My parents were so proud of their home. Dad had done so much work on this old house. When he passed away in 1999 my Mom tried to keep up with the house. My older brother tried to keep the lawn the way Dad had always kept it. Unfortunately Mike was not a gardener and it never looked as good as when Dad was doing it. I tried to help as much as I could with the indoor maintenance since I was mechanically inclined. This house has changed in the last couple of weeks. The home where I took care of my Mom and tried to take care of my brother has turned from a home into just a house.
It was Mom who wanted to leave California and move back to Indiana where her family was. Dad went along since he would be able to carry on his genealogy studies back here. Mom fell in love with the house. Dad sighed and realized how much was going to have to be done to make it truly livable. He had a ball painting, building, wall papering, etc. This house was a handyman’s dream and Dad made it a dream home.
The problem with the house though is that I can only associate it with death now. Dad was planting a bush in the front yard and keeled over and was dead of a heart attack before he hit the ground. Mom died in her sleep in their bedroom. Mike fell and took the blow to the head that would turn out to be fatal in the upstairs bathroom. What has really soured the house for me is the indifference of this small minded town. When Mom died 98% of the cards were addressed only to my brother. When Mike died I received no cards, calls, or anything from anyone with a couple exceptions. My friends Suzette and Lou have gone out to dinner with me. They gave me an angel statue for Mike. The Knights of Columbus are looking after things because of Mike not me. Only our handyman has truly been there just for me.
I have spent two weeks manically cleaning out this house. I have gone through Dad, Mike, and Mom’s things. I kept only what I could put in my small place. I have had to throw away two trailer’s full of stuff. All three were pack rats. I am selling everything I can to pay for the maintenance on the house until I get it sold. I will have the house up for sale by mid-October.
Anger has fueled my cleaning. Anger at the people who knew Mike was in a bad way but couldn’t be bothered to let me know because they were suckering him to give them money for their business ventures that should have gone to his daughter. They knew I would be up here and would get this house ready to sell and him down to North Carolina with his daughter and grandchildren. I am angry at Mike for lying to me and not letting me know he was hurting and needed me up here. I would have been here in a flash. I am angry that I didn’t pick up on the signals and come up and check on him. My head knows I could not have saved him but my heart doesn’t want to listen.
The anger is part of what care giving is about. You work so hard to care for someone and then they die on you. You ask yourself what else you could have done differently because they were supposed to get well or stay alive longer. Your head may know different but your heart does not want to listen.
I hope by the end of the week to be able to go back home to North Carolina for a couple or three weeks. I know I need to make more trips up here. I have to wait 45 days from Mike’s death to get the paperwork that will let me take care of his financial affairs. I still need the death certificate before I can do anything. I will have to make trips up here for the selling of the house. I know Mom, Dad, and Mike are buried here but as one of my younger brother’s said when this house is sold we never want to see this town again. I’ll keep Mom, Dad, and my older brother in my heart. This house is no longer a home.
5:05 PM PT: I'm really angry now. Apparently the county is investigating Mike's death. They have questions on why he fell. His Doctor has a lousy reputation. The medicine bottle I found among his things was for epilepsy which he didn't have. Plus he had told the Doctors at the hospital that he had new blood pressure medicine that he would take at night and would have trouble falling in the morning. It is beginning to look like medical malpractice is suspected.