Our house is not a house where you can immediately put your hands on any given bill, document or certificate. There are a number of places these pieces of paper might be - the filing boxes, the magical coffee table, the make-up desk, the catch all kitchen table - but there is no guarantee that they will reside where they should. Looking for something requires a certain amount of patience and a large pinch of good luck. Since Liane has died I've been expected to know where everything from birth certs to car ownership manuals live. Each search makes me smile and sad in equal measure.
What I've found much more tough about the whole administrative and numbingly practical side of her death is the amount of paperwork needed. First up was the funeral planning, then the burial, then closing bank accounts, then cancelling insurances, then shutting down her phone, then selling the car and now dealing with the Revenue. Each step has presented another set of choices/demands to be made by a person deep in grieving, with a vague focus and an unsteady hand; me.
Despite offers of support from every friend and family member I feel these things need to be tackled head on for two reasons - 1) I'm her husband. I think it is part of that role for me to be doing this. That sounds odd when I write it down but there's a stubborn loyalty and possessiveness about me doing it. 2) It will make me stronger.
When all dust settles I will need to be able to function alone - to do my shopping, to clean my house, to go to work, to live a life like the people around me. The more I face that now, the more I get closer to being able to live that life. And while it is not a life I wanted it is the life I have got and I'm going to make a damn good go of it, albeit swamped in paper with the same filing systems that failed me as a teenager/young adult.