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Hiatus After Hiatus After Hiatus…

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I promised I’d be returning this week. I did not realize that my husband would find his mother dead in her apartment on Thursday afternoon. She hadn’t been feeling well, so he’d gone by after work to check on her. She’d died in her sleep the night before. She was only sixty-nine years old.

If you’ve been reading my “Worst Person I’ve Ever Met” series, this may interest you: “Sam’s” father was the medical examiner who showed up. One might have thought that would be the cherry on this shit sundae, but alas, it is a mere sprinkle. The complications that have been left behind are numerous. There is the time, money, physical labor for the monumental task of funeral costs, closing accounts, or cleaning the apartment. Mr. Jen and I have found ourselves the beneficiaries of several new full-time jobs.

The costs associated with even a modest funeral are astronomical. Some of you who heard the news on Twitter sprang into action and raised $600.00 to help us with the cost. We are so incredibly thankful for those contributions, as we are finding ourselves wiped out.

The worst part of all of this seems to be the numb practicality. Of course, my husband is grieving. But I feel nothing. Nothing but irritation and anxiety at the situation and at the number of things that require our urgent attention…later. Because everything waits on offices opening on Monday, death certificates arriving, signatures obtained from uncooperative parties. Hurry up and wait builds a wall between grief and the people who are supposed to be processing it.

I’m not going to promise that I’ll be returning next week. I have no idea if that’s possible. At the moment, we’re sifting through a lifetime of disorganized paperwork–here, a vital record from the retirement office, there a printed-off email joke from 1998–and sorting through useless brick-a-brack we feel guilty disposing of because it was precious to her in life. And the one person who should be allowed to step back and just not have to deal with anything other than his emotions is my husband, who absolutely will not get a chance to do that until all this other stuff is done.

For now, I’ll just say that updates will be sporadic and I’m sorry. Hopefully, it will only be in this immediate aftermath and not for weeks.

62 Comments

  1. Anon
    Anon

    I am so sorry to hear this! I do hope things go as smoothly as possible and you can all get on with the grieving process. I tend to go numb when death happens, too. I can’t imagine how awful this must be for Mr. Jen.

    February 5, 2018
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  2. I am so sorry for your loss.

    February 5, 2018
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  3. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    My deepest sympathies are with your husband, you and your family. There’s nothing else to say, is there?

    February 5, 2018
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  4. Siobhan
    Siobhan

    We were so lucky when my father died, as he had burial insurance, which ALMOST covered the $7K of the funeral & burial. And that’s with a free burial plot donated by the Catholic Church because he was a deacon. But so many people brought us food* and offered to help. I hope that you have some of that, too.
    ________
    *of course, that was either added work to keep track of the casserole dishes or yet another grocery store rotisserie chicken. It was really good to not have to think about eating, but it was also a full year before I could eat another rotisserie chicken.

    February 5, 2018
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  5. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Oh boy. We’re here for you, Jen. We can’t come to you and give you a hug as much as we want to.

    When you can, (and when you’re ready) come here and vent. Doesn’t matter about what. Any detail, from the smallest to whatever is bugging you. We’ll be supportive in any way we can. That’s what we do. We support each other when any one needs it.

    It will take a while to recover. And that’s OK. Take as much time as you need. It’s going to suck. And will until it doesn’t suck any more. How long that takes is entirely up to you. Take as much as you need. We’ll be here for you, no matter what.

    All our best to you, daughter, and Mr. Jen.

    February 5, 2018
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  6. Please do not feel sorry for having to get your life/your mother-in-law’s affairs in orders and having to devote more time to that than to your blog. You are a real person who really has to deal with some stuff, and anyone who doesn’t understand that is kind of a jerk.

    I hope people will be kind to you as you navigate bureaucracy and understanding if you or your husband wind up breaking down a bit.

    February 5, 2018
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  7. BlueSimplicity
    BlueSimplicity

    **hugs*8 to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss.

    February 5, 2018
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  8. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. Death always brings confusion, frustration, and turmoil. I hope things smooth over and you can grieve.

    February 5, 2018
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  9. Emerald
    Emerald

    So very sorry for your loss Jenny, I went through the very same thing 7 months ago when my husbands mother passed away suddenly. It’s a huge job and so so hard. Trout nation is here for you ❤️

    February 5, 2018
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  10. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    Oh, Jenny. I’m so sorry for your and Mr. Jen’s loss. All of the tasks surrounding a death and a funeral sound just monstrous to deal with and I don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed. I would too.

