Whining, With and Without Wine, er, Whine

I’m having a tough morning.  I trying to get things together to go west again.  In my last post I had to get a tax ID number for my dad’s estate.  That done, the last thing I was waiting on to open the account was to get his last paycheck reissued.

Kern County, it seems, stopped payment on the last check that was issued October 31, 2011 almost immediately.  I assumed it was because he died on October 26th, and they were going to prorate it.  In any case, I didn’t get my court papers until a week or two ago, so I could not have done anything with it anyway.

So I called the county to ask them to please reissue the check, and I am surprised, and HUGELY annoyed at what their response is.  To explain it, I will have to back up a little.  When I first found out he died, at the urging of a friend, I called the county to inquire about his death benefits.  He had been divorced for 10 years after all.  Unfortunately, he did not change his beneficiary.  His ex-wife (who is not my mother, but his third wife) was named as beneficiary.  I was informed that they sympathized with me, that they see this kind of thing happen all the time, and that there is nothing they can do.  If the member does not change the beneficiary, then that is that.  Then she said,

“But don’t worry.  It’s only $3000.00 that she is entitled to.  She is not entitled to anything else.”  I was still mad.  I know in the scheme of things that is not a lot.  After all it could have been 50K.  But still, I’m the one paying for the funeral, the cremation, the newspaper notifications, the lawyers and maintaining all the loans.  There is also my brother who is, suffice it to say, not well and cannot cope with any of this.

So, when they return my phone call this morning, it is to tell me that the last paycheck, the money he got when he was still alive, went to the ex-wife as a benefit.  Come again? I ask.  It was added as a death benefit.  Excuse me, I say, but how can it be when it was money that he was paid while he was ALIVE!!!!!!

It just is, she says.  I was mad.  I was upset.  Most of all, I was wondering why my dad did not take care of these things while he was alive.  Did he just not think about it?  Or did he think about it and felt like I did not deserve any help when he passed, but all of the sorrow and the troubles?  My brother was left his checking account.  O.K.  He needs it more than me.  But this was too much.  I’m the one who was there for him in his sorrows. I’m the one who consoled him when my brother broke his heart.  I’m the one who visited him and begged him to come live nearer to us.  I am his daughter.  I want to make peace with this, but I feel like I didn’t count.  So many times I find doing the right things feels like you don’t count.  It shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks, but I wonder what people think when they only see the surface stuff.  You know, I wonder if they are thinking, “Hmm, he left her brother the checking account, and the ex-wife the other benefits.  She must have been a heartache to him.”

Deep down it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  But it’s hard to swallow when I see people at the bank, or talk to these people on the phone and I can hear their thoughts so loudly–practically screaming that I’m a suspicious sort.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3, 5-6

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38 Responses to Whining, With and Without Wine, er, Whine

  1. Sorry to hear about your father’s passing. And even more sorry to hear of the added pain it is causing… I hope that sharing this on your blog is healing for you.

  2. Janie Thurman says:

    You have my heart and prayers. Keep the faith. Somehow things will work out.

  3. so sorry for all this, Arnel! I’ve been feeling exactly the same way lately, but can’t even begin to compare my situation to yours. Hang in there, and trust that somewhere in all this there is a lesson. If nothing else, I’m betting your personal finances are going to be the most organized anyone has ever seen.

    • HA HA! Well, it’s a nice thought, but I feel like they are just getting more and and more crazy! I just want everything to sell very quickly so I can be done. Thanks, Eden!

  4. Jeanette says:

    My darling Arnel; May today be all you need it to be for today alone. May the peace of God and the freshness of the Holy Spirit rest in your thoughts, rule in your dreams and conquer all your fears. May God manifest Himself today in ways that you have never experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams closer to touch and your prayers be answered. I pray that faith enters a new height for you; I pray that your territory is enlarged and I pray that you step into your destiny with the refinement and definement so orchestrated by our loving Christ. I pray peace, health, happiness and a true undying love for God. (I have this posted above my computer here and read it, meditate on it and sometimes just dwell on one sentence at a time as there are moments when I need just that one statement to help me move on. I’m grateful to the person I received this from and from the original writer as I don’t know who it is. Remember if you see only one set of footprints in the sand it’s because you’re being carried by the One who carried our cross.) Love you….Aunt Jeanette

    • Aunt, Thank you so much for the wonderful words. I am going to copy these to a post, as they are really words to remember. Thank you so much for sharing them. They really made my day!

