free

On Friday afternoon, I FedExed a package containing two checks - the sending of which concludes, at long last, the execution of my dad's estate. I finally finished. The process took much, much longer than it should have, and that's entirely my fault. Somewhere along the way (towards the beginning), I froze. Each step - each document to be signed, call to be made, account to be settled - seemed insurmountable. A towering wall I couldn't even fathom trying to climb. It got so bad that I would have panic attacks when faced with even the simplest task, like responding to a quick email from my attorney. If Terence hadn't helped me with the last few exchanges, I don't know how I would have gotten through.

The emotions stirred up by the whole process were crippling. I felt resentment at having to handle the whole massive financial affair by myself, me who can barely manage my checkbook. I felt anger at my father for the way he'd set things up, obligating me to make distributions to my estranged older brother (not a particularly complicated process, but one fraught with all kinds of deep-seated familial issues). And I felt terror at the thought of doing things wrong. But rather than plow through quickly to get all this negativity behind me as soon as possible, I self-sabotaged and moved excruciatingly slow. It wasn't until I was near the end that I realized why: when it was over, when everything was wrapped up, filed, disbursed, and done - that would mean, undeniably, that he was really gone.

He's been dead for two and a half years, of course. He's been gone for a while.

But while the estate was open, while responsibilities pertaining to my dad remained, some part of him still felt present. As if he was sitting quietly on my shoulder, overseeing. If not guiding, waiting. Expecting. Whether he approved of my choices or not didn't matter. He was with me.

To dot the last i and cross the last t is to set him free.

The swell of relief I anticipated feeling when I finished hasn't come. There's just a matter-of-fact emptiness. Well, that's that I guess. So I'm trying to just enjoy that quietude, the absence of buzzing tension I've lived with since he died. Though on Friday night Terence and I did go to Peking Tavern for some celebratory fried chicken and pot stickers, and that was nice.

Just us two.