Taxes, Wills and Pride

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Well, I did accomplished another thing without him yesterday. I went to the accountant to start my taxes, and then to a lawyer to redo my will. A lot has changed since I saw both, obviously, and, well, I cried at both.

I cried at the accountant because everything seemed so surreal. I was talking about his death in a matter-of-fact way, until I couldn’t. I cried because I was about to hand over Peter’s W-2 form stabbing me with the reality, he was alive half the year and so suddenly he wasn’t the other half. I cried because he was meant to be sitting across from her, not me, and all of this was not supposed to happen. I cried from the enormity of everything being my responsibility now, everything is on me, all of it and while I’m strong, sometimes I grow exhausted from my strength.  And I cried because, at times like these, even filing taxes, I longed for him, for his wisdom, for countering my ‘what if’s with his calming ‘what if not’, for his voice explaining to me what we may get back or what we owe, and for everything about him, I longed for him.

I cried at the lawyer’s office because the last time I was in that conference room was a year and a half ago when the same lawyer filled out our wills. I cried because Peter’s will was fulfilled. I cried because I now have to rely on my kids as power of attorneys and executors, something that seems too much of responsibility this early in their adult lives. I cried because I didn’t know – I didn’t know about the language being spoken; that was another one of Peter’s expertise. (I am so thankful to my financial adviser for coming with as I had to look to him for interpretations.) I cried because the  reality about Peter’s death saturated me in the knowing he will no longer be, not even on paper. And I cried because it was the second hit I took in one day, and I didn’t know how much longer I could stand without being knocked out.

But stay standing I did. I stood and said “f-you Death for taking Peter, and to you, Grief. I’m still here so go to hell with your efforts to try to get me to the mat!” I texted my friends telling them how I proud I was of me for getting both done, even in my shoe box receipt gathering ways. I wrote “I’m proud of me” three times in the text. In part to convince myself I had much to be proud of, and in part, the part holding me up even if it was with anger, I was proud of me. Two, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, unbelievable tasks had to be done, and I took them on. I may have walked away bruised, but I still walked away.

In the evening, exhausted from the day and after two conversations with my children, I forgot about a grief support group I wanted to join. I have another one starting in March and maybe that’s where I am supposed to go. I don’t know. I do know, I forgot about the meeting, but I let it go, not beating myself up about it since I took so many hits already during the day. I actually only remembered as I laid in bed yesterday night. It was one of those “Oh, shoot” moments, followed by a “oh well”.  It wasn’t important. What was important is what I did, what I had to do, yesterday and I persevered.

Peter’s death has taught me so much. I have learned that I am stronger than I thought. I have learned life is way harder on my own. I have learned Death never discriminates. I have learned I took Peter for granted and I will never do be so careless with my emotions or dedication to the other people in my life. I have learned what it was like to love deeply and be loved as deep and what an amazing feeling that is. And, I have learned, after Peter’s death,  little things don’t matter.

I have a whole different approach to my anxieties. Everything I worry about, I now look at with my “well it’s not as bad as Peter dying” glasses on and it makes me see things clearer.  Okay, with the exception of my kids – I’ll always worry about them! Maybe that’s why I can tackle the challenges laid and still lay before me. I look at them, like taxes and wills, and with a scoff say, “phbbt, you ain’t nothing”…even in tears. And while I stand up to them, I am proud of me.