  5. Arnel –

    Wow. I understand your frustration with not being appreciated. You have a good perspective on this – but it is still difficult nonetheless. I can hear the “grrrrrrrrrr” in your written words. Have a good cry and a good (big) glass of wine and soak in a tub. In fact, I have found that a big pillow makes a really good punching bag!!

    My mother used to always say “This, too, shall pass.” And it usually did.

    I pray for peace in your soul, sweetie.


    • Thank you Gretchen! I had my cry today. I’m moving on. I just need to dig in and get er done! Thank you for the prayers, always appreciated, always needed! Love you!

  6. terry1954 says:

    i can surely understand your feelings. I went through so much pain and suffering when my dad died. family turned away, thinking they should have this or that, no one wanting to follow what the will said. to this day, there is family that still doesn’t speak after four years

    • Isn’t it weird what it does to family? I can’t conceive of it–even after living it it boggles the mind. I keep telling myself, all I need to do is what is right. Everything else will work out in the end.

  7. magsx2 says:

    I’m terrible sorry to hear about your Dad.
    I am also sorry to hear about what you have had to go through. The “red tape” involved is mind boggling, so I can only imagine what it must be like when someone has not updated their affairs.

  8. letstalkaboutfamily says:

    I’m sorry they are making things so difficult for you. It is hard enough to lose your dad without all this extra hassles. My condolences on your loss. Hang in there. I will keep you in my prayers. I know how difficult it was to settle mom’s affairs and she had a will and a husband who survived her. Still, they managed to make a huge error on her death certificate (wrong date) and it took almost 2 months before I had death certificates to use to get death benefits, close bank accounts, etc. Try to take it day by day and not let them get you down. Hugs.

    • Yikes! I will. I’m now in “get it done mode”. I’m not worrying about anyone else (namely my brother). I’m just digging in and checking off the things on my list as they go. All I can do. Thanks for the prayers.

  9. Colline says:

    I can understand your anger and how upset you are. Focusing, however, on the fact that you are doing the right thing will help, I believe. Strangers believe what is easier for them to believe – and what they do believe is no reflection on you. Look instead at the faces of those who love you and know that what they feel about you is real. And as you say – trust in the Lord and he will help you overcome your anger and feelings of frustration. And tonight? Bask in the love of your family. God bless.

    • Thank you Colline. I just found out I’ve got wifi on the long flight tomorrow, so I can catch up on stuff. I’m excited to have a block of time that is uninterrupted. Thanks for your response. I truly appreciate it!

  10. Arnel, I really really feel for you. I am a legal assistant, and I deal with estates, and unfortunately I see things like this all the time. People procrastinate and don’t have their affairs in order and then the suffering that the family is already dealing with is pushed over the top with the added stress. I’m sure your Dad didn’t mean to put you through all of this – he just didn’t think about it. The worst I saw was when a wife thought the mortgage was life insured, and then it turned out it wasn’t! All I can say is don’t accept what these companies tell you until they have provided you with the proof. Be persistent and pushy, it’s ok. Also, I don’t know what it’s like where you live and I don’t know if your Dad had a Will, but if you are the one looking after everything you should be able to get compensation if you are the Executor, or if not, you should be able to put in a bill for the work you have done. Take care – you will get through this!!

