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