Thursday, 8 October 2015


I’ve recently been widowed and am wondering: Should I start an advice column for people in my position? I don’t mean advice about dealing with grief – there’s plenty of that on the web, none of which helps. No, I mean, about the practical stuff that goes with being widowed. Here are some observations.
-       You will be making many phone calls to cancel things the dead man no longer needs and to put into your name things you continue to need, such as electricity, heating, the car, insurance…
-       This name-changing process involves calling numerous companies and government agencies, which in turn involves listening to a great deal of Muzak and being told that your time is greatly valued, but no agent is available at the present time. BTW: No matter when you call, they will experience a higher than usual volume of calls.
-       After pressing 1 for English, you will be listening to a long list of options, none of which fit your case. And even if one of them does, the robot will not understand your answers. When you finally reach a live agent, the conversation will begin with velvety condolences, but end with the usual chirpy signoff: Have a good day! Do NOT make the mistake of asking how you can have a good day when you are devastated. You will be put on hold to speak to a specialist, which involves listening to more Muzak…
-       Death certificate: Scan it into your PC. You’ll need many copies. Absolutely everybody needs to see it. You will be asked a dozen identifying questions to make sure you are not a crank caller.  But even if you know the name of your husband’s first pet and the maiden name of his grandmother, Mother Bell will not cancel the dead man’s cell phone unless you send in that certificate!

To be continued, as I accumulate more experience as a recent widow.

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