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Done with Dead Brother, Onto Other Challenges

November 8th, 2014 at 10:01 am

Recap:I've paid for obituary, memorial dinner, interment, funeral attire, hotel room, travel, gifts, postage for more gifts, thank you notes. I didn't contribute to the GoFundMe account for burial expenses, but I did pay close to half its current amount in interment, and brought the bones to Canada, so I think I'm good. I didn't contribute to the trust fund for my nephew and his mother, but I did help circulate notice of it to over 20000 people. I was the only blood relative who attended the funeral, so I'm good there too. Nobody's told me I haven't done enough. It just feels like I haven't because I don't know how much my brother left his widow. Objectively we can agree my brother should have planned better. Subjectively I don't feel his widow and son should suffer.

I am so happy to have an emergency fund. Christmas isn't going to be much fun though this year, unless we do an Advent Calendar of Joy or some antimaterialist mission. Something that doesn't involve a lot of money. I should probably mail something to my brother's widow and son though... maybe. I don't know how relationships through marriage go after a death. It's much up to the bereaved, or the older relatives, in my experience. I'm still in touch with my step-parents.

My husband did his open enrollment activity in front of me, groaning "that sucks" so I am gritting my teeth and mulling possible financial rearrangements. Like maybe paying for the car in full to free up some $$. I know he is reducing his HSA contribution. I may have to get my prescriptions filled in Canada if they'll cost half as much. Another thing I could do is reduce my espresso intake to once a week. I bought Mount Hagen Organic Instant coffee, which comes out to a little more than eighteen cents a cup, one twelfth of what I'd expect to pay for a demitasse of espresso. Nescafe is probably cheaper than that, even. I'd heard that Nescafe invests more $$$ in research and development. Half the coffee drinkers on the planet prefer instant. What helps me stay frugal is that I've become so old that I can't abide loud music in coffee shops in the daytime, and where I live it seems mostly young people with profound hearing loss are serving espresso. Seriously, isn't that what ear buds and earphones are for?

Shampoo: my hair's oil-clumpy whether I use a citrus shampoo, Garnier Fructis, or Dr. Bronner's soap. I wonder how I can get a smooth, manageable head of hair. Do I need to rinse with vinegar water every shampoo? And why do clumps of hair come out when I use soap or baking soda?

Food: Root vegetables and squash varieties I am experimenting with this year. We were introduced to yam chips and love them almost as much as sweet potato chips. Tried spaghetti squash for first time tonight, that was a big hit. Mostly I like roasting the root vegetables, putting tons of butter and maybe some chile powder or crushed red pepper on split-open halves of squash, with lime.

11 Responses to “Done with Dead Brother, Onto Other Challenges”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I think you have done enough, whatever you do is fine. If you feel like keeping in contact, I think that would be nice, especially that first year when the grief is so new.

    We just had some roasted beets the other night. Yummy! I do like the yams roasted as well.

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I do feel like being in contact. I like my sister, she is very patient and calm and I think she is a saint for putting up with my brother and for bringing out his good side (i.e. giving him a son he can dote on).

    I've been juicing beets, cucumber, lemon and carrot to dissolve any calcium stones my kidney has lately taken to producing. I love, love beets: maybe because they are sugary or because they are nearly a staple of East European cuisine.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Have you tried delicata squash? You can roast them and eat the skins as well as the flesh, they're so tender. Or you can puree them; they taste a bit like sweetcorn.

  4. bluesfemme Says:

    I've been thinking about you. I agree with ccf, particularly as with my Japanese host family it never seemed they were comfortable in reaching out - they found it easier to accept affection from and forgive a socially gauche westerner.

    I love Moroccan hair oil. I have armfuls of very fine hair which tangles merely when I look at in the mirror. I use only a little across the top and then fingercomb underneath. A $20 bottle is still 70% full after 15 months (I wash every 4-5 days). I also shed constantly - my husband often comments he can't understand why I am not bald, so I cannot help with that aspect.

  5. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    The hair loss is probably a result of the stress.

  6. PauletteGoddard Says:

    bluesfemme: Both my brother's otoosan and okaasan were very good to me: I was gauche too, but eventually I found the correct way to ask for things from higher-ups, and I apologized with much humility for mangling Nihongo. I felt stupid having to spend three minutes trying to say more than one expression and deeply regret not having kept up with the Japanese beyond hai itai, ocha, kohi, sugoi, domo arigato, ohayou gozaimasu, gomen-nasai, Kore wa nan desu ka, and of course my life-saving words at airport security shinda otooto. I didn't know if it was gauche or not to bring gifts when arriving for a funeral, but I brought gifts anyway. They reached out by being smiling kind and helpful, driving us home at midnight the whole 2.5 blocks to their house, picking me up at the train station, and by pressing a language button on their remote control so I could watch ABC World News in English. :-)

  7. PauletteGoddard Says:

    @ceejay I haven't tried delicata squash yet. I'm going to use the puree tip!

  8. Dido Says:

    Belated sympathies on your loss. Forty-four is so young to pass.

  9. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Thank you Dido. I agree. I wish I had posted what I did in September 2048 or later, and could have commented on how well he and his wife raised their son.

  10. Tabs Says:

    Glad that things are being handled and I am sure they are glad to have you for being so capable of managing everything.

  11. PauletteGoddard Says:

    @Tabs thanks for the sweet words. It certainly helped my energy and spirits to handle my brother's affairs in my hometown, which is not foreign to me, and with my longterm friends to keep me buoyed.

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