As executrix of my Mom's 'estate' I'v.e been sitting on a scant handful of papers since her death, waiting for all the bills to finalize and the life insurance policy to pay out.
Fortunately for me, my name is on her checking account (those of you with old people: Get. This. Done.). That didn't stop them from shutting off all ATM access to the account when she died: All further transactions must be done in person until I close the account, meaning I must be able to show up on a Saturday morning before noon to get anything done. I can still write checks.
Her NYSEG (power) bill has a credit of nearly $200. Billing questions (such as, "When will we see a refund?") can only be discussed M-F during business hours. Funny, that's when I'm working.
Her nursing home has a bank, in which I deposited $100 for her cable and for the traveling hairdresser. I'm pretty sure she never had her hair done, and the cable for two months would have been $10. I have to turn up at the 'bank' between 10 and noon, or 1 - 4 PM to get the money back. Um, again, I have this job thing that eats up most of my free time. I've left messages.
Her nursing home bill for the first 20 days she was there is $16,403.20. I haven't received the bill for the last 10 days as that was a separate month, but all things being equal that would bring the total to $24,604.40. She was living on a Social Security check that was just under twice the poverty line (seriously, that got her some benefits - heat assistance, some food stamps and it got her Medicare supplemental insurance paid for. I got very nervous every time there was a COLA for fear it would throw her a dollar over and she'd lose about $300/month). Because of her income and lack of assets she immediately qualified for Medicaid, so we are, thankfully, not responsible for the monster bill. The estate's total payout to the nursing home will be $1532. I wrote that check this morning.
She had a life insurance policy, thankfully, and it covered the funeral she desired completely, with a little change left over. I paid the last couple of premiums after she went into the nursing home to keep it going.
If I'm adding correctly and no other weirdness ensues, my brothers and I will inherit just over $1000, "share and share alike" as the will instructs. I'll give it another month to finalize.
But when it comes down to it, none of this is what we've inherited from our Mom.
We are, each of us, her children. Each of us has her grey eyes (not the Paul Newman blue that Dad could have passed on!). Each of us has her wicked sense of the absurd, the ability to see the funny in the most solemn of occasions (Seriously. Ask the funeral director if she has EVER had as much fun planning a funeral as she did with us); her sense of right and wrong (and her ability to ignore it); and her deeply ingrained knowledge that life is a competition: You are in it to win it, so give it all you have whether it's college, a game of chess, or participating in the conversation at dinner even when you can't quite recall what it's actually about.
I miss her. Every single day.