In the month since my mother passed away, parts of me have been on autopilot. I have been handling my grief by staying busy. I helped execute my mother’s will, spent time with my father, got the kids to school and even managed to write.
Too often, however, I find myself slipping into more menial tasks, including scrolling through Facebook feeds. Unfortunately, that’s not particularly comforting given the nature of the political news out there.
We all grieve differently and it is hard work. I am grateful that I appear to have found something that’s helped me manage things and kept me functioning, though I’m not entirely sure if I’m doing all that I should. But then, I’m not sure if I can ever know.
It’s just hard to think, sometimes, when you’re grieving and any support that can help you get things done during this period is worth its weight in gold.
A month ago, I talked about how grateful I was to the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre for helping my mother pass her last days at home. I am grateful that the bulk of the service was covered by OHIP.
It was a tremendous gift of dignity and support, without which a lot of lives would have been much worse off.
Following my mother’s passing, I’ve been grateful for the services provided by Henry Walser, who runs the funeral home that bears his name. From what I’ve heard, the funeral homes in this region have moved forward with compassion and tact to deal with needs that people do not like to talk about.
There is so much to do during a funeral and after a funeral, precisely when many people are not equipped to deal with it, and Walser’s people tackled all of it. They met with us, talked with us, handled the arrangements, and took a big weight off our shoulders.
My parents had also helped, by planning ahead, purchasing their memorial plot in advance. Again, this is not something we like to think about but it’s better to think about it when you are alive and healthy than after the fact.
But I was particularly impressed by what happened after the funeral, when one of Walser’s people sat us down and gave us a checklist of things to deal with, including notifying the managers of private pensions as well as Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, banks, real estate lawyers, things you would not think about.
Death brings about a lot of paperwork, which is hard to tackle in a daze. But again, funeral directors in this region have seen the need and have worked to answer it.
This doesn’t blunt the grief; I suspect only time can do that. But it does remove a lot of stress from a time that’s already full of stress. I am grateful and impressed.
These funeral homes are private enterprises, but the services they provide to the community are no less valuable during these hard times.
I had not had much cause to think about this until it happened. This, I suspect, is a normal reaction; we do not like considering our own mortality.
Fortunately, my parents did their part. They wrote wills, expressed their preferences for their funerals, and made financial arrangements that covered the cost of the funeral services.
Just as we should plan for our retirement as early as possible, a little time spent to plan for what comes after will save a lot of stress during this time of grief.