Follow up to Check’s in the Mail – Maybe

Alternatively called, “People are Stupid.”

So I talked to the life insurance people…finally. A snapshot of the conversation:

ME: I didn’t receive the letter or the form I need to fill out for the rest of the policy payment.

PERSON: That doesn’t make sense.

ME: Well, I got the first check, but not the letter. Can you resend the letter?

PERSON: Why wouldn’t you have it? We sent it to you.

ME: Well, you know the USPS (uncomfortable laugh by me). I got the check, but not the letter. Can you just resend the letter and the form I need to fill out?

PERSON: Well, how did you get the check and not the letter?

ME: Um, I don’t know. Were they sent in the same envelope?

PERSON: Of course not. They were sent a week apart. But if you got one, why wouldn’t you get the other?

ME: Can you just resend the letter and the form?

PERSON: I guess so, but why don’t you have the letter and the form?


PERSON: There’s no reason to get upset. I just don’t understand.

ME: Look, I need the letter and the form. You have the letter and the form. I don’t know where the hell that envelope is and frankly, I don’t care. I just need you to resend.

PERSON: Fine. I’ll resend. This just doesn’t make sense. Can I confirm your address? (Repeats address correctly) Well, that’s where we sent it – you got the check, so why don’t you have the letter?

ME: Look, I don’t know. It’s lost. Can you put another copy in the mail and send it to the address you just read to me?

PERSON: Well, I don’t know what good that will do if you aren’t getting your mail.

ME: Then send by FedEx or UPS.

PERSON: Well, we really don’t do that…

ME: And that’s why I don’t have it…  


What the hell?! Bets on whether or not I get the letter and form?

Check’s in the Mail – Maybe

I got home late last night, around 9:00. It was a late work night, followed by a few errands. (Sidenote: I’m traveling to NYC to meet with fashion editors next week for work – I’m a little stressed about what to wear, and of course, couldn’t find ANYTHING while shopping last night. Funny how you can never find what you want when you HAVE to find it.)

Came home, phone chat with a friend, went through the mail. There it was… an envelope from our life insurance company. I picked it up. I set it down. I picked it up. I set it down again. Then I opened it.

It’s weird, holding a check with that many numbers, knowing that the only reason you have it is because someone is dead. Then I realized that the amount wasn’t right. It wasn’t enough, not the amount of his policy.

I went to the safe, pulled the paperwork, but quickly realized that I don’t have any of his life insurance papers, only mine. I gave him all his papers when he picked up his stuff in November. I don’t have anything verifying that this wasn’t the right amount. Damn.

I went back to my notes, from when I originally called the life insurance company to make the claim. Sure enough, there’s a number written there. Yes, the check amount was wrong. Heart. Sinking. WTF?

I spent all morning talking to the company through which we have life insurance (which, it turns out is not the company who sends the checks – huh, probably should have known that). They have notes saying the second part of the claim is being investigated and requires doctor verification – and didn’t I read the letter that was sent at the end of last month?

What letter? I didn’t get a letter. The woman read it to me and faxed a copy, but the company didn’t have the forms that were referenced in the letter. And, of course, there’s no way to reach the OTHER company today because they’re moving offices. No phones, no email, nothing.

Sidenote: Really? There are jobs in which an office move means no one works? Where are their Blackberries or iPhones? Where are their wifi connections and work-from-home laptops? How do I get a job there? (Kidding, not sure I want a job at a company that obviously operates in the stone age…or do I, as I sit in the office at 7:15 p.m. on a Friday?)

So, I’ll wait. All weekend. To find out what the heck is going on. And how it can get resolved. In the meantime, I need to figure out what I’m doing with this check. Why haven’t I called a financial planner yet? Another thing for the to-do list.


A few weeks ago, I was back on my alma mater’s campus. It was the second time I had been on campus since Mike died. The first time was for a college visit with my niece. Our time was booked with professor introductions and tours and admissions counselors, so there wasn’t anytime to think about things – other than telling stories about how much fun I had in college. Then, whoosh, we were off to the next campus.

This time was different, though. I was there for an alumni board meeting, and the weekend activities (like a Friday night dinner to celebrate the graduating seniors) were ones that Mike usually attended with me. It would be my first time solo.

Admittedly, I procrastinated. I stayed at work late. I shopped at the outlet mall on the way. I didn’t get to campus in time for Friday’s dinner. On purpose.

It was about 10:30 when I drove onto campus. It was dark and quiet. The air was chilly and brisk. I could see my breath a little with every exhale. I put my luggage in my room and went for a walk. There was somewhere I needed to visit.

I walked to the reflecting pond and sat down on one of the ice-cold metal benches surrounding the pond. I watched the fountain in the center and listened to the tinkling of water hit the pond and the hum of cars as they drove by. I pulled my coat close and buried my nose in my scarf.

It was here that Mike told me he loved me for the first time during my senior year.

The tears flowed free and fast, thinking about the last 17 years (holy cow, 17 years!). Standing here in 1995 when he and I went for a walk as friends and came back to the dorms something more – “there’s this girl…” he said, “and it’s you…” In 1996 when he graduated. In 2001, just before our wedding as we were passing through the area. In 2004, when I first joined the alumni board. In 2005, pregnant with Ethan. In 2007, introducing Ethan to the campus. In 2009, homecoming. In 2010, walking around campus as a family of four for the first time.

I realized in all the time that the campus – and this spot – have been part of my life, I’ve never sat at the “reflecting pond” and reflected, until that night.  I spent almost an hour out there, until my bottom was numb from the cold steel on which I was sitting and I couldn’t feel my nose.

I walked to the Grotto and lit a candle for Mike and for my dad. I said a prayer, then walked back to the dorm and got ready for bed. The next day would be a long one.


Thank yous are done (well, for $$ gifts anyway). While I’m appreciative of the money, it’s very uncomfortable for me. I’m putting it away for the kids’ education, but we don’t NEED it. I know there are others out there who could benefit from it.

One random question: Who writes a check to a dead man?

One of the checks was made out to Mike. He obviously can’t cash it. The bank suggests going back to the person who sent it and asking for them to redo it. That seems weird and awkward. And, I don’t know them – friends or neighbors of the in-laws, I think. Maybe I should have put a note in their thank you: “Hey, that’s nice and all, but Mike isn’t making many trips to the bank these days… can you write another check out to me?” Awkward.

Sidenote: Still haven’t heard a peep from the in-laws. It’s been almost 13 weeks since Mike died.

Sidenote #2: The (very generous) random anonymous cashier’s check was made out to “Mike’s children, c/o Jackie” – the bank let that one pass, but there’s a concern that it might get rejected since the bank information, including location, was crossed off (on both sides) with permanent marker. Someone really wanted to stay anonymous… I don’t know why.