Day 1 – de-invalid-izing

Sunday, 12/2/18

In the morning, in the hours waiting for the hospice nurse to come and “pronounce” Marian dead, and the further hours waiting for the mortuary crew, I hung out in the kitchen, notifying people. I wrote the final journal entry on Marian’s cancer blog. Posting that automatically informed the many people who’d registered to it.

Then I went through my Google contacts list, then got her laptop and went through her contacts, cross-referencing and making a list of everyone we knew who hadn’t registered to the blog. I wrote up an email based on the journal entry and BCC’d that to those 20-odd names. And I made a few phone calls to close relatives.

But with the removal of the body, and nothing more to do, I moved around the rooms, and it felt — stuffy. Over the months of increasing illness we’d accumulated a thick layer of “invalid stuff”. A walker. A commode (horrible thing, she hated using it even more than I hated emptying it). A wheelchair. An oxygen machine. Elder diapers (“insurance pants”, we called them). And medicines everywhere, in the bathroom cabinet, in the bed table, in the kitchen.

I opened every window in the house and turned the HVAC fan to “circ”. Then I  rounded up every bit of invalid stuff and corralled it in one room. Anything that might have value for someone else, I stacked in an island in the guest room, but a lot of stuff that didn’t, went into the trash. Illness and feebleness and stinks — out!

I collected all her meds, 30-40 pill bottles and tubes and boxes. They made a fat bundle in a plastic grocery bag; I’ll take them to the clinic to deposit in their medicine discard bin. (And now I just remembered there’s another little cache to get.) Eventually I was shivering (the air coming in the windows was about 60F) but the place felt cleaner.

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