Looking Through His Documents ….

The days between my son's descent from Shasta and Easter were spent getting the feel of the town he called home his last few months and collecting some of his persona effects that I and my family might want, from his impoverished collection of "things".

Tommy was never a collector, always a net eliminator of possessions, even as a child… guess even years ago he had a different perspective of what was important in life and began seeking a more "spiritual collection" of keepsakes.  For example, he had no T.V. (in fact I can't ever remember him having a tv once he left home), he had a computer that had seen its best day long ago (used one from work),and absolutely no fancy furnishings or trinkets of value. 
Tommy always valued a well-stocked kitchen and tons of sports equipment; he had both in his apartment.

He also had one single file box with all his important papers and documents in perfect order.  At 26, he put me to shame in this regard… like he was the one with the whole life of experience on organizing. 

Checking each file and determining just what had to be done was a job I had to separate from myself to do.  I went through the motions, mechanically, doing what was needed, without stopping to think about "him".  Otherwise I could not have done it.  There was one simple division in taking care of a Canadian's final affairs, a Canadian who was in the U.S. on a one-year work permit, and who lived in CA for a few months before dying there.  And who had no will and nobody appointed to take care of these affairs for him.  So, parents it was.  Dad in the States for all U.S. related requirements and mom in Canada for Canadian dealings.

Not only was Tommy organized in how he filed his papers, he was organized and on top of all that was contained in that file box.  He had no huge outstanding debts, and had taken care in the way he set up loans.  His would be a model for anybody, at any age, who aspired to simplify the clutter in their personal files.  And all at age 26.  Blew my mind a bit.

His car was a bit of a discussion.  I knew its "pedigree", but had to convince others I was right.  "Betsy 2" was a forest green Subaru station wagon with tan interior, standard ignition, and her sole purpose in life was to transport Tom et al to trail heads or wherever else their sport wanderings took them at any time.  And she did a good job of it.  I later came to learn that Tommy was not the only one of the "tribe" with this car; seemed like it was almost a right of passage into the "climbing tribe" to have a car like Betsy 2.

Taking or sending death certificates to a host of organizations, recounting the circumstances of his death to others, all meant just one thing – he wasn't coming home anymore.  No matter how organized all his papers were. Pushing through the minutia to wind down his earthly affairs is one thing; putting it all back in context with his death is quite another matter.  The latter was far harder than I imagined.

Even months later, as calls straggle in and the circle of those needing to know of his death widens, it causes me to pause and think of the futility of it all.  Somebody who could actually rule the whole world, banished from the world just as his prime was about to begin. At times like this when I get these kinds of thoughts, I don't really understand.   Not sure I ever will. 

It has all been a lot to take in, in a few days.  In my mind's eye I keep seeing you when you came down the mountain – lying there, motionless, all your climbing gear still on.  Because if I don't keep seeing you this way, my mind just might refuse to believe you are dead.  But I see your body, so I know you're not coming home anymore. 

"Love you Tommy, I never blamed you for anything in life, and I don't blame you now.  I miss you. I love you always.  If you ever need anything or want anything done, you know I'll do it.  I'm the right one for that. Just let me know.  And give me what I need to do it."   Wow.  Where did that come from?  Straight from the heart. And I mean every word of it.

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