has a small area of the ceiling sheetrock that needs to be repaired.  The bathroom needs a new ceiling too.  And I need new flooring in the sunroom and maybe the laundry room.  Oh,  and a window sill needs replacing.  I need new ceiling fans in my bedroom, the front bedroom/office, and the kitchen. The house still hasn’t been painted either.

But that will all be awaiting me in September, when I return.  Kay very generously volunteered to follow through with porch repair, which is most worrisome to me now.  The repairman I’ve been in contact with hasn’t called back.  The story of my life lately?

Yet I dream of my house repaired, in order, clean and organized — for me, anyway.  And filled with laughter and friends again.

Dizzy days indeed.  Yet my frazzled state hasn’t really contained any emotional breakdowns over grieving Dad’s death.  Not directly.  Or maybe it has actually been my grieving mechanism?  I know there have been a few moments when I break into tears over Dad.  Frankly, though, I’ve been more relieved about it than anything — relieved that he is out of pain, no longer suffering. In many ways I felt as though I saw him disappearing for a long time.  Perhaps I grieved every day and by the last days, was too tired for meltdowns or tear storms.

Maybe those will come but I truly don’t think so.

I am almost packed.  My major suitcase is really done.  I just need to straighten it out, put a few more toiletries in, and my jewelry tools and some supplies.

Because I will be in Greece until September 10, I want to take time for my jewelry.  I’ve got time again to play, to create.  So I’m bringing some beads and jewels and wire.

I will have time to write, too, which is really wonderful.  The blog’s been perfect, and brought me joy and expression.  And back to life, really.  But I have other manuscripts which have languished in draft form, and I can now get back to them.

Mainly, I will breathe.  And be.

Time for dizziness.  For stillness.  For mornings on my balcony with a cup of tea and a book.  For coffee with friends.

For breathing.  For life.

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