When a friend recently shared his turmoil attending to his late mother's estate, I was relieved our conversation wasn't very long. As my friend spoke I perched on an emotional edge, trying to remain empathic about his pain while simultaneously recalling my own experience as executor of my father's will eighteen years ago. Soon after that conversation, I felt compelled to take a nap.
When I woke, those memories were still surprisingly raw. What I most vividly remembered was the odd ambivalence I felt over those few months. Each time a new task related to Dad's estate needed my attention, I was glad doing it because it kept him in my thoughts. And then, in nearly the same moment, I was profoundly sad because everything I was doing re-confirmed he was truly gone.
In the end, I'm pleased Dad chose me to put his affairs in order. Though as the oldest I was the logical choice, it also felt like a final affirmation of his trust in me. He was always very good at making me feel worthy of that trust.