Mail has been rolling in for Mom since her passing. I recently received two letters from Capital One (one for each of her card with them) giving their condolences and then basically asking if she had any money in an estate to pay the balances. I called them and told them the truth– she hadn’t worked in almost 15 years, did not collect disability or social security, and was fully supported by my dad. A couple letters came in from HSN where Mom did most of her shopping since she was mostly confined to home. She hadn’t driven for a while and they were down to one car which my dad used for work, so her main way of staying busy was to shop online. She did a lot of FlexPays, which for anyone who doesn’t know, is basically a payment plan over a few months. Although I had called HSN to let them know of her passing, apparently someone in the FlexPay department never got the message. The letters stated that her payment method had rejected the payment and therefore, she had to pay the balance.
For some reason, reading these letters stung. Not because it was a reminder that she was gone, but because of how much it meant to her to keep her accounts in good standing. She loved the things she bought, even if she didn’t open half of them. She took pride in being able to buy things for herself or people she loved. Seeing these letters was like a slap in the face. All of the time she had spent carefully planning how much she could spend (my parents were not rich by any means, especially with all the medical bills) and planning the FlexPays and picking out what she wanted, her smiling face behind that computer screen and on the other end of the telephone as she told us what she had purchased… All gone in the matter of a month. It pains me to think how upset she would have been had she been alive to see those letters (then again, if she were alive, the letters wouldn’t have arrived, but… that’s not the point.)
So I added those letters to my pile of places to call on her behalf. Dad told me to not to bother with some of the places, but I feel like I need to call. I feel like I need to let these people know that Mom is not skipping out on her debts, she’s not being irresponsible, she’s just simply not here anymore. The thought of her name being smeared by unpaid accounts hurts, because it was keeping track of those very accounts, those due dates and payments, that made her so happy.
Perhaps to some this is a little over-dramatic, but it was in those last few years that it was all she really had left. It was equivalent to going into her bedroom and seeing that Dad had gotten rid of the 40-year-old bed to make room for things to be sorted out. It was a bed that she held on to so dearly, even when the springs were protruding through and it sunk off the sides of the box spring like an over-filled muffin tin. So many times both my sister and I had tried to give her a new bed– even in early July, when Chef and I went to get a new bed, I offered her our old one which was only a couple years old, and still, she refused.
Everything means something to someone, even if it means nothing to most people. My to-do lists, the clutter on my desk, the stupid stapler I own with the flowers on it, the dragon figurines that adorn almost every shelf in my house, they mean the world to me. But when I’m gone? They’ll be tossed like they should never have existed in the first place.
My only hope is that wherever she is and whatever she’s doing, she understands…