Corresponding with the Dead II
Mom has now, in four days, sent a total of six e-mails to her late author, Tom. Tom’s partner suggested I get in touch with the professor who replaced Tom at the university in Idaho, and ask her if she would send mom a note letting her know Tom had passed. Mom would never question that any e-mail to Tom would be delivered to his successor. This would keep her from knowing I have a certain amount of understanding of what goes on in her electronic life, for her own protection. This would also serve to continue with my mission of preserving her dignity.
I sent an e-mail to Tom’s successor. It bounced :-(. I used the university’s e-mail vernacular to come up with her e-mail address. I could be wrong in my assumption of their e-mail naming protocol, and/or she may not be there any longer. A phone call or website excavation will solve this mystery, if needed.
Late this afternoon mom e-mailed me to say she got a ‘return to sender’ e-mail when trying to send a note to an old colleague/friend and she thought it might have something to do with a document she attached to her outgoing e-mail. She asked me what I thought. I wrote back asking if she could forward the ‘return to sender’ e-mail. This is the opening I need to talk to her about Tom’s passing. Whether she writes back or not, I’ll call in the morning. I can ask about the ‘return to sender’ message, who she was trying to reach etc.
While it closes the loop, so to speak, I am sadder than I’ve ever been in regards to her decline, as this will surely be a sign she cannot ignore that something is really wrong. I won’t be there (at her Island home) to hold her hand, hold her, when she asks me, “Am I losing my mind?” “What’s wrong with me?” To let her bounce e-mails off a deceased friend’s address will only heighten her agitation, which is already on the uptick. I’m going to call a near neighbor of mom’s, who has a lot of elder/dementia care experience, and ask if she can stop in, seemingly spontaneously, when I give her the signal.