Its been almost three months since my father passed and we are still working on his estate. There is a pending deal on his house and an auction in less than two weeks for most of his things.
But its weird, I spent part of the weekend at his house and its just an old farm house in Southern Illinois, I don't feel his presence there at all, though in my own house I feel him constantly. So as my brother and I sorted through my father's lifetime of accomplishments, pictures and belongings, its the flood of memories that overwhelms you at times. You look at the so many pictures and think of times past, (good and bad), and all the things he said and look back on a life truly lived.
This house was my father's retirement place, I was never raised in it, never stayed there more than a week at a time, still I have 16 years of memories, from the end of my college days until now as married grown man. So I as I went through my life, I think of how my father was slowly declining. But the house was my father's dream, while he was working he told anyone who would listen about "his farm" and how he was going to retire to it. And a few years after his retirement it became reality.
My father was a CTA worker and a Navy veteran, he could live anywhere and had no issues with starting over again. He spent over a year in Naples Italy while serving our country and he took pride in not following others.
So as my brother and I looked over all of my father's stuff (very little of which we will keep), we talked about old times and wrapping up the last of my father's possessions and business. Its somewhat sad because its really closing the book on my dad's existence and its hard because dad had a lot of stuff and just sorting it out and working with an auctioneer (which my brother has done yeoman's work on), can be emotionally taxing. We found my father's awards from CTA and pictures from his retirement 20 years ago, I did keep those and will have a special wall for them, he took pride in his work and took to time to make custom frames for each certificate and picture.
My father last lived in that house until right after Christmas and then he went to the hospital and spent the next four months in between five facilities (downstate and here in Chicago), until his passing right after Easter. I spent many weekends early in the year in his house going through papers, bills, and handling his affairs with my mother as his health declined.
Once he passed then we had the end of life business before we could resume estate work again and now we are reaching the end of those days, in pretty much two weeks we have some final transactions then that's it.
Its the end of his business and financial footprint that saddens me. To the rest of the world he will no longer exist, his name won't be on any property or active accounts. Obviously, I have plenty of proof of him, this weekend I grabbed his favorite fishing tackle box and its now here with my fishing equipment because honestly without him, I would have never learned to fish and love the sport of angling.
I will have his beloved truck, its being worked on now to be back into good running shape, I will drive it and care for it with tremendous pride. He taught me and my brother so much about mechanics, how to care for things and prepared us to be men.
So its now up to us to finish up his business with the professionalism, respect and common sense that my father taught us.
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