From Child to Mom to Caregiver
October 1, 2019...mom had passed away sometime between the time I had left my house and the time I got out to their house that morning and after going through everything with having to tell dad, dealing with the paramedics, the police and the funeral home. Then notifying family members and my family making it out there to the house, it was a whirlwind of a day. My aunt and uncle (Leland and Rita) came up from Boerne and spend most of the day with us, my husband left work and was out there most of the day, Megan came out and Kelsie drove down with Maddie from Waxahachie. Mom and I had planned that after her appointment that morning, the three of us would go by Franklin Park that day so she could "approve" of my choice. I had also planned that when we got back to their house I was going to have her sit down with me and go over where everything was saved on their computer, where her passwords were, what bills were paid when, etc. I didn't get that, I had to figure it out on my own. I didn't even know where their wills were. I searched the filing cabinet and couldn't find them. I searched the desk and couldn't find them.
My aunt found me at one point in my dad's room looking through the filing cabinet and going through things trying to find their wills and she finally sat me down, had me slow down for a minute then asked if they had a safe somewhere. It hit me then that yes, they did and I was able to find what I was looking for. Not only did I find their wills but I found that they both had named me Medical Power of Attorney as well. I then had to go about trying to find out who dad's audiologist was so we could get new hearing aids for him. After a few phone calls that task was successfully completed. Luckily mom wrote down her passwords and kept them close at hand and used the same password for most everything and I knew what it was for the most part already so I was able to access what I needed.
After my husband had left and my aunt and uncle headed home, my daughters and I were there with my dad and they kept him entertained as I worked on figuring out where everything was and what bills my mom had already paid and what needed to be paid. It was also decided that my daughter, Megan, would stay with my dad that night and I would go home so I could go to work the next day. The agency I work for was beginning the Sunset review process and we had our introduction meeting on October 2nd and I was the only person in our department physically in the office at that time so I felt I needed to be there. I let our Chief of Staff know about my mother and that I would be there for the meeting but would appreciate it if no one else was told until after the meeting. She did let our Executive Director know and when he saw me in the office the next morning, he told me he appreciated what I was doing but that I didn't have to stay if I didn't feel up to it. I made it through the day and the meeting and afterwards I let people know what was going on and that I would be in and out of the office until we were able to get my dad situated.
That first evening, dad didn't want me to leave. I told him that I would be back the next day and that his granddaughter who was an Army medic was staying with him and would take good care of him and that she could cook just as well as I could and maybe even better at times 😊 He seemed okay with this as I got in my car and headed home. Later that evening Megan called and he was having a hard time and kept asking about mom. We started telling him that she was in Montana taking care of her brother because it was just easier than having him relive her death over and over again. The length of time he retained the memory of her death varied and we never knew so we let him lead the conversations most of the time. Megan ended up calling the Alzheimer's hotline and they even suggested to use the story about Montana, I believe they called it a therapeutic fib.
I couldn't get out to the house fast enough that evening for Megan, my dad or me. It was a long day but in the end I made it out there and Megan headed home for the night so it was just dad and me. We left the door to mom's room closed, I couldn't bring myself to have that door open and see the spot I found her every time I walked by there. It was hard to go to sleep that night. I was back in my childhood home, my mother had passed away in what used to be my bedroom, my dad told me that I should just sleep in the bed in that room but I said I was fine using the air mattress. We had already reached "Montana Time" so I couldn't tell him why I didn't want to sleep in that room, let alone open the door. It had been a long day at work and it was a long night. I ended up texting a friend for a while just to avoid going to sleep for as long as possible that night.