I guess I knew the day would come. I just didn't know which account it would be.
Pedernales Electric sent me the notice that all accounts would be disabled and reestablished with new account numbers, that we would have to re-enroll in in auto-pay... This was the moment I had been avoiding. You see, while my name has always been on the account, it's in his name - Roger's name.
At some point I was just so tired of calling yet another company to tell them my husband had died, tired of telling another stranger my husband had passed away, tired of my heart calcifying to their monotone sympathy. Yeah, I'm sure you are sorry for my faceless loss. After the accounts that had to be closed were taken care of, I stopped. I was genuinely drained, and obviously I'd continue to pay the bills.
Even if my name came second.
So I called the electric company.
They happily took my account number. They gladly accepted the last four digits of my social security number. When I asked to change the email address so I could have the password sent there, the woman told me that Roger would have to call to take care of that; I was not the official account holder.
Well, this is awkward.
Actually, I probably need to get quite a bit of information on the account updated. My husband, you see, passed away. (*SPOILER* She was so sorry for my loss.)
Unfortunately, he would have to call to have his name removed. Yeah, she actually said that! I'll give her credit that she stuttered, embarrassed when she heard those words escape her mouth, and you could hear her blush as she said, "but since he can't do that..." No, I would need to bring a copy of the death certificate, a past bill and my photo ID to my local PEC, and one of their representatives could change the name on the account.
I wasn't offended or upset by the whole situation; I'm a tough cookie, but I'm also a realist. This just so happens to be the situation I've been avoiding.
That was about a month ago. I've been carrying around a past bill and a death certificate in my car for a month, just in case I have all of this free time between the hours of 8am and 5pm to swing by my local PEC. It just so happened that on the way to school from a doctor's visit this morning I had 5 minutes to spare, and it was on the way.
In the most strangely-timed turn of events, sitting just inside the door awaiting an interview was a man Roger and I both knew a lifetime ago. I recognized him instantly. He looked at me like he knew a memory should be surfacing but wasn't. I was thankful. If the last 6 years has confirmed anything, it is that I highly value anonymity.
I laid the bill, the death certificate and my license on the counter. She looked at the items and up at me.
I need to change the name on my account.
And in an instant, I was whisked away to an emotion nearly 5 years ago that I don't always know how to describe. I don't want you to think that I crumbled under an avalanche of grief because I didn't. (I have recovered well, but that's another blog entirely since society and widow(er)s in general seem to think the Royal "I" should be permanently damaged.) As soon as she looked me in the eye I felt so self-conscious.
For so long after Roger died, I didn't get to be me. I had to be Darcy the Widow, Darcy Whose Husband Killed Himself, Poor Darcy, She's So Strong Darcy, and worst of all Did You Hear About Darcy. Yes, I was all of those, and I claim every single version of me, but sometimes I just wanted to be That Curly Haired Girl or What a Great Band Director or Random Girl in the Cereal Aisle.
She took the death certificate to make a copy for their records, and all I could think was
- please don't look at the date on it
- I know it's been a long time, but I hate having to say it again
- she's wondering why it took me so long
- she's going to have to get special paper because it's so long
- the addendum makes it long
- don't look at the addendum
- don't look at me either - just look at counter
- I hope that guy can't place me
But despite all of that noise, the loudest voice was, WAIT. WHY DO YOU FEEL GUILTY AGAIN?
February makes 5 years. I am in an extraordinarily great time in my life. I have a great job. I have a great boyfriend. My doglets are healthy babies. My family is healthy. My house has really pretty new siding, and my Christmas tree was put up on Saturday.
I constantly felt like I had done something wrong or shameful for a
And it's amazing how quickly that emotion found its way to the surface. 5 years later. It never ends.
One bill down.
Three more to go.