12 March 2008

Embarrassing, but True

I have been paying for John's cell phone for the past eleven months. Needless to say, he hasn't been using it. I have actually called and left him a few messages (?), but it seems silly for me to be paying for access to my dead husband's voice mail.

When I was on leave for six weeks after John died, I took care of a lot of business-type things like changing the name on some bills, taking John's name off of our bank accounts, etc. I didn't get around to taking care of the phone situation partly because I just didn't get to everything and partly because we have a good friend who works for our cell provider who was going to help me out.

Well, our friend was busy and the months dragged on and finally I just decided to take matters into my own hands. Today.

I forgot how draining it is to deal with this. The first person I talked to didn't handle the kind of account I have. Here is a snippet of the next conversation I had:

"Well, ma'am, to remove that line you'll need to have John call us and . . . "
"He can't call you. You see, he's dead."
"Oh. Sorry. You know, my dad had a heart attack three weeks ago, and . . . "
[five minutes of her personal saga]
"Let me transfer you to the department that handles deaths."

Three transfers later, I got the right person, a very kind and sympathetic person who deleted the account. Of course, if I had not specifically asked, the bill would still be in John's name. Hello? He is dead. We covered this. Could you please send the bill to me, the only person now on the account? Sheesh. Good lord. I feel like someone beat me over the head with a large, blunt object.

On the upside, I finally contacted the social worker from the oncology practice where John was a patient. I met with her a few times just before John died and really liked her. As it would happen, she has offices right down the street from my work. I'm going to set up an appointment to go in and see her; my next call is to go through some kind of registration that will allow me to book the appointment. I'm not sure I'm up to that right now, but if not today, tomorrow.

18 comments:

erk said...

Duuuude, you rock.

Sylvie said...

Good progress, I hope the social worker appointment goes well too. Sounds like it's just a good time to do it.

amber said...

sounds like you're taking some important steps in continuing to get things back in order. lots of love to you as i can't imagine any of this is easy.

Dorcasina said...

Good for you for calling the social worker! It WILL be good for you, too.

And I kept our (shared) old cellphone that scarcely worked for at least 1.5 years, b/c it had my husband's outgoing greeting on it, and I knew it would be erased if I upgraded. I used to call it in the middle of the night.

A kind technophile friend made me a computer file AND a CD of it, so I got a new phone. One cannot push these things! They happen when you are ready. And it amazes and appalls me that people in the various "death departments" are always so clueless and obtuse, although I suspect it's not a popular gig...

Hang in there, girl. It does start to feel a little less bleak, and a little less hopeless.

BrooklynGirl said...

The fact of those phone calls breaks my heart.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I dealt with dimwits changing names on accounts when getting divorced and that was bad enough. You would think that when you mention that your husband has died they could get their acts together a bit better !

moo said...

Good work calling the social worker. Hope she helps you find some peace.

Julia said...

This sounds draining. i hope you got a latte afterwards.
Good going on calling the social worker. My insurance now covers some mental health appointments, and I have not yet called to set up with the great therapist we saw once last year and paid out of pocket. Beh.

Rachel said...

Dealing with all the details must be so hard. I am glad you are reconnecting with the social worker, though.

buddha_girl said...

I'm so very proud of you.

You're asking for help and support.

You also didn't mangle those fucktards from the cell phone place.

See? Very proud.

Duchess said...

I hope that the social worker helps. Hugs

FunnyGal KAT said...

When my dad calls my phone, a photo of him and my mom comes up on the screen (my mom died four years ago). I picked this cell phone specifically because they could transfer all the photos from my old one onto it. (Not trying to make this about me, just want you to know I understand...)

Sorry people made canceling the account so difficult for you.

Catizhere said...

I kept my Dads answering machine and I still play it whenever I miss him. He's been gone for 12 years now.

"Hello. You have reached 610-461-****. Sorry I can't take your call right now (sob), Leave a message & I'll talk to you soon."

Kizz said...

You are on a bootstrap pulling up roll! Awesome. Or, (and I can say this to you since you're in MA) WICKED awesome. :)

OTRgirl said...

It seems like there should be some service for a widow or widower where they take care of all those calls for you. What a headache to still have to be dealing with that stuff.

I'm glad you called the social worker. I remember how important it was just to have a place where it was ok for it to be ALL about me without any guilt about that.

Christal said...

My mom died 7 years ago...I had her mail forwarded to me, and about two weeks after she died, she got a credit card in the mail. I called to tell the company she would not be activating it, explained that she had died, and the lady immediately said "Can we please speak to Eileen to verify her identity?" I SCREAMED into the phone "No you can't because she's DEAD!!!!!"

Kind of funny now at how clueless people can be, but how traumatizing at the time. I understand your experience!

Kendra's mom said...

Good on you for seeing the social worker. Force yourself to get through the registration process, I am sure you will be glad once it is done.
Have you ever read the book Anybody out there? by Marian Keyes? It doesn't sound like you really have much time to read, not with 2 busy toddlers, but you might find it an interesting read. The phone story made me think of it. You could probably identify with the main character quite a bit.
I just read your sleep post too. Man, that really sounds hard, to put it mildly. Not just the waking up but that they wake up terrified. Do you have access to anyone who does play therapy for kids? Maybe ask the social worker, it might help them.

clueless carolinagirl said...

I sent an email to a friend who had died, before they deleted her account. It was cathartic I guess. I poured out all my feelings for her in that email. Hope she got it.