  11. Madhu says:

    My sympathies. But that is lifel.Doing the right thing doesn’t automatically ensure others will do right by you. My daughter once told me in “How the hell does it matter what others think of you? As long as you know and WE know you are doing the right thing no one else should matter” I should have been the one giving her this sermon! Hope you are feeling better, I know how much a rant helps:-)

    • You, Madhu, are of course correct. Thank you for the sympathies–they are much appreciated. So many have been supportive, and I am grateful to each of them. It’s time to put to action my duties and make these sales so I can move on. The only way I can do that is to not entertain these thoughts–and be positive. One day at a time. (incidentally, as I typed that last sentence, a wry voice in my head said, yeah, I’m positive it will suck!). Maybe so, but the thought made me laugh, and that’s always a good thing!

    • Also wanted to say, your daughter is very wise!

  12. That’s my favourite scripture.
    I write it on top of every single one of my exam papers before I start (the one that gets marked)..and it hasn’t failed me yet!

  13. Love the photos – so sorry about the troubles. There is nothing good about dealing with nonsense like that.


  14. Lynne Ayers says:

    I’m sorry to hear of all your troubles, difficult things to deal with at difficult times.

  15. deniz says:

    {{hugs}} to you.

    And isn’t it weird how we humans do these things to ourselves? What is it about the structure of bureaucracy that makes the people working in a red-tape zone stop seeing individuals?

  16. Momma E. says:

    “I am his daughter. I want to make peace with this, but I feel like I didn’t count. So many times I find doing the right things feels like you don’t count. It shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks, but I wonder what people think when they only see the surface stuff. You know, I wonder if they are thinking, “Hmm, he left her brother the checking account, and the ex-wife the other benefits. She must have been a heartache to him.”

    Deep down it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. But it’s hard to swallow when I see people at the bank, or talk to these people on the phone and I can hear their thoughts so loudly–practically screaming that I’m a suspicious sort.”

    Oh Honey, I know EXACTLY how you’re feeling about this. It resonates so much with me right now. My dad passed away in 2005 quite suddenly. He, for some reason known only to him, had my sister listed on his bank account. She lives in CT. He left no will, and he had automatic payments authorized on his accounts. I could do NOTHING – and yet I had to be the preferred “administrator” because I lived in state ( same town actually ) but yet I was made to feel like some sort of criminal when I tried to stop the automatic payments from cleaning out the account. Which of course didn’t work and there ended up being nothing left. I had to send the IRS his death certificate 3 times, and they keep sending me a bill for the 300 he supposedly owes from 2004 or something…I sold everything we could and paid the funeral and legal bills. I didn’t even get paid for my services as administrator. My sister was listed (again for reasons unknown to either of us) as sole beneficiary on his life insurance – she split it with me 50/50 but legally she didn’t have to.
    I don’t know why my father never listed me, and that hurts – to this day. He probably just never thought about it. I keep telling myself that anyway. I still get mail from the IRS. Very frustrating since he’s been gone 5 years….. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending a big HUG! Love, D.

    • Thanks Donna. Wow, that’s a long time to be getting notes from the IRS, and to keep being reminded of issues your trying to put some distance on. That’s the thing, I want this resolved so I can move on. Hard to move on when you keep getting dragged back into it. It was a VERY long weekend, but I’m back home and decompressing finally. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. 🙂

      • Momma E. says:

        You’re welcome! Its a long, difficult process. Coming up on the 5 year for Dad on June 7. Not my favorite time of year anymore, so I am trying very very hard to find some peace and beauty -with some success. Photography and writing are really helping. And of course, having friends like you! Hang in there! Love and Hugs, D.

      • Yeah, my dad’s birthday is June 3, and there is always fathers day as well. Today for some unknown reason, I had a thought to call him. Weird, after 6 months, I for a split second forgot he was gone. I too find it a great relief to write and do photography. It helps center me. Love and hugs to you as well!

      • Momma E. says:

        I actually did forget, and called my dad’s cell – once. (less than a year after he was gone) That was just awful, took me a long time to recover from that one (hearing his voice and all that – but I couldn’t hang up) The grieving process is so strange. So much back and forth. ❤

      • Aw… I haven’t actually dialed, but it’s crazy that we forget something like that. Hugs!

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