Now that I’m not commuting to the Island on a regular basis I find that I’m going through ‘things,’ and catching up on projects (put together an Adirondack chair today whose parts I painted two years ago). One project of note is filing the contents of two small (thank God) bins. The first was a collection of topical data relating to my landscape design business. That was easy. The second bin, labeled “Personal Deep Filing to be Done Someday,” surprised the snot out of me (it is Spring! 😂)
This bin had items in it reaching back to 2012. The wide range of items in this bin, upon reflection, made me realize I just kind of dropped my MO the year my former husband passed away. Included in this file-pile were:
- As far as I can tell, all of the cards my former husband and I received at our wedding. I have zero memory of placing them in the file bin. When sharing this with my daughter Friday night, she asked what year the file-pile went back to, and then suggested I’d brought the cards back with me after her dad died. That’s as good an explanation as I can come up with. Two things of note that came from looking at all the sweet cards were: 1) The English (my former husband was a Brit) send cards for every occasion, even if you sneeze. This does not preclude telegrams. Friends who lived 20 miles away, and were in the wedding party, sent us a telegram the day of our wedding! 2) There was a note from Jane, the first she ever wrote me. Rereading the correspondence, from just over 35 years ago, was confirmation that she, dementia aside, hasn’t really changed at all. For everything she tried to offer, or explain in writing, there was a qualification or excuse, right down to how she signed her note, because she didn’t know what I wanted to call her.
- About 60-70 saved cards from friends and family for holidays and birthdays. This solved a little mystery for me… I have a scrapbook album for cards that my husband and I give to each other. The last time I updated it, there were four or five years missing. I found them today.
- Two 1099 statements from our brokerage. Tax years 2011, and 2012, meaning they were relevant in 2012 and 2013. Fortunately, they only show IRA rollover activity (meaning there aren’t any tax return consequences), but WTF?
- An expected collection of crafting and gardening magazines, and saved articles, which is what I thought the entire bin was full of. Not.
- A mixed media arts book that looks like it’s worth reading…
- Old band business cards and a DVD we made for marketing. I have a file for that, and know exactly where it is.
- A card from mom thanking me for doing four years of her and dad’s back-tax returns, written as though dad was alive. She signed it from both of them as well.
- Lots of miscellaneous keepsakes from 2012-2015.
I filed about half the contents of the bin, threw out about a quarter of it, and placed the rest in my usually reasonably-sized active file pile.
Finding this chaotic bin really perplexed me. Gardening over the weekend helped sort it out. My former husband became ill and passed in a very short time-frame. During this time my dad was also heading downhill, though we didn’t know just how steep a slope dad was on. He passed a mere seven months after my former husband. Losing my children’s’ father was devastating. Yes personally, but more-so that my girls lost their father. Their anguish broke my heart. And then my dad died, and then my mom, literally, lost her mind. Seven months after dad died, mom spent 18-months in a delusional state thinking dad was still around, but non-responsive when I actually pressed her to put him on the phone. All of this happened from February 2012 to April 2014. It’s no fucking wonder there’s a filing-bin of items that have nothing to do with each other.
Meanwhile, mom’s illness continued to express itself, requiring me to step-up in ever longer strides, hence the reclamation of most of my filing skills. Now that I am her property manager and am fiduciarily responsible for all things “Mom,” I do not have the luxury of being overwhelmed and tossing everything into a box.