One week from today will mark six-months since Dear Joan passed away.
I thought about that today, while driving to/from Seattle under a gray sky that drizzled intermittently.
Amidst the grayness, tree leaves stood out in their changing colors, yellows, reds and in-between green.
The seasons are definitely passing, as they always do, even in a man’s life; I thought that while remembering a book on the same theme which helped me through an earlier tough patch - a mid-life crisis.
That other time, hard lessons were learned and much suffering endured, with memories of sadness, a sense of irretrievable loss, questioning of what had gone wrong and why, and yet somehow knowing that despite this set-back, I needed to get on with my life. [so glad I did!]
Maybe, that earlier time helped prepare me for the suddenness of Joan’s departure, but it’s hard to say, because this current pain doesn’t seem to fade much either, despite my determined efforts to focus on the love we shared as true kindred spirits. All I have to do is watch that 8-minute You-Tube clip of our wedding. Talk about the experience of joy!
In the car this morning, every time I reached over for her hand, it wasn’t there. Hard to not miss that warm feeling…
But, I know her beautiful spirit lives!
Just knowing that really helps inspire me to keep going strong, and rejoin the world of the living.
This last 6 months there has been so much to do, getting affairs organized and beginning to plan for my own ending.
I am very thankful for the help so many people have given me to make this transition proceed so remarkably smoothly!
Here’s a synopsis:
Memorials - The series of six planned Memorials served to allow many of Joan’s circles of friends and family to remember her bright smile, love of life and joyous spirit! Those events also helped me share the wonderful support of the many others who also loved her. I greatly appreciate that! Also, many other gatherings and remembrances were held in Joan’s honor, and these were truly amazing in their combined effect! Thank you all.
Legal - I’ve now gotten much more familiar with lawyers and their trade, both in Bellingham and in San Francisco. These folks have been essential in handling the provisions of Joan’s Will and the Probate process. I’ll be using them again soon, for my own end-of-life planning.
Real Estate - Our beloved Bellingham home of 26 years has been sold and is now occupied by a couple with 2 teenage sons. I know they will love living there as much as we did.
I have purchased and moved into a Condominium in the Fairhaven [Old Town] section of Bellingham, near the Bay, trails, eateries and instant social life - should I want it.
Joan’s wonderful Victorian house in San Francisco’s Glen Park Neighborhood is in Probate, now being valued so that her Estate can be finally settled. Her wish was have our good friends, Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov, live there with their 2 sons, and this will happen soon.
Joan bought that house in 1978, as a single woman, and paid it off! Wish I had made such a good investment! [Come to think of it, I did - by marrying Joan!]
Joan’s beloved Cabin of 18 years, called "Moose Lodge" in Winthrop, WA has not yet been sold; but it has been rented for 6-months over the Winter and will be put back on the market next year.
Monetary Assets - These are all being consolidated to simplify accounting needs, including the IRS, using the expert advice of advisors who will coordinate these efforts with me and the Legal folks.
Autos - I sold my 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan, traded in Joan’s Subaru Outback, and bought a 2016 Honda CRV Touring model that seems much smarter than I am! It does fit my needs, and my basement parking spot better.
Ongoing Stuff - I've already gotten rid of, literally, a ton of stuff just to fit into my smaller space; now, the job of sorting through remaining books, correspondence, files, pictures, slides, memories, Buddhist publications and notes demands attention.
Next Steps - What are my plans now, you might ask?
Several essential tasks include updating my Will, developing a Revocable Living Trust, Updating my Advance Healthcare Directive and creating a Durable Power of Attorney.
Next, I’ll be getting IRS returns prepared and submitted, using a CPA this time!
I am also now motivated to maintain a better level of physical health to help enjoy life; practice regular spiritual meditation; visit relatives and friends; stay in touch with others better; continue reading and all-life-learning pursuits.
Above all, I am going to continue to honor Joan’s Memory in the very best way I can...