    February 5, 2018
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  11. Erin
    Erin

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny and family.

    I only recently discovered your blog. I’ve been keeping up on your recent posts, but I’m especially enjoying the jealous hater book club posts. That said, you definitely need time, lots of time, to deal with all this. Take care of you. We’ll all be here when you return.

    February 5, 2018
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  12. Katy
    Katy

    I’m so sorry. I hope both of you eventually get the space you need away from crises.

    February 5, 2018
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  13. Jon
    Jon

    Sorry for loss. Take all the time you need – our amusement does not take prioirty over your mental health.

    February 5, 2018
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  14. Kirsten
    Kirsten

    I am so sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences to you, your husband and your children. 10 years ago my husband’s father passed away very suddenly and our small family was unprepared and overwhelmed. It feels like being at the bottom of a mud pit so deep and so slippery that it is inconceivable that there will ever be a way out. Incredibly, there is a way up and out. You will sort it all out. The chaos will dissipate and life will normalize. You don’t need to apologize for anything, everything else can wait.

    February 5, 2018
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  15. Lyn Never
    Lyn Never

    I am so sorry for your loss, and every single thing you might feel – or not – about the surreal administrative circus is totally valid. (Write down everything, every phone call, every receipt number, share a google doc with your husband for it all – this is my only good advice besides taking a photo of every piece of administrative paperwork that passes through your hands.)

    February 5, 2018
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  16. Karin Beulen
    Karin Beulen

    So sorry for your loss. Take care, take your time.

    February 5, 2018
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  17. Hilary
    Hilary

    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

    February 5, 2018
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  18. HeidiAphrodite
    HeidiAphrodite

    Jeez. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve read your blog (probably because of the 50 Shades recaps?) for a few years now, and, like so many others, I’ve grown pretty fond of you and your family. What a weird world this cyber place is. Anyway, if I lived near you, you can bet I’d be there to help. I know you’re not super religious, but I also know you won’t be offended if people pray for you. So. Consider it done.

    February 5, 2018
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  19. I’m so so sorry for your husband’s and your loss and for all the stress a situation like this brings with it. I’ve been there, I know it absolutely sucks.

    February 5, 2018
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  20. RedHandedJill
    RedHandedJill

    Very sorry to hear about this, Jenny. I don’t comment here often, but I read your blog frequently. My family also had a recent traumatic loss and I can relate to everything you say here–I can’t imagine how much worse it would be had it been sudden. It’s been a week, and I showed up to work today already in tears. I hope you and your family are eventually able to find some comfort. You are definitely in my thoughts.

    February 5, 2018
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  21. Ilex
    Ilex

    Oh, Jenny, I’m sorry for your and Mr Jen’s loss. This is so tough to go through.

    A friend of mine died unexpectedly a few months ago, and I’ve thought a lot since then about the daunting task his daughters faced in cleaning out his apartment. So I sympathize with your sense of helplessness and anger in the face of this situation.

    We’ll all still be here whenever you get back.

    I wish I could be of more help.

    February 5, 2018
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  22. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    *hugs* I’m so sorry to hear that. My condolences to Mr. Jenny, and a huge smack in the patoot to anyone making this harder on you than it already is.

    February 5, 2018
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  23. Tazi
    Tazi

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think we all understand that you want to take some time off to deal with all that.
    I lost both of my grandmas within a year and I know how much work it is to sort through all the stuff that has accumulated in a life, especially if they are of the type “I better keep this, I might need it someday” which runs rampant in my family…..

    I wish you a lot of strength and I hope you get trough it okay *HUGS*

    February 5, 2018
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  24. ReeseZ
    ReeseZ

    I never comment here, but I want to offer my condolences to you and your family. My father passed away unexpectedly at 57 four years ago but I remember every minute of going through what you and your husband are. The grief that has to be put aside because decisions must be made and you have to be the one to make them. I still sometimes feel like I never got time to adequately sort through my feelings. I wish you all the emotional fortitude in the world to get through this, one step at a time.

    February 5, 2018
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  25. Jamie
    Jamie

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    February 5, 2018
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  26. I’m sorry for your loss.

    February 5, 2018
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  27. Vix
    Vix

    I’m so sorry for you and Mr. Jen. Wishing you the strength, patience, and reserves to deal with everything coming at you.

