Probate and Holes in the Memory

I am nearly sorted with the probate forms. Just waiting for a couple of bits of info from the pension service and that should be that.
So I thought I should start to get everything together ready to send off. I have a file with all the papers I have received since Mother died. The death certificate was not in it.
Now I know I have a death certificate. Actually, I have two. I signed them and paid for them when I went to register Mother’s death. I have had to show them to the solicitor and to the bank. But my mind was a total blank as to where they were.
I did find them eventually. Neatly inside another folder. One I had used at the beginning before I realised how much paper was coming my way.
I can look back at the visit to the bank but it seems like another person, another world. The spaces in my memory of those first two months are like the work of industrious moths. The very fact that now, four months on, I am able to fill in the forms with some sense of coherence tells me how much better I am coping.
As well as looking for the death certificates, it occurred to me that I had no idea of the whereabouts of the title deeds to Mother’s bungalow. I rang the solicitor. She has them. The relief. I told her I was struggling to remember what I had done in the first few weeks. She was reassuring, telling me it’s like that for everyone. You do the things because you know you have to, but they seem to happen on a different plane. Even the funeral seems strangely unreal now.
Fortunately, memories of Mother are strong and clear. Not just the poetry, the hand cream and the I love you”s of her last years, but walking with her in the woods; seeing her at work, busy in her nurse’s uniform; finding her deep in a book about nutrition; the way she would come home from work and put the potatoes on before she took off her coat, then leave them to us while she had a few minutes quality time with the dachshund inspecting the garden; surreptitiously putting Sweet and Low instead of sugar into the custard when she thought Dad had put on weight; putting her hand to her cheek when she laughed.
Maybe forgetting where I left the death certificates isn’t so very important. It’s remembering Mother, and particularly the good times, that I don’t want to fall through the holes of memory.

In Uniform

In Uniform


15 thoughts on “Probate and Holes in the Memory

  1. I love that photo of her. I agree, that’s the important part, remembering her, not the forms. I wish you luck with everything. I know how stressful it can be and it seems wrong that you have to focus on this. I’m not a big fan of red tape since it takes time away from the real things in life.

    • I don’t mind it now. At the beginning it was all a blur, but at the moment it seems ok.
      Moving into a new season seems to be sparking its of memories. It is odd how our emotions call us to what we need to be looking at.

  2. What a great photo of her Isobel….and those “memory holes” ? Totally normal as the solicitor told you – I think we operate on automatic those first few weeks after….then as our lives settle, our memories fall back into place.


    • She looks very neat doesn’t she? It must have been a break.
      Maybe the holes protect us. We can’t live with the intensity of the emotion we feel following someone’s death all the time.

  3. yes, i think you are remembering the important things, too.
    oddly enough, even though this is your post and not at all about me, when you mentioned the death certificate, i had to think of my father’s, and how shocking it had somehow seemed when i looked at it for the first time. all it said was name, city of residence, and date of death. nothing about his birth or the the life he had lived. and then i comforted myself that even though the document was a legal entity, it was far from perfect because it was missing the most important information of all. i think the memory holes are there to allow us to focus on those things which, as you say, are important, and worth remembering.

  4. How nice to see that picture of your Mom Isobel! I am so happy your memories are strong and clear. I don’t know why but the hand cream always makes me smile, touches my heart. And when you mentioned the “I love you’s” I couldn’t help but hear all my Mom’s “Hi Sweets!”. MasterB looks comfy up there.. 🙂

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