I wasn’t expecting. . .and thus I wasn't prepared for the sadness and finality of it. I pulled close to the ATM machine on this rainy November Pittsburgh morning. Generally I would have gone inside to make the deposit but the lobby wasn’t open yet; a blessing in retrospect.
I inserted my card and typed in my PIN like I had 1000 times since I was sixteen but when I went to deposit the check it was as if I was letting go of my Dad on a little piece of paper. This was the last thing to note Dad is gone. The last thing to indicate, to cement, to make final that he is not coming back. I almost didn’t want to make the deposit --as if it’s being sucked into the system somehow was voluntarily saying I willingly agreed with the fact that he was gone.
In some families this may be thought of as money the individual didn't get. To others this type of money may seem like an unexpected windfall. To me, however, this is unexpectedly more significant.
I don’t know why I let myself, but I read the accompanying letter once again. “DEATH BENEFIT STATEMENT” in bold letters across the top in black and white. Cold and devoid of feeling. Canada Life Assurance Co. . . .sending a Death benefit--ironic. Beneficiary-me, a policy number, a claim number. Insured-my Dad’s name—all spelled out like it never was except in the most legal of documents. A name nobody probably ever called him except in the most significant of situations. . . a name his parents probably yelled out for emphasis. And now no more will it ever be uttered that way, spoken sternly or even said. . .because he was gone. . .sucked into an ATM with nothing to show for it but a receipt that would fade within a year.
What were the thoughts when that policy was first initiated? No one could have predicted the life. . .or the death. . .or all that happened in between. Love, babies, betrayal, triumphs, losses, losses, losses. And now he is my loss.