    February 5, 2018
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  28. Emily
    Emily

    Take all the time you need, i know what a mess of procedures, cost, complications, grief and exhaustion this sort of thing is. My condoleances to you and your family

    February 5, 2018
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  29. Cooper
    Cooper

    I am so sorry for your loss, for your husband’s loss, and for all of the red tape and duties that are getting in the way of grieving. I hope that Mr. Jen has some siblings that may be able to at least help you guys with the burden.

    February 5, 2018
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  30. Dawn
    Dawn

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope things go smoothly for you going forward.

    February 5, 2018
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  31. Amber
    Amber

    Right now, you need to do what you need to do for your family and yourself.

    My mom died in her sleep at age 50. I remember the costs (they still make me angry), and I remember the workload, and I remember all the conflicting emotions interrupted by periods of exhausted numbness.

    I won’t presume to say I know how you feel or tell you how to manage your situation. I will just pass on the most useful advice I got at the time: remember to eat, and drink water.

    Best wishes to you and yours. <3

    February 5, 2018
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  32. Jessica Kopp
    Jessica Kopp

    I am sorry for your family’s loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

    February 5, 2018
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  33. Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

    Do what you need to do to get through this and you and your family are in my thoughts.

    February 5, 2018
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  34. Another Amy
    Another Amy

    I helped my mother when she went through the process of cleaning out her parents’ house after they both died. She also had the emotional guilt that comes with throwing away anything that belonged to the person who died. You don’t really need the thing, or want the thing, but you feel badly about getting rid of it because your loved one must have kept it for a reason. One thing that helped was thinking about how many things I have in my house that I really don’t want or care about. We all have so many things that we keep just because it’s easier than getting rid of it. I, for instance, have about 6,000 Christmas decorations and I only care about or use maybe a box or two of them. I think that our loved ones who have died probably also have a lot of stuff in their homes that they weren’t particularly attached to either. Things they were only keeping because it was easy, or they felt obligated to keep it because it was a gift, or because they thought someone could use it eventually, etc. Not everything in my grandparents’ house meant something to them. Most things didn’t, and when my mom and I started thinking about it like that, it was a lot easier to feel less guilt about donating or throwing away their things.

    The minutia that surrounds death—all of the funeral planning, the phone calls to relatives/friends, the paperwork, stopping their mail and magazines, the closing of or transferring of accounts, the closing of their social media accounts, the bills to pay, the insurance to deal with, the house to clean out, the house/car to sell, the paperwork that surrounds any inheritance, the condolences cards to respond to, even maintaining the memorial Facebook page —it can feel so overwhelming and it can definitely act as a block to grieving, or even processing what you are feeling. I understand when you say you mostly just feel numb and like you have acquired several new full-time jobs, none of which pay at all, and all of which come with expenses to pay.

    I will be thinking about you.

    February 5, 2018
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  35. Deanna
    Deanna

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you, no matter how small.

    February 5, 2018
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  36. I was bummed to see another hiatus message, but only because I enjoy this blog so much. So sorry to read about your MIL, and I wish you all the best in healing and moving forward.

    February 6, 2018
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  37. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    My condolences to you and your family.

    February 6, 2018
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  38. Samantha Pistor
    Samantha Pistor

    I am sorry for your loss, Jenny. I hope you and your husband are fine and wish I could do something more than support you through your blog.

    Take your time. Even if you solve all of this quickly, rest and wait until you are ready to blog again. I love your posts and update, but your health always come first. And, if you need a long hiatus in order to recover, so be it. Just be fine.

    Meanwhile, I, one o your fans around the world, will be reading your incredible books and wishing you the best.

    February 6, 2018
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  39. I am so sorry for your loss. I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

    February 6, 2018
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  40. Cat
    Cat

    Thoughts are with you, Mr. Jen, and all those affected by this loss.

    February 6, 2018
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  41. Deepest condolences to you and Mr. Jen for your loss. I hope your full-time jobs will reach their conclusions soon to allow you to grieve properly. Come back when you’re ready. We’re here as needed.

    February 6, 2018
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  42. Gil
    Gil

    Oh dear. Sorry for your loss. Take your time in returning here…
    …also take your time in shopping around for inhumation costs. Many funeral agencies will try to get you to pay out through the nose for their services. Remember that basic cremation with no frills and no expensive coffin IS an option, embalming is optional and not mandatory, and one doesn’t have to break the bank to give our beloved ones their due respects.

    February 6, 2018
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  43. JordieBelle
    JordieBelle

    So sorry for your family’s loss, and in such an unexpected way. I hope there’s the absolute least amount of hassle possible when you’re both so weighed down. Don’t worry about anything to do with the blog. We’ll all be here and grateful when you return. Take care.

