Monthly Archives: May 2014

Been There, Done That

The other night I had the opportunity to meet a fellow new widow.

The new widow was less than three weeks into her journey.  Her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident – a young lady in a car made a turn and crashed into the motorcycle.  He was only 36 when he died. 

It was “nail night” and I was getting my nails done.  The new widow is the cousin of one of the ladies that works at the salon where I get my nails done and was there to get her hair cut.  She was there with her 10-year old son and her “support team” of her mom and her sister.

I recognized the “deer in the headlights” look on her face.  I felt her pain when she said “I can’t afford to lose my job.  I’m a widow with a young son to support.”  

The lady that does my nails introduced me to the new widow by saying that I had also recently lost her “significant other” in a car crash.  The look of understanding in her face bought tears to my eyes.

Her story was similar to mine and Prince Charming’s . . . but more poignant . . . they were high school sweethearts who, with the exception of one small break-up, had not been apart in over 15 years.  They did everything together as a family and the “aloneness” is almost more than she can bear.  

After experiencing all the stuff that people “shouldn’t” say at times like this . . . I did exactly what I’ve told people I wanted them to do for me . . . I hugged her and told her that she wasn’t alone . . . and she hugged me back . . .

I looked at her and instantly saw myself in that position four months ago . . . I wanted to tell her all the stuff other widows have told me along my journey, but I was sure she wouldn’t hear any of it . . . or believe any of it . . . because I’m still struggling to believe it myself.

I saw how far I’ve come in four months . . . and I see how easy it would be to slide backwards . . .

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We Thought We Had Time

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This was taken at Gatlinburg almost 18 months ago.

I found it over the weekend. It’s one of my favorite pictures of us. But it’s almost too painful to look at now.

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Adding Insult to Injury

There are a zillion and one things that have to be done to settle Prince Charming’s estate.

Some of them are simple. Some of them are hard. Some of them are very complicated.

I’ve come to the realization that everything that has to be done concerning his estate is going to be taxing on me mentally and emotionally. Every step forward I make reinforces that this isn’t a horrible dream, that he’s really gone, and he’s not coming back. I get smacked between the eyes with a huge dose of reality.

Most of the time, the people I have to deal with are compassionate and understanding that this is a difficult process for me. That the very fact that he’s gone is hard enough and they do their best to make sure they don’t add to my pain.

And then there’s that ONE company who is hell bent to follow their rules NO MATTER WHAT and have no interest in working with me or making this process any less painful. That ONE company is JP Morgan Chase Bank. Prince Charming had an HSA account with them through his employer. He had just switched to an high deductible plan with an HSA account on January 1. There is approximately $130 in the account. I contacted Chase to let them know about Prince Charming’s death and was instructed to send a letter explaining the circumstances of his death, a copy of the letter of appointment from the local county probate court listing me as executor of the estate and an original death certificate. I was told that the letter should list my name, my address, and a check would be sent to me once they received those documents. I received an answer to that letter on Thursday. The response said they needed ADDITIONAL information from all beneficiaries of the account before the funds would be sent out.

Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t know as much about Prince Charming’s financial affairs as I probably should have. Because of our previous relationships, I respected his privacy and he respected mine. We didn’t ask “those” types of questions. And when I did try to have “those” conversations, he would tell me “we have plenty of time” to have those conversations later. Well, uh, yea, we didn’t . . . so I don’t know who he had listed as a beneficiary on this account. I called the phone number listed on the letter to ask for clarification – because if I need info from Princess Charming and Charming Son, then I need to let them know and I’d like to send it all in at once instead of me sending in my information and then being told they need EVEN MORE additional information. I just want the process to be done as quickly as possible.

The Customer No Service Agent on the other end of the line told me that she “can neither confirm or deny” any information about the account. They can’t/won’t tell me if they already have the death certificate on file, if they have me listed as the executor of the estate, or if there are ANY beneficiaries listed on the account at all. Uh, um, YOU sent a letter specifically addressed to ME requesting information so you must have some idea of who I am. “I understand that ma’am, but I can neither confirm or deny any information about this account.” So I asked for a supervisor . . . and the supervisor repeated the same line as the Customer No Service Agent. At one point the Customer No Service Supervisor said “Ma’am, no one is going to give you that information.” with a decidedly condescending tone. I’ll admit that I was less than nice to these people but that’s because they kept repeating the same line. So I hung up on her.

Being the social media girl that I am, I took my case to Twitter and posted a lovely note on Chase’s twitter feed about how unhelpful they were to a grieving widow. Of course, I got the “I’m sorry for your loss” and “how can I help” spiel. Which I took advantage of. I told my story. Twitter Chase said “call this new number” and they will help. The only problem was “this new number” is the same as the number I called before. But, hey, I’m game. I called the number. I explained the situation. My fiance had an HSA account with Chase through his employer. My fiance was killed in a car crash and I need to close out his account. The first response from New Customer No Service Agent was “Thank you for providing that information. I appreciate that you are helping your fiance, but I can only talk to the account holder.” Uh, yea, that’s gonna be a problem since he’s dead. Like I said earlier, he was KILLED in a CAR CRASH on January 20 of this year. “Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. We need for you to complete a beneficiary designation form to complete this process.” When I explained that I needed to know who (if anyone) was listed as the beneficiaries on the account, New Customer No Service Agent said “You don’t know who he would have listed on the account? I can’t give you that information.” At this point, I knew it was fruitless to continue, so I just hung up on her.

So, now I’m frustrated beyond belief. Twitter Chase said they were going to “submit this for internal review” and apologized for any “inconvenience” I’ve suffered. Twitter Chase then said she couldn’t help me any further. Uh, you didn’t help AT ALL . . .

So I have to play their game. I submit the form and then wait and see what they pull out of their bureaucratic bag of tricks next.

All of this for a simple $103.83.

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