Well, the week is finally over and I survived...only one meltdown in the shower at the gym at work, but other than that, I successfully completed an entire week at work. I’ve been taking care of a lot of financial stuff these last few weeks since the trust is finally set-up. Yeah, the trust where we started together a year and half ago, but never finished since life kept getting in the way, and we never made it a priority (I mean, it wasn’t like either of us expected or planned to die anytime soon!! Hindsight is 20/20!!), so it continued to sit in the back burner while the lawyer kept trying to get us to finish so he could get paid! Yup, that’s the one. When we started, the trust was called ‘The SYC and SBC Living Trust.’ By the time it was completed, it was ‘The SYC Living Trust.’ Just like that, your name was gone like you never existed and I was never married. In the eyes of the law and institutions, I’m just a person whose marital status is ‘single,’ but I faithfully wear a wedding ring on my finger and have an odd last name for an Asian person! When I went to change my beneficiary designation on my 401k, it said you had to sign a spousal consent form, but my only option to the question, “Are you still married to SBC?” was “yes or no.” I kept looking for a button that says, widow. But there wasn’t, so I of course have a problem with it and refused to check “no”; instead, I emailed our HR department and said, “my husband died, so technically I’m still married, but I’m trying to change my beneficiary designation but it keeps asking for a spousal consent form. Please advise how I circumvent the spousal consent form since he already passed away and can't sign the form.” They responded with, “Please check ‘No’ to the question that asks if you are still married.” I decided it wasn’t worth the fight so I reluctantly checked the ‘No’ button and shunned Fidelity for not having a widow option. I mean, they're in the business of retirement for god's sake--they of all people should understand people grow old and die. I'm sure they see it all the time and they don't have a 'widow' button. How insensitive!!
Yesterday, I decided it was time to take care of some of the lingering things from your death like mailing your death certificate to your credit card companies. I had completely forgot all about this since I had a whole team of people and support network who took care of everything for me after you passed. I didn’t have to do anything except plan your funeral services, grieve, and go to therapy. My sister was my security guard / bouncer / assistant and managed the hell out of my schedule so there was always someone with me to take care of me and the animals. She also took care of notifying your credit card companies, my family, our friends, answered my phone when I couldn't talk or speak anything coherent or sane, and anything else that came up or needed to be done while she was here. LH took care of the hospital, coroner, donor network, and notifying both our work (yup, he really had to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty!!). YA came over everyday for the first couple of weeks to make sure I was okay and take care of whatever errands needed to be done around the house or whatever the aunties needed (I think he just like the good home cooked Asian food!!). JO visited and brought bedding, pillows, and towels so we didn’t have to go buy anything since we didn’t have enough of these things for everybody (I mean, how often do we have like 5-10 people staying with us at the same time?!), and she called me regularly to check up on me and curse the universe with me. My parents and aunties made sure I was always fed and didn't lay in bed and cry for too long. (It was just very 'unbecoming' to them. They didn't understand that type of behavior--it just wasn't part of their DNA, so I always had to come out of the room and make sure I let them know I was strong and going to make it through this tragedy--whether I believed it or not, I had to find the strength to pretend.) Someone was always taking care of the babies. My work had resources that took care of notifying the social security administration and the credit bureaus. SL is taking care of probate, which is still on-going. Friends near and far came to visit, brought food and dinners, sent flowers and cards, and reached out to send their thoughts and condolences. SC and MP came and stayed with me for a month so I wouldn’t have to be alone in the house (cause the thought of it scared the s*** out of me!! Remember how I was scared of everything after you passed. Breathing didn’t seem possible and living without you was completely unimaginable and unbearable.) You know how they say, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, it literally took like five villages to support and take care of a widow! I was lucky and fortunate to have such a strong support network, valuable resources at my disposal, and a very understanding and sympathetic workplace that offered a lot of resources and a very generous bereavement policy. I was able to take an entire month off of work without ever touching my PTO days, and when I returned, I was able to work a flexible schedule that allowed me to work and continue on my journey and grief process. So, shortly after you passed, I literally didn’t have to do anything but grieve, reflect, and process. That was all I had to do, nothing else. There was always someone who took care of me and everything else. So, I had the luxury of just laying in bed and crying my eyes out for days and months.
