20 September 2015

Closing things out

The last few weeks have been quite full/melancholy.  I am not sure if it good or bad with being busy, but it has kept us from dwelling on her passing.  I am most saddened for my wife.  She has been holding up well, but this has been a very long and sad journey for her over the past few years.  First her dad fell ill several years ago and passed away 2 years ago after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  Earlier this year, we lost her mom due to the same illness.  Finally her sister passed recently.  She has a lot on her plate of late and I am trying to take some of the burden off of her shoulders.  We are in a kind of void right now - sort of grief/guilty phase.  Sad to have lost her sister at this age, but glad she is no longer suffering.  Will take a while for things to right themselves again.  

In the interim, we've been working on multiple fronts to take care of things for Julie.  Arranging a memorial service, working with the funeral home, drafting up an obituary, posting updated on Facebook.  Momma and I argued about the FB posting but I felt we needed to do it so that her friends would know and could post their comments.  A few were surprised with the news since Julie did not really want her condition and prognosis shared with many.  While I am not a big FB fan, a few friends were starting to mention about missing her and I felt it was our responsibility to post something in her honor.  The obituary took a bit of editing before we posted it but it finally hit the paper before Labor Day.  I wanted to write more about her career and love of cats but when we got the price for the simple obit, we were a wee bit floored.  The cost of a simple obit was running almost $6.00 per word, hyphen, comma and period.  And that's per day.  I read some of the obits in today's paper that are running 4-5 columns and cannot help but think that run somebody close to $3,000.  I told my wife that, when I go, all she needed to put in the paper is "Agg Died".  I am not sure how Julie would feel about paying this much money for a short synopsis of her life but I felt that we owed it to her.  And her friends really appreciated it.  

We did arrange for a memorial service right after Labor Day.  She did not want people to interrupt their plans/vacations and since Julie wasn't very religious, we chose a Methodist church next to the Medical Center where a number of her friends/coworkers could attend.  Very nice service, reception, a much larger turnout than we had expected.  I had spent the week prior combing through pictures at her house and what I had taken over the years to craft a slide show of her over the years.  I even stole a few pictures from friends that had posted to Facebook in her memory.  I got the idea from a previous memorial service and people really seemed to enjoy it.  A few shots from the slide show:

We are spending time over at her house going through the records, sorting things out, making calls, feeding the cats (anybody want one?), emptying litter boxes.  Julie had a love for animals in her life and she was passionate about her cats.  My wife came from a cat family but I have slowly brought her over to the dark side and the world of dogs.  Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against cats, but I am just not really a cat person anymore.  I am not sure how well my two furbabies would take to a feline guest.  While I feel fairly sure that Claire, old softy she is, wouldn't have too many issues with a cat (heck, she loves anybody), Grayson kinda has a personality that doesn't mix well with felines.  He's had a few close calls with neighborhood cats but I have kept him on a tight leash whenever one is around.  In my opinion, if he ever did try to go MMA with the local calico yard cat, my money's on the cat.  I'll regale you with my cat history later.  

On many of the walks I had with Julie, one of her concerns was with her cats.  What would happen to them, who would take care of them.  We had a solution in one of her friends volunteered to take all of them, but that friend died unexpectedly last year from brain cancer.  I told Julie that, because of the dogs, I could not commit to taking the cats, but I did promise her that we would do everything humanly possible to find them good homes.  They were not going to be neglected or turned over the the shelter and we would work the back channels to find homes for all of them.  Initially, she wanted to turn them over to the Animal Life-Care Center up at A&M that takes care of pets when their owners pass away.   Sort of a pet sanctuary.  Beautiful state of the art facility with the best care.  The problem is that they were very, very pricey.  A quick estimate of how much it would run for her cats came out to be more than the cost of her house.  So, in the meanwhile, the cats have the run of the house while we work on finding homes/servants for them.  

I wound up giving her Camry to my son.  I have been taking care of it for a while so I know it is in good shape and a good replacement for our old '93 he currently drives in Austin.  Ice cold A/C, new battery & tires, a working radio, and only 77k miles.   The car even came with Lojack but I don't think Julie ever activated it.  The only problem is that we cannot find the title so I am going to have to work through the state to have a new one printed and then have it transferred over to him.  Actually, I will have it transferred to me and then I will transfer it to him.  Turns out that in Texas, you can transfer a title to a family member (aka bother in law) for only $45 and save on paying the taxes on the sale.  Unfortunately, junior being her nephew does not fall in that category, so we will have to juggle the title a bit to make it work. 

Progress is slow, but we are moving forward.  


ShadowRun300 said...

Wow. I didn't realize Mrs. Agg had gone through so much in the last few years. I'm sure she's grateful for your support and your willingness to lessen some of the burdens.
And $6 per word in the obits? Seriously? Seems like they're taking advantage of the grieving. I like the idea of a two word obit. :)
Hopefully things will start to right themselves soon. And best of luck finding foster homes for the cats. I love ours, but I also know how difficult it is to find people willing to adopt cats. I'm guessing someone will step up, however, if only out of respect for your SIL. Sounds like she was liked by many.
Still sending thoughts and prayers your way.....

Abby said...

Well, condolences again to you and to Mrs. Agg. I didn't know she'd lost both parents to Alzheimers. From your pictures, I can see that Julie will be much missed. She has such soulful eyes.
Those obituary prices are ridiculous! When my mother passed away back in January, we ran an obituary in the hometown paper - much more reasonably priced. I also wondered if posting the news on facebook might be tacky, but I ended up putting something short and sweet and am glad I did. We got many thoughtful comments from people scattered around that probably wouldn't have gotten the news otherwise.
And now with the aftermath, I know it will be a while until things settle down. Hopefully, a home for the cats will present itself soon!

terri said...

Poor Mrs. Agg! No one should have to lose their family in such quick succession. I can't imagine how much that broke her heart. And I know how difficult all of this was for you too. I'm so sorry for all of the loss you have suffered and pray that the time ahead of you brings healing and peace.

LL Cool Joe said...

I lost my Dad in May and that was bad enough, but to lose so many close family members in such a short period of time must be devastating. I'm so sorry for Mrs. Agg's losses.

I popped over to your blog from Abby's.

Riot Kitty said...

Hang in there...that sounds very rough.