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One Psychological Drama After Another*

What a difference a year makes. It was a year ago on my birthday (Tuesday) that my friend, Regina, was diagnosed with breast cancer. By autumn my optimisim was fading, and by March she was dead. As executor of her estate, the past few months have been full of twists and turns I never would have expected. In a morbid way, this is probably good practice for me as I’m also going to be executor of my parents’ estate (but I’m not going to let them put me in that position for a long, long time). Still, I don’t wish this role on anybody.

There have been so many complexities that I never anticipated since this process began.

First,  cleaning out a deceased friends personal belongings is rough – especially when there are still surviving family members (a brother, a niece, a nephew, and some aunts and uncles). It’s hard enough having to sort through things and discover personal items, but it’s even more difficult to determine what may (or may not) have sentimental value to certain people. Even worse, while she was alive, I heard horror stories about some of her extended family members. Yet those very same (non-immediate) family members somehow got my number and have begun asking for certain “items” of sentimental value, claiming how close they were to Regina (when, in fact, I knew they weren’t close at all). I find it disgusting that people would lie just to get a ring or a certain table cloth.

Second, life insurance people or retirement account people are liars. I filled out paperwork for Regina’s life insurance and retirment account pay-outs in the first week of March. They told me it takes about 5-10 days for the check to be cut.  It’s now nearly June and I’ve still not received the money. I’ve received some…a very small amount…but after 3 months of mortgage payments, car payments and condo fees, the money is running low.

Third, since Regina’s mother also died of cancer just 6 months before Regina was diagnosed, I’m also dealing with the sale of her house in upstate New York. Regina’s brother, Larry, has been helping me with that transaction – but it’s been complicated fom the get-go. First, we got an offer on that house (after a year being on the market) the day of Regina’s memorial. However, the courts hadn’t approved my position as executor yet so I wasn’t technically supposed to sign anything. I was finally approved as executor last week and now we need the state of New York to approve me, too (since the property is in that state…and I’m not). Then, I’ve been trying to reach Larry for the past three weeks but he hasn’t been returning my calls. Worried, I spoke with the attorney yesterday only to find that Larry had been in a major motorcycle accident, severely injuring both of his legs and putting him in the hospital (he’s still there). The closing documents were supposed to be FedEx’d to me before I head to Chicago – but now I’m not sure what’s going to happen because I leave on Saturday and won’t have the documents before then.

Fourth, Regina’s condo is finally cleared out and we have a buyer. First they wanted the furniture…now they don’t. I’ve got just under 3 weeks to get it all out of there (sold? donated?) and I’m not available any weekend before then. So, my weeknights will likely be a bit chaotic in June.

Fifth, and this is where the vicious cycle is so infuriating, I need to sell Regina’s car. However, she was still paying a loan on it. So, before I can sell it, it needs to be paid off so I can get the title. But I can’t pay it off until I get the retirment/insurance money (since the money in her bank accounts has been exhausted over the past three months).

There are even more complications that I can’t blog about because of confidentiality reasons. But trust me….I could write a novel that would be more unbelievable than a Danielle Steele story. I’m serious! This real-life complicated story includes sex, drugs and even murder (and, no, my friend was not a drug addict or murderer). But really, what else could you ask for in a good read? No wonder her therapist inappropriately asked me to give her Regina’s writings so she could publish them. I’m so disgusted by her request, which she actually proposed to me at Regina’s memorial service,  that I’m just going to avoid her.

Yep – I really need this trip to Chicago.

*Lyrics from an Erasure song.


  1. Comment by matt on May 26, 2005 3:25 pm

    Sorry that has been so rough. Tho, I don’t think it could have ever been easy! Have a great time in Chicago and just relax! You need to do that because you are so very old now.

  2. Comment by Brad on May 26, 2005 4:09 pm

    Here’s hoping it all comes to a conclusion VERY soon! and you can go out and celebrate.

  3. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on May 27, 2005 3:32 am

    aiy yi yi. you are a saint. we’ll entertain you here at the leatherfest. ;-p

  4. Comment by Scooby on May 27, 2005 9:27 am

    Hey Karl, Will from Designerblog said you were going to IML, so of course I had to come and look at your blog. Just read a few entries – your life seems pretty… uh… I was going to say ‘entertaining’ but I’m not sure it’s the right choice of word here 🙂 Anyhow, maybe I’ll see you at IML. I’ll be the guy in a harness 😉

  5. Comment by David on May 27, 2005 9:44 am

    Arhh. You’ve done so well! But oy! what a mess.
    I wouldn’t worry about trying to sell the furniture, see if Frans place, or Big Brothers/Big sisters will take it—at this point try to minimize your stress.
    If you need help you can just call.

    Hmm, commenting on above…..Scooby in a harness. Sounds interesting. Take pictures.

  6. Comment by Erica on May 27, 2005 4:14 pm

    Hey Karl, let me know if I can help with the furniture stuff. I am free next weekend – I could staff a 1-afternoon furniture open house or something, or a 1-evening, esp. if we could put digital pics up in advance. I’d just hang out & read. I’d say just donate it all and get it picked up but it seems the cashflow might help for paying the car loan off.

    Also I can’t believe the therapist! CAN. NOT. BELIEVE.

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