Finally a mostly normal week. No crises, no funeral arrangements. Instead, a full slate of work assignments and household tasks. It's amazingly disorienting.
We're not totally finished with unreality, though. I've also had a week-long back-and-forth with the brokerage, that spilled over into a series of discussions with the elderlawyer and the accountant. The brokerage sent me a set of forms and instructions so I can take full control of my father's assets - necessary so I can pay his funeral expenses, the final nursing home bill, and a decent (I hope) sum to E, his old NY home health aide, who earned it. The forms looked strange and the instructions didn't make sense - because, as it turns out, they were completely wrong. I can't roll over the IRA - I need to move it into a new beneficiary IRA account. And I'm not trying to open a trust - I'm trying to terminate a trust, according to the terms of the trust agreement, which the brokerage has but didn't bother to review.
At one point I got so confused - and I hadn't yet heard from any of my professional friends - that I pulled out my own copies of the trust agreement and the will, and sat down at my desk to read them against each other. I spent about 20 minutes doing this - taking detailed notes and also glancing at four or five e-mails - before I looked over at my filing cabinet and realized I'd left the top drawer open. And there was my father, all packed up in his temporary cardboard urn that's wrapped in the green canvas "dignity" bag. It was a moment of complete disconnect. I'd been preoccupied when I opened the drawer and didn't look at the left side of it. And over the course of my desk work I stayed focused on the documents and the brokerage and the expenses and the lawyer, not him. And suddenly, there he was, sitting on top of a few copies of a magazine article I'd once written (he didn't like the fake names I'd used for my sources and was angry I hadn't let him edit it) and next to a vertical file of tax returns. Fortunately the cats were elsewhere and hadn't gone to investigate him yet.
I immediately packed up the will and the trust agreement and closed up the drawer, and reminded myself that we really, really need to get him to the cemetery. It may be that there's something to be said for closure after all.
Barring anything else unforeseen, he and I will make the trip next Wednesday.
I may post before. I'll definitely post during and after.