THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

My Mom, Amie Ajamie is on the far right.

I don’t remember when the activity started. It was definitely after my sister, Lizz went back to Phoenix. She left Friday after Mom died, Monday, December 19, 2016. Wednesday, we drove onto the ferry, heading to Anacortes for an appointment with the funeral director at Evans Funeral Home. Lizz and I had little to say the duration of the ferry ride. We slept on the ride over only speaking when necessary. Our nerves were frayed from the horror and struggle of Mom’s death. Scenes from the past three days vivid in our minds.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

  1. THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

    My Mom with her dog and sister in Yuma, AZ.

    Mary U. came one last time to help me clean and collected all of mom’s stuff out of her bathroom and put it into a box that she stowed away in the closet

  2. After that, I went through mom’s room deep-cleaning
  3. Cleaned out her drawers & clothes closet
  4. Put all her clothing in black landscape bags and took to mom’s old house (Mary helped me put them into my car)
  5. Bob helped me get some big things out, like her bed, we threw away the mattress, left it by the dumpster
  6. Threw her pillows into the dumpster along with area rugs
  7. Put the bedframe out for “free” by the side of the road
  8. Called Lincare to pick up her oxygen supplies (I am still finding parts to the tanks and the keys two years later)
  9. Hid or got rid of all the hospital equipment we had purchased over the 1.5 years mom was with us:
    1. the portable potty I put in mom’s old house
    2. returned the bed rails, the transport chair, and the walker I borrowed from SJ Hospice
    3. put out the hospital bed tray for free by the side of the road
  10. After cleaning I gathered her legal, medical, and social security documents together and called everyone in one day so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it again, but I did have to deal with a few straggling details (I’m still dealing with ownership issues of her home)
  11. I went to my friend’s and unloaded some pretty intimate things about my past
  12. Called the lawyer to help me with legal issues (I am still not done with everything about her estate)

    THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

    One of the many times Mom went into the hospital. She was ordering lunch and… wait for it… ice cream.

  13. I bought a new futon sofa and area rug
  14. Didn’t plan a service right away—I just couldn’t manage to do that so I waited to have her service on her birthday in May. I called St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix and tried to arrange to have a service there, but it became this monolithic chore—too many details, too many parts so I bagged the idea of interring Mom’s remains so far away—too much money even to split.
  15. I did regular things too, like feed, water the animals. Let the dogs and cats out. Fed and watered the birds; oh, and the raccoons
  16. I do remember I taking extra joy with the deer—watching and feeding them
  17. I alienated family members (Lizz, Denielle, and Ashley) by sending everyone a nasty email saying they were no longer welcome at our home
  18. I screamed and yelled at Bob nearly every day
  19. I cried every day, but I can’t remember the tears only the anger, only yelling at Bob
  20. I do remember whenever I drove somewhere crying in the car, just long enough that I wouldn’t be crying when I got out of the car. The drive to town is seven minutes so I spent approximately five minutes crying.
  21. I couldn’t go to church, not until April and then, sporadically.
THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

Mom in bed with Teddy. Fat, fat Teddy. Bob and I inherited him and he’s lost a bunch of weight, with a little left to go. 🙂

It was sixteen months later, in April 2018 when I began to remember memories I’d stuffed away, memories I’d lost immediately after Mom passed away. And it was in November 2018 when I cried because I realized I was getting over her loss. I cried because I wanted to kill off that angry, bitter person I’d become, a person who had become my closest ally. My protector. I didn’t need her anymore. I had begun the dig out of the hole.

So, last week was my mother’s two year anniversary of leaving this earthly plane. My girlfriend calls her two-year birthday in Heaven. I like the sound of that much better than the anniversary of her death. Because we are promised a new life with no sorrow, no pain upon our rebirth in Heaven.

I do remember the dreams right after Mom died. Dreams of her wanting me to dye her hair the colors of the rainbow and “to hurry up!” She wanted to get to the party. She was always heading off to a party in my dreams. Were they dreams? Nah. I don’t think so. They were more like visitations. Is that too far-fetched? Well, if you’d been there with us, getting Mom ready for each event, you might not think so.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

The book for Mom’s service has all of her many amazing works of art. From sculptures to oil paintings, Mom created some masterful pieces which Lizz and I now both share.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD will be the last installment of The Dementia Chronicles. Thank you for your concern and your kindness over these past two difficult years.

4 Comments

  1. Dennis Logan on December 26, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Pretty painful memories Suz. Thanks for sharing. I think about Friday Harbor Trading and my days with your mom often.

  2. Posey Moore Nash on December 27, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    The day after my Mom died I had to work a funeral, as that was my profession….I had to drive by the care home where my mother died , and saw her pillows sticking out of the garbage cans…..I was so angered by the way they couldn’t even bag them before throwing them out… so disrespectful…..

    • Susan Wingate on December 27, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      That’s horrible and must have made you so sad. I had Mom in respite care for a week and I couldn’t stay away. Went over twice a day until I took her home. I hated her being away from me. By then, she had turned into my little ceramic doll. I didn’t want anyone else to have her. I’m sorry about your Mom, Posey. Love you! Sus.

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