What now?

I am okay. I am relieved. Since January, mom basically wanted just a few things and she got to do them. She saw my grandmother’s 80th birthday party. She got to see her second grandson. She out-raised by far everyone else in the Bellingham Walk to Defeat ALS. SHe is no longer in pain, though her pain was never severe like a cancer patient’s can be.

I miss her, and will miss her. And I will have emotional breakdowns on occasion. I know this from previous experience. I am far more content than when Matt died though.

A vigil will be held Sunday night at St. Joseph’s Church in Lynden. The funeral will be Monday at 11 am, followed by a burial a half mile away from mom’s house, and then a reception back at the church. My friends are welcome to come even if you didn’t know mom, though by no means will I be disappointed if no one does. I don’t need support there, but I will need to decompress afterward. I am extremely uncomfortable with people expressing condolences to me, which will happen in spades at the services.

I’ll write this now. Feel free to give me a hug. I know some folks are concerned about me. I need the hugs. I need people. However, I am not ready to talk about mom’s death. Period. Or really about my mom or her illness at all at the moment. If I want to talk about it, I’ll bring it up. If you see me crying in a corner (or not in a corner), give me a hug, sit with me, hold my hand, provide hookers and blow, but please please please don’t ask me to tell you what’s wrong.

I am the executor for mom’s will. For the most part that will be pretty simple. It goes to dad. But I need to close up some accounts, deal with some investments, and help distribute personal items that my mom wanted people to get. I will also have to do some things to help dad get set up independently. Things like signing him up for Medicare, maybe teaching him some basic cooking, etc. None of this will I start really until next week though.

I will move back to Seattle full time some time in November. I expect to be there every weekend from now on. I’m not sure what I will do once I have moved back. Things I have considered: working at Barnes and Noble or another bookstore, restarting my plans to open a bookstore, buying an unlimited Greyhound travel ticket and hosteling around the U.S., going back to work in software, taking an ALS patient advocate position, running for city council.

Jason came back up here today and has been shepherding me. I don’t have any required things to do until Sunday.

I plan to be in Seattle Saturday night. I will be out dancing at the Noc Noc. I need some normalcy. I need loud stompy music to calm my mind.

20 thoughts on “What now?”

  1. Hey, Phil. Thanks for sharing all of this with us, from the very start. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for you (and all of this mooshy crap too … um …). I feel like I know so much more about how to be a good person and do the right thing and like you’ve helped me understand how to handle something like this if it comes to be my lot.

    I am sorry I can’t go to the service as I would very much like to be there. Can I send flowers or make a donation to ALS in your mom’s name?

    And I am also sorry I can’t be there to help support you as you have really needed someone to help watch your back. I have thought about you lots since I’ve moved and wished I could be there for you. You are, and have been, in my thoughts.

  2. What time are you getting to Seattle on Saturday? I want to come up on Sunday, but I just don’t think it will be in my cards. It’s my only day off and I have lots of work to catch up on. Are you having brunch here before you leave? I will give you lots of hugs!

  3. Thank you for letting us in, and keeping us up on where you are at, in all senses of that.

    I look forward to seeing you in the city again. We’ll have to grab brunch.


  4. Like always, if you’re looking for a change of scenery, I am more than happy to provide West Seattle as your escape pod. Don’t forget, we live 2 blocks from the beach (and have a ridiculous amount of books to hide among).

    I’m glad you’re doing ok – and goddamnit, next time I see you, you’ll be getting the biggest hug in the world.

    Now, go take on the world…
    (we’re all rootin’ for ya)

  5. i would really, really like to come to the funeral, but with the new job it may be a challenge. i’ll ask the boss today and we’ll see.

    i’m of course concerned for you, but i’ve been mostly leaving you alone- i don’t want you to feel pressured, and i’m sure you’re getting condolences and attention from every corner. you know i’m here if you need me, and i *expect* you to give me a head’s up when you need some erin-time.
    (if you’d rather i call and check up on you daily, etc, i can do that, too.)

    i’ll let you know if i can come to the funeral. oh, and if your dad needs help with cooking lessons or anything like that, i’d be more than happy to come over.

  6. I have always, always appreciated that I can trust you to let me know what you need from me, when you’ve needed something. I value this about our relationship more than you may realize and have tried to learn to do this in my own life.

    I’m leaving town for this weekend, but I suspect you are going to have plenty of friends close at hand. I’ll be in town the rest of the weekends and want to see you frequently.

    I love you.

  7. *Hugs* from our household! Unfortunately, due to the distance and my schedule, I won’t be able to make it up. I asked Sloane if you wanted people to make donations to ALS or some other charity in her name, so let me know. I’m glad Jason is up there with you. I’m glad you feel some relief as she is no longer suffering, but know there is still grief. Do what you need to do, you don’t have to make any quick decisions and your friends will understand. Thanks for sharing during this tough time.

  8. Generally we’re supposed to bring enough for the whole class to share, but that doesn’t appear to have happened yet.

  9. Phil,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I send you big hugs over the internets, because I won’t be at the NocNoc to do it in person (I work at the club on Saturdays).

    Next time I do see you (Loser’s Lunch et al.) I will give you a big hug 🙂


  10. It’s time for a new chapter, sir. Take your time and don’t expect this to be a quick process. If you try fitting back into life here and find it difficult, go travel. If you travel and find it hard being away from friends, come back. You know that we will all be here for you when you need us. Just don’t worry too much about “what you’re going to do now.”

  11. Just take care of your basic needs and let the people who support you know when/where/how to support. You done good, Phil.

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