Sunday, February 8, 2015

Post 2874 - Hello Again

Hi, guys.

Did you miss me?

I missed you. I really did. In a moment I will give a broad-strokes overview of why I was on hiatus for the last few weeks. It is nothing new, but perhaps you have forgotten why this had to happen.

As you know, my mother died on January 14th. It was a very sudden thing. I was speaking to her at 8:30pm on Wednesday night. I called my sister, who called Mom. Then, my sister called me, and I decided to call my mother a second time, around 8:45. There was no pick up. I called back a couple more times, to no avail. Shortly after 9pm, the retirement facility where she was living called to inform me that they were unable to find a pulse. I authorized them to do whatever they had to do, but by 9:20 they informed me that she was gone. In all truth, she probably died moments after she got off the phone with my sister, before I called her back the second time.

On the 15th, we drove to the Valley and had the meeting with the funeral home. Even though the funeral was hardly ornate, it still cost $10 000. I ended up paying nearly half of that cost, while my 2 sisters paid the other half. Yeah. I know. Don't get me started.

Also, kindly do not get me started on the fact that my mother's funeral was postponed until January 25th, 11 days after her passing. The same sister who insisted on only paying 25% of the cost of the funeral decided not to postpone her family's Florida vacation, which had been booked months before. And the second sister agreed with the first one. I was outvoted. Wrassum frassum.

Thirdly, do not get me started on how I am stuck paying off my mother's line of credit, her one debt. She purchased two new hearing aids about a year ago, maybe less; and those hearing aids cannot be re-deployed to someone else. They are custom made. They cannot be cashed in for any amount coming within a country kilometre of the cost of the damn things. They can be broken down to their constituent parts by the company that produced them. The boxes of batteries that Mom bought last year can be redeemed for more money than the actual hearing aids can. Sigh. So, Monday I will have to go downtown during my lunch hour and get a bank draft for the exact payout amount of the line of credit. Tuesday morning I will be half an hour or so late for work so that I can pay off the line of credit at another financial institution. This must be paid in person, in an office, behind closed doors.

On the Monday following her death, the 19th I guess it was, I saw my doctor, who agreed to sign me off work for a couple of extra weeks. Due to the circumstances of her death, and the surrounding maelstrom of controversy and b.s., I figured I would be in no condition to return to work following my "entitled" bereavement leave. My doctor, who is about as compassionate as the child of a forensic accountant and a bank manager, went along with it, which surprised us both.

The first week following the funeral consisted of me sitting around the house, enduring one storm after another, unable to go out very much or very far, or even wanting to. I spent the first Thursday, the 29th, in downtown Halifax running between financial institutions dealing with my mother's estate issues and lining up the cash to cover the bills I listed in previous paragraphs.

The second week, I was mostly in the Valley. On February 2nd, I paid off my engorged share of the funeral expenses. It was Groundhog Day, so I am grateful that I only had to pay it once. I paid off the snowplow guy who has been cleaning out the driveway down there, and picked up one last piece of mail addressed to my mother (the current issue of Frank magazine was mailed to her, and the receptionist at the Shannex offered it to me).

On the 3rd, there was another snowstorm there, so I had to pay more money to Craig.

Wednesday the 4th I ended up using a scanner to produce a bunch of pictures for my other sister. They were emailed to someone in BC, and to someone in Newfoundland.

On the 5th, I returned to the city, a day or so earlier than I had planned to. There were too many memories in the house. The walls were closing in on me. And I wanted to see Patricia again. And she was sick, and needed a bit of help anyway.

I didn't miss the city that much during the days I was away.The weather was horrendous here last week. Tuesday evening it took Patricia 5 hours to get home. The bus schedules in Halifax were, to be charitable, not exactly accurate. At least one bus simply wasn't running, and it was a bus she needed to get home. Finally, around 9:30, and hours after I had begun to worry, she got home, and she has been sick ever since. Whenever I hear people wonder why more folks don't use the bus, I look at the unreliability of Metro Transit Halifax Transit, and how many folks hate sharing a ride with 70 other people, how those folks hate being on a mobile Petri dish, and I wonder why people would want to take the bus at all.

So, anyway, I promised to tell you why the blog was on hiatus for 3 weeks and change. It is my policy not to produce a blog post on days when I am sick, or medical leave, or family illness day. Weekends and vacations are fine. I will still write then. I think it is fine to publish on the Sunday before I return to work, for instance. But I was on medical and bereavement leave for 3 weeks. How would it look for me to be writing on those days?

A few years ago, when my mother had life-threatening surgery at the age of 79, I was off work for about 2 weeks to be with her.  I continued to write every day, to tweet, to update my Facebook. When I got back, I had a very special meeting with my boss, who cautioned me against doing what I had done. I was told that it would be a very good idea, for my own protection, to maintain a low profile. For the sake of perception if nothing else.

I learned my... lesson, I guess you can call it. Ever since then, when I am off work for any of the reasons I listed two paragraphs ago, I keep as low a profile as I can. I may ache to write something, but I won't. I shouldn't. I... can't, for all intents and purposes.

(In case you were wondering, yes, that goes as far as my writing for Frank Magazine. You will not see anything from me in the current issue, the one hitting the streets this week. That is not a coincidence. I pretty much had to sit out this issue, or at least I felt I had to. I hope you understand.)

The bottom line is, now that I am back to work, I am back to Blogging. And I hope that I do not have to miss any days of writing for a very long time. I have missed sitting down every night and producing some content. It is therapeutic for me. It is something I feel that I must do, and to have been unable to do it for the last few weeks during one of the most vulnerable periods of my life is something that caused me more harm than good.

I missed you guys.

I will see you tomorrow.

(And it feels great to be able to state that!)


No comments: