As much as I would like to be, I am not my father. He was the type of person that you didn’t really notice until he wasn’t there. He sat quietly in the background and made us all feel safe and protected. After he passed away, I was defaulted into his role.
My mother was the most vulnerable I have ever seen her when my father passed away. There were some who would take advantage of her and did. Not seriously, but enough to get a few things that my mom had already given to someone else. After being an emotional gate-keeper for me for over a decade, it was time for me to return the favor. My younger sister and I banded together and screened phone calls, visitors and requests. I know that no one meant to take advantage of my mother, but it happened none-the-less.
Show Me the Money
Because I had already been handling the finances for a month when my father died, I was asked to continue to do so. It was more of a challenge than I was expecting. My father was not fabulous with money, but he made everything work. Mostly.
It took me four months to untangle my parents finances. There were a lot of things we didn’t know about until we cancelled my father’s cards and we started getting notices of unpaid accounts. There were subscriptions to news, gadgets, and other things that would have been important (or appealed) to my dad. Some were bills that we hadn’t realized we had.
We took a huge drop in income after my father’s death. About $2,500. I was responsible to go through the finances and find where we could cut expenses. A lower grocery bill, lower utilities, fewer prescriptions and medical bills cut about $1,000 from our budget. We then dropped a cell phone, cancelled several subscriptions, dropped our mortgage payment by $200 and eliminated anything we could live without. I was able to eliminate $1,900 from our expenses. The last $600 was just not possible.
We could live for five more months on what we had. If we could rent the in-law apartment we could stay at the house.
Too Much To Do
I also was taking care of my own finances, my tween daughter, as much of our huge house as I possibly could, errands, groceries and home supplies. I also ended up doing half the driving for my mother’s doctor appointments and some of the yard work that was supposed to be my sister’s responsibility.
I’m not my dad, but I suddenly felt like I had shouldered his job. It wasn’t done on purpose. It just happened because I was there and I knew how to function even when I shouldn’t have been able to. This is when the panic attacks started again.
I miss my daddy so much….But I didn’t have time to grieve.