Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Phone home

First, thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions on my troubles with the children. All of us are in a grief support program and my children also receive counselling. I so appreciate all the opinions shared.

My phone rang this morning while I was folding laundry. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it said "XXXXXX Industries" (name blocked for privacy purposes) and said out loud,"Leonard must have forgotten his cell phone again..." and then silence...as realization snuck back in again. I don't think there will ever be a day when the phone will ring and I won't think it's him. Especially my cell phone. He was the only one who ever called me on it.

The reason his worked called was concerning our health insurance. It is tough for me because I really hate this woman, she refers to me as Ms. on any correspondence and continues to do so even when I asked her to stop and refer to me as Mrs. I will always be his wife. She is the type of woman who's face cracks with the effort when she tries to be nice. When all of this happened (gosh...I think I am getting worse with the d-word) Leonard's work told me not to worry about health insurance-they would cover us indefinitely. 2 days after his service, I got the notice that we were dropped. And could continue with COBRA (i.e $2000/month). I, therefore, had no choice but to continue with COBRA. Only MS.How-can-I-cause-you-more-pain said they didn't get it "in time". The form said it had to be postmarked by Sept 30th. It was postmarked Sept. 27th, because I don't trust her to be helpful or even concerned and had it sent registered mail. The only 'somewhat smart" thing I have done. Now, it will be another battle, because she already sent in the paperwork saying "Thanks but no thanks" on our behalf. I need this insurance due to my medical condition. It is hurtful. It is hateful. It, this small thing, threatens to bring me to my knees...wondering again what did I do so wrong in my life. It is watching the ebbing away of my strength to even deal with these things.

My father came by today. It is so good to see people...then so very hard to say goodbye to them. I want to run away without leaving my house. I want to find some stretch of space that won't remind me of him... I am finding out that that is impossible.

My son came home from school today with his recorder. I forgot how school districts do this. I so look forward to his rendition of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody". I will have to get used to those odd little toots and tweets that recorders are known for...especially in the hand of a 9 year old. He has been the sweetest boy today...and I am so grateful for him. He was (in the words of my doctor) a miracle. There should have been no way for me to carry him to term. She told me that I had "willed him into life". I look at it a little differently now, these past weeks. He was a gift to me. Not a gift to replace the loss of his Daddy, for he is just a boy, my son...is and always will be. No "be a little man"s no "you're the head of the household now"s for him. I have already stopped that kind of talk. He is a gift in himself. And I must remember to be grateful for his existance.

Our daughter was chosed to play "Jo" in her high school's rendition of Little Woman. Her girlfriend (Marmee) was over this weeked and I practiced their lines with them...me playing every part besides "Jo" and "Marmee". My daughter dreams of a life on stage, or in front of camera, one day. I am proud of her regardless.

On a higher note, I received a card and a book in the mail from a woman I used to moderate with on a discussion board I belong to. It was nice to get something other than bills.

Here is my PSA for this evening: Even if you think you are too young, that it won't happen to you, that there is no need for it... get life insurance. My husband and I (I confess it was his insistence 10 years ago because I didn't want to "think about it") took out insurance policies. Three years ago, when I first got really sick, we upped them. That is why these other problems are small problems, not the huge problems that they seem to me, or actually are to other people who have had to deal with the reality of losing their future.

You have all been so wonderful to me. In your comments, and visits. My husband was 3/4's of who I am/was. He was the one who took care of me. He was the one who had the answer when troubles arose. He could figure out most of our financial/household (and especially vehicular) problems in the space of an hour. Without him I am lost. But he would be so glad to know that people check in (even if it is a blog) to care about us. You are special people.

And, on the subject of forgotten cell phones, this is an email exchange I had with my husband this July. I was going through his inbox, and he had saved it. It reads from the bottom up. It is so painful that it was a premonition of my greatest fear actually being realized:

[Add to Address Book]
Re: your mail
Monday, July 02, 2007 11:21:30 AM
[View Source]
Ooops... And I didn't even try to call you yet.
Now, what am I going to do with my day?
Your mom hasn't picked up James yet, Mr. Larkin hasn't dropped the check off
yet, so I'm spending my time making sure that our house doesn't end up getting
visited by Kim and Aggie.
I love you,
I miss you,
***My greatest fear is that some night you won't come home. :(
-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: http://mailcenter2.comcast.net/wmc/v/wm/470C1F5C000DFCCC000050032213539653CBC0C9CE9D0A9F9D0E08?cmd=ComposeTo&adr=harper1764%40comcast%2Enet&sid=c0
> laura
whats your greatest fear? i forgot my phone
Attached Message
harper1764@comcast.net [ Save Address ]
laura.harper@comcast.net (laura harper)
Mon, 2 Jul 2007 11:34:30 +0000
whats your greatest fear? i forgot my phone


rachd said...

I appreciate your PSA. We have life insurance policies on both girls (I guess it would be HAD in Han's case) and of course we NEVER thought we would need them. What is that about never say never??

I'm sorry you are having to deal with such unkind people, especially benefits lady. B got an email from one of his benefits ladies with the subject "Your daughter's death certificate". Can you imagine how *that* made him feel?? Some people have NO sensitivity.

