Ever since getting the call on Friday from my mother about the state of her and especially my father, I’ve been mentally scrambling to figure out how to raise the money, get affairs in order when I have to leave and other issues that, in the pain of grief, I probably will not be thinking clearly about.
I’m feeling a little better now because in planning things out I know a lot of panic issues have been avoided, because there were assumptions I had about travel in times of grief that don’t apply today.
The first thing I learned is most airlines don’t have bereavement fares anymore. I was disappointed when I learned that because I figured having to get a short notice flight, especially with grief, a person would be taken advantage of. However, I’m planning all this out to try an avoid that. What I found as a good option for an out of pocket expensive sudden flight is using your airline points if you have them. It was a surprise to me that I had points available, which, on the formula I saw the airline my credit card is with, would give me a free one way trip.
I don’t have enough for a round trip ticket at the moment, but I could purchase points or use the card more often to earn points. In thinking though the possibilities, right now I’m probably going to use the points for the one way ticket. The sad reality is, and I’m sorry but I need to have gallows humor to deal with some of this, there will be another shoe that will drop and that will be a harder situation to deal with because that will have me dealing with a lot of things alone as the only heir to the estate, such as it is. So while I’m planning, I need to make sure the network is set up so when I’m faced with this happening again I’m even more prepared.
My parents don’t live near a major airport hub. The closest airport is in Columbia SC, but it still over an hour drive to their town. I thought about renting a car but the price of renting is pretty steep. Also, when I factored in the one way ticket, I didn’t want to deal with trying to find a rental place in their town to return the car.
Something I just saw I didn’t mention, which will make sense for the rental car issue, is I decided for the return trip to take a bus. It will be about two days to return back, but the cost of the bus, at the high end, will be $200. That is manageable for me now. I was tempted to take the bus round trip, but I know when I get the news, I’m not going to want to take two days on the road and end up at the end of the trip miserable then face the family. I know if I took two days to get there, they will gossip as to why I wasn’t there right away. Better to get there early.
I was able to see that Greyhound has two trips, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, that will get me into town and, what shouldn’t be a surprise but it was, they have Uber drivers. From the bus terminal to my parent’s house isn’t that far. Between bus fare and Uber the cost from the airport to their house is less than $40.
Once I’m at the house I’m sure I’ll do a lot of traveling and will be using one of the cars.
This plan helps a lot because there’s no telling when I will leave. I didn’t lock things down with an airline because if the plans changed I didn’t want to pay steep fees for flight changes. The bus fare is reasonable no matter the time and it is only a 10 minute drive from the house to the bus station. While it will be a two day ride back home, that might be what I need to decompress.
Now, how I’ve planned things at the moment is for a sudden emergency. When I mean sudden, I’m talking about the dreaded call coming within a month. Hopefully, that won’t happen and I can breathe and possibly come up with other options.
I’m doing a lot of organizing to keep myself busy. I’m gotten over the initial weight of the information and in getting this information gathered I’m not as panicked and stressed as I was days ago when I was certain I had no plan on how I was going get everything in order. What I’m doing is taking the procedures I would do for a trip and apply to this task. Unfortunately it not a pleasant idea to think about but I’m sure that’s what blocked me from working on this earlier. I always have nervous anticipation when I go on a trip. I go over the checklist in my head and, importantly, I have a set date when I’m leaving.
This planning is different because I don’t know when it will happen and when I get the word it’s not going to be pleasant.
What I’ll be working on in the next few weeks will be the trauma kit. I still have my 20+ years travel through Europe backpack which barely makes regulations on flights. Trips to the 99 cents store and Walmart will be made to get fresh clothes and the like for the bag. I want to have things set so when I get the call and I’m away from home, I can head back to the house and to the shutdown procedures before leaving. I don’t want to think about what to pack. When the shutdown procedures are complete I want to grab and go. That’s how I do my vacation and that’s how I want to run this.