Mother and I had a complicated relationship, as many of us do. Ambivalence defined my feelings for her from the time I was 12. As I was sitting there holding her hand, I was able to let go of my anger and forgive her. Being able to do that has brought me a great measure of peace.
One of the positive things about this experience is becoming aware of how much I am loved. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Doris, was on her way home from Dallas and called to see if she could come visit. Not five minutes before she called I had the urge to call her and ask her to come to the hospital. My Angels were at work that day. My incredible Dearly Beloved Johnny called right after Doris and asked if he should come be with me. They sat on either side of the bed through the entire process. I was surrounded by their love and I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for these acts of love and care.
As I called family, my friends, and Mother's friends every one of them offered love, concern and help. In those first days they comforted me in words and deeds. They eased my burden immeasurably. Many of them are still offering gifts of love, care, concern, affection and help. I am truly blessed.
I have learned just how much work settling a parent's estate entails. So that you can ease that burden on your survivors, let me offer some advice. Have a valid will or trust. Even a holographic will will be enough. If you have some treasured belongings, leave instructions specifying what goes to whom and try to consider each individual's likes and dislikes. Add the executor / executrix as a signatory on all your bank/savings accounts. DOWNSIZE your belongings. I could not have met the two week deadline to clear out / clean up Mother's apartment without a lot of hard work on the part of Johnny, Megan, Roy, Flo, Matt and David. Buy more boxes, packing paper and bubble wrap than you think you'll need. It'll save time on repeat trips to the store. Home Depot has the cheapest boxes, btw. Something that would have helped in this process was knowing in advance which charitable organizations will make pick-ups and how much lead time they need to schedule these pick-ups.
And remember, we grieve and heal on different schedules. Don't beat yourself up if you aren't on the same timeline as you were when another close family member died. Lean on your family and friends. They love you more than you know. Give them the gift of helping you.