    February 6, 2018
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  44. Jessieheels
    Jessieheels

    Oh, Jen. I’m so sorry for your loss and of course Mr Jen. Thoughts with you and your family during your time of sorrow, take care of you also. Bereavement is so much to try to process xx

    February 6, 2018
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  45. Amanda
    Amanda

    I wish the both of you much strength and please don’t forget to take time to decompress.

    February 6, 2018
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  46. Savannah
    Savannah

    I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Jen’s mother . Thank you so much for updating during this incredibly trying time. I’m sending love and good vibes to you and your family and Mr. Jen in particular. Please don’t feel guilty about sporadic posts. You’re a real person and we aren’t monsters demanding constant content. Take your time. Thank you for being you and for sharing parts of your life with us. You are so loved.

    February 7, 2018
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  47. fluffy
    fluffy

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with your family.

    February 7, 2018
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  48. Flo
    Flo

    I’m so sorry to hear this Jenny. We went through a similar thing last year when my father-in-law passed away. It can be very time consuming and stressful. (((HUGS)))

    February 7, 2018
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  49. Elspeth Grey
    Elspeth Grey

    I’m so sorry for you all. I hope that the practicalities work out quickly and you’re able to have the space you need.

    February 7, 2018
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  50. Rebecca Coffindaffer
    Rebecca Coffindaffer

    I’m so so sorry, Jenny. My thoughts are with you and your family. <3

    February 7, 2018
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  51. Jemmy
    Jemmy

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, I can’t imagine how hard it is right now. Make sure you take all the time you need and don’t pressure yourself to do too much before you’re able.

    February 8, 2018
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    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Yeah, I can’t even imagine how Mr. Jen is taking it, being the one to discover his Mom. At least with my Mom’s passing we knew it was coming so I was at least able to say goodbye (read to her the children’s book she used to read to me all the time that I loved as a kid. Even in a non-awake state my brother said she reacted as I read it to her over the phone.) But this would be WAY tougher. My heart goes out to everyone.

      It’s OK to just feel what you feel when you feel it. There are no rules. It just sucks. And it will, until it doesn’t any more. (Or at least less so) Until then:

      **hug**

      February 8, 2018
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  52. Zev
    Zev

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please take care of yourself.

    February 9, 2018
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  53. Amanda
    Amanda

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    February 9, 2018
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  54. Torrin
    Torrin

    My love to you and Mr. Jen and the family. Take all the time you need. We’ll be here when you feel up to it.

    February 9, 2018
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  55. SandorClegane13
    SandorClegane13

    My deepest condolences to you both and your family.

    February 10, 2018
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  56. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    I’m very sorry for your loss and for the frustration you are facing with bureaucracy and uncooperative folks. I love your blog and everything, but your emotional health and peace are far more important than us getting updates, so please do take as much time as you need!

    February 11, 2018
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  57. Miimers
    Miimers

    Never feel bad needing time to deal with something as momentous as a death of a loved one. Keep tweeting your Paypal/ko.fi/whatnot and we’ll keep retweeting it. Entertaining us will wait.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

    February 12, 2018
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  58. Dove
    Dove

    Hey, I’m sorry it took me so long to comment. I’m sorry for your loss and your husband’s. That’s extremely rough, especially when considering all the planning and sifting you’ve had to go through since she died so unexpectedly. 🙁

    About the belongings, I just wanted to say, I’m sure his mother would understand the necessity of the situation. She’d never want you guys to keep anything you didn’t also cherish so try not to feel too guilty about throwing some of her stuff away. I still feel guilty disposing of things I own and no longer care as much about so I understand to some extent. I know that’s kind of a small thing and you really only mentioned having to sort through it but I don’t think she’d want to add clutter to your lives, especially when you’re dealing with her documents and all sorts of preparations as it is. Admittedly, I never met her, but I think most people would agree. We never want to inconvenience the people that we love. 🙂

    I hope you guys are doing okay and I hope the process has gone as smoothly as it can. I hope the rest of your family has been comforting and helpful. I hope you’ve both been able to cope with the stress as well as the grief since this was posted, though I know it’s often a long process and it could take years to deal with the latter. Best of wishes, even if it’s just to get through the day.

    Don’t worry about the updates at all. We’ll be right here, waiting patiently. There’s no rush. Your health and well-being is more important than a free blog.

    February 14, 2018
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  59. Rin
    Rin

    I truly hope you get the love the support your family needs!!

    March 1, 2018
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