The Administrative Part of Death

This simple act, donation of DME, caused a rollercoaster of emotions both in the days leading up and the hours after this wheelchair left our house today. As you have guessed, this wheelchair was Tom’s. In reality, this was not just DME, this was an extension of Tom. I have boxed up medical supplies, and given medical supplies away the last few weeks, but this was different. This was harder to do, but this is part of picking up the pieces after someone you loved dies. There are actually so many things that must be done that I have just been calling them the “administrative part” of death after ALS. It could be any disease, but of course my lane is the ALS one.

Since Tom’s passing, I have been working through the administrative duties that must be done. All the notifications of his death. It is emotionally draining to repeat, “I need to report the death of my husband” over and over. The paperwork is overwhelming. Once Tom’s death certificates were received, my bestie had to come and help me through some of the overwhelming paperwork. My brain could not process and I shut down. In addition, there is the struggle to pack up and either donate or store medical equipment and supplies. At Tom’s level of disability, there was and still is a lot of things that need to be packed up.

I know that this is all in my time, but I also know that there is a balance that must be found. If I put off storing or donating, then I worry that being surrounded by all the stuff will cause me to slip deeper into grief and find it hard to pull myself out. If I donate too soon, it is the same worry. I thought seeing the wheelchair leave for a new home would not be so hard, but it was. I am finding I am constantly overestimating my abilities. I recognize that my life is still trying to find its new normal and I must go back to working on being gentle with myself. To give myself permission to be anxious, sad, and even happy. One minute at a time some days and one day at a time on other days…that is how I am taking things.

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