So, what can I say?! I completely forgot about sending your death certificates to the credit card companies. And when I remembered, I didn’t even want to do it myself. I thought about asking someone else to do it but I didn’t want to burden anybody else with ‘my dead husband’s affairs.’ So, yesterday, I finally decided that it was time--no more excuses (I mean it was at least a couple of weeks of simmering before I could do it)!! But, in order to get the paperwork organized, I had to go through a big pile of mail that I’ve neglected and set aside to deal with later. After coming across multiple bank statements from BofA, I realized I hadn’t notified them of your passing either. So, I called BofA and waited ½ an hour to talk to someone for 10 minutes, so he could tell me that he can’t help me and the department that handles this type of stuff is closed for the day!! (Hence, I never understood why you bank at BofA!! They will charge you for sneezing in the bank!!) When the customer service rep finally came on the phone, I said, “I’m calling on behalf of my husband,” he said, “Is your husband there? We still need to talk to the account holder.” I said, “Well, he’s a little busy right now. He’s in heaven (yes, I’m assuming you’re in heaven. I mean, where else would you be, right?!--but only you know where you are)!!” Anyways, I was in a zone, and I just went and found every piece of mail and paperwork to start purging and organizing. Yup, it looks like Konmari is back from vacation / hibernation and is ready to hit the ground running. I was on a roll, so I woke up this AM and just kept purging paperwork. I went through the drawers and drawers of paperwork and mail you had all over the house. I found every piece of paper in the house and either purged or organized. Did you know you had junk mail from 2012?! I told you, you’re such a hoarder and you didn’t even know it!! I also found the pink slip to Lexi (another jackpot find!!) and the memorial program from your grandma’s memorial services. Did you know her memorial services was exactly 12 years from the day you passed?! I wasn’t sure what to make of it--I just sat there, stunned, on the floor, knee-deep in papers, and almost started to cry. Was it a coincidence or was it a sign? I have no clue!! I started to remember what you said about your grandmother the week before you passed. I was working on a collage for your mom’s surprise 70th birthday party, and you saw a photo of you and your grandmother at your high school graduation. You told me how much she meant to you and how much you missed her. You said she was your world and what you wouldn’t give to see her again. I guess, you are with her now. Maybe she wanted to see you again also. I hope your reunion is amazing and she is making your heart full and complete, so that you’re not grieving and sad that you had to leave me and your mom behind. Well, you're surrounded by all the ladies in your life in heaven also, your great-grandma, your grandmothers, and your step-mom. I guess they all missed you and wanted you to be with them. They couldn't bear to be without you any longer. They probably concocted a plan together to bring their favorite with them. So, needless to say, I lost some steam after that--I still have two more bags of your paperwork to go through. I hope to finish the paperwork purging and organizing by tomorrow.
I knew I had to say thank you to everybody for their love, support, and thoughtfulness, but in all honestly, I just couldn’t find the heart or strength to do it. There was also a stack of sympathy cards and cards that came with the flowers that I also wanted to send thank you notes for. But, I just couldn’t do it. It always felt so inundating every time I thought about it. I just told myself that if I didn’t send thank you notes this time, people would give me a pass. I mean, my husband did just die, and I can barely breathe or pick up the pieces to my life, so I’m sure people would understand if I didn’t send them a thank you note this time. But, it was always on the back of my mind, and I couldn’t find the heart to throw away the sympathy cards. I was obsessed with going into the craft room and staring at the stack of sympathy cards. I would always let out a deep sigh and say to myself, “If you aren’t going to send thank you cards, why are you still holding onto these cards?! Throw them away!” But I couldn’t throw them away, I couldn’t stop staring at them, and I couldn’t send out thank you notes. You know how I like to send out personalized handwritten thank you notes, so the thought of writing so many thank you notes at one time just felt so overwhelming and inundating, but how can I not send out thank you notes?! I mean, this was the lowest point in my life, and people dropped their lives and rushed to my aide at the drop of a dime. How can I be so overwhelmed with appreciation for the outpouring of love and support and not thank people for dropping their lives and coming to my rescue and catching me before I fall on the ground and shatter into a million pieces?! I knew in my heart I had to say thank you, but I just didn’t know why I couldn’t do it or why I didn’t want to do it or why I never made it a priority. So, I finally decided to move the stack of cards to the dining room table. I thought, “Maybe if I saw them everyday, it would empower me to send out thank you cards and thank everybody for their love, support, and thoughtfulness or just throw them all away and continue telling myself that everybody would understand and give me a pass this time if I didn't send them thank you cards." Another week or so passed before I finally decided to send out electronic thank you cards yesterday. It definitely wasn’t my style to send out a mass electronic thank you card, but it was the only way I could get it done without feeling overwhelmed or inundated. It was my compromise between not sending a thank you card and sending a personalized handwritten thank you card. As I was getting ready to hit send, it felt a little odd that I was sending the thank you note so late in the process, like it was so long after it all happened, what would these people think about me?! That I was totally ungrateful and waited almost four months to say "Thank you for dropping your life to love and support me?!" I'm sure most people already went on with their lives and probably didn't even remember that you're not here anymore. (I mean, how could I blame them for that?! That's how it was for me when it wasn't part of my story!) But, I realize now after writing about it, how could I have said thank you for your love and support when my husband died any sooner when I only realize you died and wasn't coming home until just last week? How could I say it any sooner when I was too scared to face and confront my new reality. To me, you just died last week Babe! (and i'm still in disbelief that it happened and that this is my story!) The rest of the time, you were on a business trip! So, I'm sure it might be odd to get a thank you note almost four months later, but I guess it's better late than never, right?! (For weddings, its customary to send thank you notes within six months after you get married. So, I'm not sure what the rule is for your when your husband died, I didn't google it, but I'm almost 100% positive the response would be ¯\_(ツ)_/. So, if I was to take the wedding rule, I'm still within the six months, so I think I'm good!!) I’m sure I missed a lot of people, especially those who I couldn’t read their writing, or don’t know, or don’t have contact info for. (So, to those I missed, please forgive me - I chop it up to widow’s brain!! I can’t remember much nowadays!). So, sending out thank you notes any earlier was completely impossible because you didn't die, you were just on a business trip!! It was just too hard to bare or fathom that this was my new reality. It's still a little impossible to bare or fathom now, but I've learned to cope and manage the disbelief and pain better now, I guess!!
I know, I got a lot done yesterday!! Today was eventful also but i’m ready to pass out so, i’ll tell you about it later. I love you mucho!
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.