My mom died two years ago this month. It’s hard to take in and easy to believe at the same time. The main reason her death feels distant, oddly enough, is because it’s been a long time – months – since I’ve had to deal with any of the stressful paperwork related to her estate. It’s been more than a year since I finished the gruelling and mundane work of emptying and selling my mom’s house. The post office notified me that my second year of mail-forwarding from her old address to mine was about to expire, and I realized I hadn’t received any mail in her name for months, and even the junk mail had all but stopped.
So, two years? Yep, that makes sense. So many elements of her life and her death still feel so immediate to me, as if no time has passed, but that paperwork issue? Can’t argue with that. Time. Has. Passed. Closure by tax year. Closure, courtesy of the IRS and Canada Revenue form letters confirming receipt of the final returns. Closure as I shut down the bank account used to pay estate bills and put the paperwork in a box in my basement.
This has required an adjustment in my self-definition. First I was “recently bereaved” (which society only gives you so much time to be on any kind of public level) and then I was “dealing with the estate.” And now, I’m not. That’s over. Time to move on.
I'm relieved to be done (and if you're going through this and need to gripe, I'm here to listen) but I also realize that I felt close to my mom while I was emptying her house and doing paperwork. It was comforting to see her handwriting on file folders and lists. Administering her estate felt like one last service I could do for her, one final connection.
There’s countless other layers to unpack of course. But this is the one that strikes me now.