Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not Your Everyday Banking

Losing the person that has by your side for half your life and facing the reality of being a single father to a 9 year old is really scary.  I very quickly assembled a list of things I no longer have Rachel to take care of and new situations I need to now face.  My therapist said that I was pushing myself too hard and that it was not good for me.  She is right.  I have been trying to limit the number of things I worry about on any given day. 

I had not told the bank about Rachel's passing.  However, I had a check that only could be cashed by her, plus Channah had received a check as a birthday present. I decided to be brave, as I promissed her that I would go to the bank and deposit it today.

I went in to the bank.  I was fairly calm at first.  I was 2nd in line waiting for one of two people, who could help me.  As this was an Israeli line, I was very careful to note who was in front of me.  At some point the person behind me managed to slip in front of me without me noticing. This mistake on my part caused two things to happen.  It allowed someone, to come over to talk to me for a few minutes. I generally appreciate human contact with people who really care.  It also meant, that I met with the person that I have met with the last bunch of times I have been to the bank.

I hand her Rachel's Direct Card (Debit Card) with the death certificate and say that they probably want it back.  She looks at the paper and asks me if Robert was my Father-in-Law.  While it was true, I thought it was an odd question, which was quickly followed by a half-hearted condolence.

She looks at the paper for a few more minutes.  It finally sinks in what was happening.  The death certificate has a weird layout, where the father's name is in the place where you expect the deceased name to be. Her faced dropped. She asked me what happened.  This time I had a sincere heart felt condolence.  Then her phone rings, she picks it up quickly and says I can't talk now, I have to go.  About 30 seconds later her phone rings again.  She apologizes to me and explains that it is her mother calling and if she doesn't answer she will keep calling.  She picks up the phone.... "Tomatoes, cucumbers........"

As we got back to business she explained to me that they never see death certificates.  The information is automatically passed on to the bank where they take appropriate action. She had to ask her manage if she should proceed manually or not.  She told me to go outside, to the ATM and deposit the check, as she began the paperwork to adjust the account.  This would be the last time a check in Rachel's name could be cashed.

While she was processing the account, she asked me if I wanted to open up a new bank account.  Rachel's name will remain on the account forever.  She was worried that it could be painful, to keep receiving mail with Rachel's name on it.  I decided that for now,  I would like to leave things the way they are.

Basically, the more time I spent in the bank the more emotional, I was feeling. I think at one point, I actually started shaking a little bit.  Afterwards, I ran a few small errand, Pharmacy, Beged HaOlam and my last stop was Home Place. The paramedic that responded when Rachel died works there. Either he didn't recognize me or he decided to pretend not to.

In the end it was a really emotional day.  The flip side is I was able to face my fears and do what needed to get done.  I just hope I can find the same courage for other tasks that I have not been able to motivate myself to get done.

1 comment:

Judith said...

You never know - getting mail with Rachel's name on it may wind up being very comforting! I think these things are so individual and unpredictable.

When a very old friend of our family had a stroke, his family left the voice message he recorded on their answering machine where it was a comforting reminder of the days when he could still speak in hi inimitable Glasgow accent. Since he died, it is still there, and frankly, I love calling their house when no one is there.

Although Rachel is not here physically in ways that are painful, the two of you will always be "Jason and Rachel". Channah will forever be "Jason and Rachel's daughter". Some things don't change. Funny that the rigid bureaucracy of a bank should testify to such a timeless truth - but hey, we are in Israel, where even a shopping list (those tomatoes and cucumbers you mentioned there) has spiritual significance.

My advice to you in general is: REST. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, not just courage, to face these painful errands. Your home is steeped in Rachel's presence as it is the home you built together. Every day, in ways big and small, conscious and unconscious, you have to cope with and process her absence. Even when you are sitting still looking out the window, you are working very hard. Rest and pace yourself as your therapist so wisely advised.

And thank you for sharing - it is very helpful!