A year of saying goodbye

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

A year ago today I was wandering around an older house with my buyer clients and the inspector, taking notes as I normally do at inspections, when my phone rang. I typically ignore the phone when I'm in the middle of something with clients, but I glanced down and saw the number started with a "505", the area code for my dad's city. Six days earlier, Dad had found out he had terminal cancer, and since it was not my Dad's number, I was a bit concerned, and stepped out of the room to answer the phone. My dad had just gone into the hospital, and I had made reservations to go see him the following week. Perhaps he was calling me from the hospital to discuss my trip.


So I answered the phone. That call came from the doctor at the hospital. He kindly told me that my dad had passed away in his sleep that morning. After asking him a few follow-up questions, I hung up the phone and went outside the house where the inspector was doing his normal things, and I sat on the front stoop for a few moments, absorbing the knowledge of my dad's death on this particular day. You see, that day was also my mother's birthday. She had died four years earlier and my dad had missed her terribly. He did the best he could moving forward with his life, but every day he thought of her and spoke of her. And all I could think of was what a wonderful gift this moment was for both of them. I wasn't surprised this was the day my dad left this earth. I could even picture my mom reaching out to him, and my dad's huge smile, and perhaps a chuckle, as he was lifted up to meet her.


So through my tears, I started the business of next steps. I made my phone calls. I changed my airline reservations, flew out, and handled the funeral arrangements and participated in the funeral. Over the past year, I managed the cleaning out of the house, the estate sale, the paperwork, the closing out of my dad's estate and the sale of their home. But most importantly, I've dealt with being an "adult orphan," knowing I am the oldest living person in my original family. I've thought of death and life, of hopes and dreams. I've seen my parents in a slightly different light as I read through journals they left, notes they wrote, and pictures they saved. Life has once again reiterated for me that we are all on this short trip from point A to point B and it is the journey in between that matters. So I have once again promised myself to make every moment meaningful.


In the last year, I did all that needed to be done with my parent's material possessions as I said goodbye to the physical remnants of their lives. Those are all gone. But their actions, words, lessons and deeds will live on in me and my sister for the time we have left here. So I smile this morning as I look up to the heavens, and I wish both my mother and father a fantastic birthday celebration. And I send a virtual hug their way. And then I move on to make today count.



Posted by

Licensed Broker, CBR®


eXp Realty LLC

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904


email: kat@thehousekat.com



406-270-3667 (MT)


facebook    Kat's Homes



Comments (95)

Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

My eyes are filled with tears. My parents are going through their own health challenges. I remember missing 30 missed call from my dad called while I was in a meeting to tell me my mom is diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. It has been a challenging year but we are blessed to still have both of them with us. My hugs and prays to you and your family!! 

Apr 07, 2016 05:06 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Ritu - Wow, your dad definitely wanted to get in touch with you with all those calls! I am happy you have both your parents still; family is everything.

Sep 06, 2016 03:07 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I am sorry for your loss Kat.

Apr 07, 2016 07:18 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Lyn Sims - Thank you for your kind comment.

Apr 08, 2016 07:45 PM
Jack Tenold
Jack Tenold LLC - Spokane, WA
Specializing in Reverse Mortgages

Sorry about your loss.  A moving post that reminds every reader that life is precious and fleeting.  Yes, make every moment as meaningful as possible. 

Apr 07, 2016 09:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Jack Tenold, NMLS 10261 Reverse Mortgage Specialist Washington | Idaho | Oregon | California - refinance & purchase - Thank you; yes, life is precious and fleeting - I couldn't agree more.

Apr 08, 2016 07:46 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Ahh Kat.  This post leaves my heart heavy and tears in my eyes.  I am so sorry for your losses.  Mark

Apr 08, 2016 09:32 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint - Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your thoughts.

Apr 08, 2016 07:46 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Your pain is one that I have not yet felt as both my parents are still around and healthy in their 90's.  I hope I have your strength when that day comes.  Sorry for your loss

Apr 08, 2016 11:11 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Ed Silva - I am happy your parents are healthy in their 90s! That might bode well for your personal future as well!

Apr 08, 2016 07:47 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's a sad and heartwarming story and it must be hard for you to share it.  Great picture of them on the couch having a fun time... I can see the resemblance between you and your mother!  Yes this journey is short and we need to be mindful of every moment along the way.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Apr 08, 2016 01:26 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Georgie Hunter R(S) - Thank you! They did enjoy each other's company immensely and I'm sure they still do. They also lived in Hilo HI for a period of about 10 years and loved that also!

Apr 08, 2016 07:48 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I remember your post from a year ago, time sure flies, doesn't it? When going thru my Daughter's things when she passed away, I was constantly reminded that she was not in those things.  The part of her in my mind and in my heart could not be taken away.  It has almost been 10 years for me now.  I hear her voice everyday and she still pushes me to live every moment of every day.  If I am down in the dumps, she kicks my ...well, you get the picture.  Those memories and the love remain, forever!

