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Opinion: What to do first, who to call and then?

Anyone familiar with the classified pages of The Madera Tribune should know I am a Notary Public. My display ad is featured in every edition of the newspaper. I have served the California Secretary of State in this capacity since 1990. I thank the law firm of the late Lester J. Gendron for the privilege of this appointment.

Before coming to the Tribune to fulfill my Lois Lane fantasies, I worked for his former wife, Virginia S. Gendron, and their daughter, Stefanie Gendron Eddings, pretending I was Della Street.

During my first year with the firm, I successfully applied and became a notary.

The work is not especially taxing, and since leaving the law offices, I have maintained my commission. For the last few months being a Notary has been my saving grace.

The morning after the death of my husband Fred, I received a call from the owner of a local car dealership needing my services. At that point, I was trying to decide what I needed to do regarding my husband’s remains.

Don’t get me wrong, I am usually the person who goes with bereaved friends and family members to make the “arrangements.”

I know how to do the job. But at that time I was beside myself. What to do first, who to call and then what? I made appointments with Jay Chapel and Madera Cemetery District, so that part was covered.

Knowing how much Fred hated funerals, there was no need to wait for service information because we would have no service.

The call requesting notary service, in essence, broke the paralysis I was experiencing. Finally, a course of action that never varies. Get up, get dressed, drive to the dealership, notarize whatever documents the client needs and so forth.

My next stop was at my cousin Rick Dorris’s house to start making the rest of the phone calls. It’s shocking to read on social media about the death of a loved one. Telephone calls with the news are not much easier to take.

Since I was Fred’s only family, it was my people and our friends who needed to be notified.

I called my cousin in Tennessee and asked her to inform her parents, my favorite aunt and uncle. I called my brother in Twain Harte to break the news to him. After a few more calls, I went on Facebook and made the announcement.

The only other trappings of a normal funeral were to write my man’s obituary. Again, something I know how to do. My colleagues at the Tribune put together a fabulous tribute to Fred and me that ran underneath his obit.

I have received a great many condolences from the community and my friends in Madera. Thank you, one and all, for touching my heart in this way.

Now, if I don’t drown in all the paperwork associated with ironing out our affairs, I should be ok. My days playing Della Street have been quite helpful.

Looking around my house, I have concluded that I don’t own our stuff; our stuff owns me.

I plan to clear all the junk out of my life as soon as possible. Yard sale, yard sale, coming to a site near you.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix at or @tamijonix on Twitter.


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