The list came together one afternoon about a week after my dad’s funeral, when my mother, sister and I gathered for tea and brainstorming.
We were all missing Dad, but he had passed at 90 after a year of increasing weakness and difficulty. He had died with his family at hand after many had been able to say goodbye.
Seeing loved ones leave is never easy but his hadn’t been unexpected.
Now we needed to gather ourselves.
“The funeral home took care of some things,” Mom said. “The obituary is done and we own two burial plots now.”
It had been easier to purchase two when we bought Dad’s.
“We need to send out thank you notes,” my sister said. We spent some time compiling a list, going through the cards that had come in.
“Why don’t you do the ones you know and I’ll do the ones I know?” I suggested. “Mom, you get the rest.”
She smiled. “I guess that will work.” As it turned out, that was closer to equal for us than I had guessed.
“We need a thank you note in the paper,” my sister said.
Mom wanted the recording of Dad’s funeral digitized so she could have it on a CD.
“We need to check with Medicare and Social Security,” I added. “I don’t know what needs to be done there.”
As it turned out, the funeral home took care of that.
Mom had to change the registration on their car to her name and cancel Dad’s Medicare gap insurance. So that went on the list.
“What about the bank?” Mom asked. “Do I have enough money to live on until we get things sorted out?”
We called the bank. The beauty of a revocable trust such as my parents had is that the checking account was in the trust name. All Mom needed to do was take a copy of the death certificate in to verify Dad’s passing. She had immediate access to her funds.
“I want a memorial fund,” Mom said. “For the money that was donated. Something in Dad’s name.”
I was amazed how quickly we had moved from the must-do list – things like bank accounts an insurance – to the “in memory” list.
“How about a headstone?” my sister added. That went on the list.
Before the afternoon was over, we had about 15 things to do. Most of them were checked off quickly.
It was a good thing, too, because within five weeks of that tea party, Mom was hospitalized with a stroke.
Without the list, there would have been a lot of things overlooked.
I’m not always big on lists but I’m very glad we made that one.