Apr 09, 2016 08:52 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Evelyn Johnston - Dealing with the death of a child is a horrible thing. I say that from watching my parents deal with the death of my sister, and my in-laws dealing with the death of their son. Hugs to you, even a decade later. She is near your heart always.

Apr 09, 2016 09:54 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi, Kat.


I included this one in today's Last Week's Favorites.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Apr 10, 2016 04:23 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Kat, that is quite a touching story.  My mom passed away on what would have been my dad's 88th birthday.

Apr 10, 2016 09:04 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Sybil Campbell - Aww, do you think that was intentional? I do!

Apr 10, 2016 09:08 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you Pat for including this in your weekly favorites! I appreciate it.

Apr 10, 2016 09:07 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Kat Palmiotti one of the most difficult part is - letting go some of their belongings. My daughter still loves her grandpa's white sweater!

It is what it is - and we have to move on with life. Glad to see you focused on your business.

Apr 10, 2016 04:39 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Praful Thakkar - I kept some items of course - a painting, some pictures, a crossstitch or two, some letters. But we got rid of a lot of items. And yes, we have to keep moving.

Thanks for commenting!

Apr 10, 2016 08:13 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

This is a sad and sweet story. I'm glad your takeaway is positive. I am more keenly aware than ever at my age that I move up a generation each time a family member older than me passes. It's not something you think about ordinarily.

Apr 10, 2016 11:05 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Jill Sackler - No, it's not something we think of in the normal day-to-day, but definitely comes to mind when people we know pass away. It is a reminder to have MORE fun and enjoy life MORE!!!

Apr 11, 2016 09:32 AM
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Kat...I love the photo of your parents. What a good looking couple. It is sweet to see the happiness they shared with one another. Showing us how to love is one of the best things our parents can give us. I'm so glad for you that you had that example in your life.


Apr 11, 2016 03:38 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Kate Elim - Thank you so much. I remember my mom telling me once, "we still laugh when we bump into each other in the kitchen" and I wasn't sure what she meant at the time. Until I was married and realized that laughing at the day-to-day things when you've been married 30 years (as they had when she mentioned this) was really quite amazing. I'm glad I had that example as well.

Apr 11, 2016 09:33 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

This is very touchy but we all will head that direction.

YOu want to be remembered as a kind person.

I read this blog and concurr it is worth reading again.

Apr 11, 2016 08:42 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Sam Shueh - Thank you for visiting this blog again. We will all head in that direction, and it's okay to think about that. I think knowing our time is limited is the way to make sure every moment counts.

Apr 11, 2016 09:34 AM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

My mom kept so many mementos from our childhood that, when I went through her belongings when she passed away, it was like reliving my childhood. A very tough time. I have now kept much of it for my daughter and my grandsons for when my turn comes to leave this wonderful earth. Thank you for sharing your story.

Apr 11, 2016 11:19 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® - And thank you for sharing as well. I do have some belongings of my parents to enjoy - hopefully my family will also enjoy some of them as well when I am no longer here.

Apr 11, 2016 08:30 PM
Nancy Robinson Ranked #6 in MI
Century 21 Town and Country - Royal Oak, MI
#11 Century21 Realtor in the US, #16 in the World

Mourning is a byproduct of having loving people in our lives who have passed.

Blessed are those who mourn..... 

Means happy are those who grive beacuse they have been really loved.


Apr 11, 2016 12:59 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Nancy Robinson - Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

Apr 11, 2016 08:31 PM
Barry Kessler
Pinnacle Estate Properties, Inc. - Simi Valley, CA
Barry Kessler


I have tears in my eyes.

Beautifully written, sums it all up and ties it with a beautiful bow. 

Thank you!

Apr 12, 2016 01:56 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Barry Kessler - Thank you for taking the time to read, and comment. Here's to making our journeys special!

Apr 12, 2016 08:17 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I remember March 13, 1978 as if it were yesterday. It was my dad's 49th birthday. It was the day my mother died.  Dad passed away in March two years later.  I remember 38 years later.  You never forget.  God bless you, Kat Palmiotti .

Apr 13, 2016 02:03 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Thank you for your comment. No, we never forget. It's sad that your parents died when they were so young but I'm thinking your Dad may have just needed to be with your mom again. 

Apr 13, 2016 03:32 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Beautiful post. I share your hope that they are together celebrating. It's approaching 4 years since I lost my honey and I hope someday that I can celebrate together again. 

Apr 13, 2016 02:11 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner - I believe you can someday celebrate together again- I truly believe my parents are together!

Apr 13, 2016 10:13 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

There is a lot there and a lot going on.  I guess "I am sorry for your loss" is the best thing I can say now.  I do know that many people manage to put off dying until some date or event.  Sounds like that is what your dad did. 

Apr 14, 2016 03:04 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Gene Riemenschneider 

Thank you for your comment. I think my dad may have sped things up instead of holding things off...  He had just found out 5 days earlier that he had terminal cancer. I think he thought, "Happy Birthday to me!" and he was just done with this place.

Apr 14, 2016 07:21 AM