You are amazing. You really are. we were talking last night at CF about losing a child versus losing a spouse. It was such an interesting discussion and the conclusion was, that either way it SUCKS! when you lose a child, you have your spouse there to support you, but who do you have when your life partner dies? I'm not saying I know how you're feeling, because, of course I don't. Just know I sympathize more than I could ever tell you.


The girl left behind said...

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

TIME does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

Marsha said...

That totally sucks. You should write a letter to her boss.

Shelly said...

I agree, life insurance is a very valuable investment. I have a pretty good policy that I hope would take care of my family if something should happen to me. The benefits lady at Leonard's work is awful. You should definitely talk to her supervisor.

Jess T said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that annoyance. People really forget that people are behind their jobs. That woman should have been willing to bend over backwards to help you correct the problem.

In re the Ms. thing. I know you hate to see it, but don't be too hard on her for that.


Laurie said...

I am just continuing to pray for you Laura, that the Lords peace goes before you each time you face these hurtful things while going forward in this maze of ultimate saddness. You are doing it girl, one day at a time and one step at a time, you are pushing through it. I admire the strength and courage it takes for you
to hold back, instead of just hauling off and slapping somebody:) Today is a new day and my prayer is that you find the little nuggets of hope that keep you going. Your love of your kids shines through.
Love and Hugs, Laurie in Ca.

M said...

26 years ago today my mother died. That tells you how a child remembers and today, in that memory, I am but a child missing my mommy. I couldn't give my father solace and that tore me apart. For the first few years after her death, I brought him more pain than comfort. I was not around enough for him, didn't come by when he needed or as often as he liked and the kicker, I reminded him so much of her he wanted me around, he needed me, but it hurt to see me at the same time. The roller coaster rides of our lives and relationships.

At the age of 72, 9 years after my mother's death, my father died. My sister and I shared the responsibilities of handling his estate for our 8 other siblings. After Mom died, Dad never changed their room, her clothes were still in the closet they shared, in her side of the dresser. He never canceled her insurance on the cars even though the cars were no longer functioning, he never canceled her credit cards or removed her name from any policy or legal document or account they owned. There were small insurance policies on her that he never sought to have honored, there was such much he didn't do because he couldn't, he couldn't bring himself to do it.

She was the love of his life and he didn't let her go and there was nothing any of us could do to make him go through their room and make it his room. Sure, it meant more hassles for us, more paperwork after he died, but in the end that doesn't really isn't that important. He did what he had to do to continue to live without her. She took care of him when she was alive, she made his coffee and breakfast for him every morning, she did his laundry and folded his shirts just so. She was the matriarch of the family, she was his heart and his backbone and his laughter. After she died he learned to do for himself, he took care of himself, but he never got over the hurt - he never stopped missing her or loving her.

The death of a spouse has been compared to the amputation of a limb. You learn to deal without the limb but the phantom pains remain, there are times you forget that it is gone. When someone we love dies, we don't replace them, we don't forget them, we just learn to live without them.

Laura, do what you need to do and do it as you can do it, at your own pace, in your own time. You will never stop loving him, you will never stop hurting but you will learn to live with the pain and the loss, just as you live with the RA. He didn't define you, he gloried in loving you and he helped you know that you are worthy of love. You had what many of us will never have and he found you worthy enough to give that to you, the never ending love of a man like Leonard. Don't fore sake the gifts he gave you, don't doubt your worth and yourself just because he is not around to remind you. You know in your heart that if he loved you and that made you special indeed.

Take the time to breath and take the time you need, but live for you, for the kids and for him. He thought you worthy enough to fight for your life and you know he was never wrong.


much love


Michele said...

Laura you never cease to amaze me. Thank you for the PSA. And the insurance lady, is not where the buck stops. I would go above her head.

Artemisia said...

Oh, my heart just dropped when you wrote about your reaction to the phone call.

I wouldn't blame you for totally losing your shit with that woman from your husband's company. Maybe you could ask to speak with her supervisor, and actually deal with getting the health insurance reinstate with this person. Whatever you do, don't back down.

Sharpie said...

Oh Sweetie - do not let that woman (I would use other terms - but I am trying to stay composed) deter you. You are entitled to coverage and have done all of the requirements. Go over her head - talk to the owner - whatever it takes.

We are receiving our recorder this week as well - perhaps we can record them playing and commiserate? Or buy earplugs?

That email made every hair stand on end. So strange now to look back on that and other things and see how we would do things differently - if given the chance.

You are such a strong, loving woman - I am inspired daily by coming here...to be better, to do better and to live better.

Much love!

Gina said...

Both life insurance and a will are of great importance, especially when children area involved.

Good luck to your daughter! I'm sure she will be great!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I used to administer COBRA, and that woman is full of shit. You have 3 months from the end of coverage to sign up, and she can not decline on your behalf. Fight the power, you will win.

And I would talk to whomever said you would keep your coverage, and see if they meant it, and if they can arrange to do that for you, because as we all know, COBRA is expensive. And it doesn't go on forever...it runs out in a year or two.