One of my jobs is “Protector of Critical Documents.” Yes, the job title sounds a tad grandiose, but as documents come to the surface and disappear again, in both of my mom’s homes, not unlike gossamer jelly fish in a swirling current, I have learned the importance of securing these sheaths of paper before they vanish again. Case in point were the 10 death certificates we bought from the county when my father died for the, um, healthy sum of $20 a piece. I placed them in a titled manila folder, which then evaporated through the efficient paper absorbing portal, which surrounds my mother. This happened in April of 2013. I searched both houses thoroughly, went through everything, twice. They were nowhere to be found. Suddenly, 20 months later, there they were in the same folder on her desk in her Island home. How does this happen??
Today I spent 4.5 hours filing many a rescued document, all of mom’s 2014 medical EOBs (from 3 insurance companies, as well as reconciling them to each other), her FSA claims and subsequent reimbursements, a large stack of miscellany, and setting up 2015 files for her.
The most interesting ‘critical document’ I filed was mom and dad’s marriage certificate. From the time I was about a newly minted teenager, my mom told me she and my father were married when I was 8, in 1971. The marriage certificate is clearly and unambiguously dated 1972! I don’t think this is an early cognitive slip on her part. She just misspoke.
It’s been a funny feeling today to realize that for coming on 40 years, my understanding of my parent’s wedding date was incorrect! A little disbelief, nothing earth shattering. It shows we should always expect mystery and intrigue in our family histories, even when innocent and innocuous.