Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Check I Don’t Want to Deposit

I have a check tucked next to my leg as I type. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to it since it came. I’ve been staying away from it.

When the nice cream envelope came from the lawyer's office I knew what was inside. I opened the envelope and read the brief utterly formal letter. It a was a letter only a legal professional that numbly (I realize by necessity!) traffics in the affairs of dead people every day could possibly write. With a few formal words it was clear that an era of my life was drawing to a close.

From the letter I turned my attention to the check. Surprising even myself I said quietly in my own heart, “So this is the end huh…”

This particular check is more than a piece of paper with print on it. Its denotation indicates an amount of money given to me upon the final settlement of the estate of a dear family friend. Its connotation indicates that this family friend (Bill) who I was privileged to know for over 25 years is no longer available to enjoy.

There are no more Christmas or New Years memories to be made, no more summer days to relax by the lake, no more frogs for my boys to catch in the creek. My daughter Joy won’t even know what we mean when we say “Bill’s cottage”.

Oddly that’s perhaps where my grief is most clear. Joy will neither know “Bill” nor the place that was so special to me that many years ago I convinced my future wife to visit it in the dead of winter when not even a roaring fire could warm us up. Joy not knowing Bill or his cottage ranks up there with my grandmother never knowing my wife as “one of the things I wish was different in the world.”

New memories with Bill can’t be made. I hope old memories won’t run away like the tears on my cheeks are at present.

I haven’t been able to sign the check yet. Like I said, we’ve been keeping our distance. To sign it seems to me to agree that it’s okay that Bill is gone. Though I trust God and His perfect timing of all the affairs of men, my keeping my distance from the check is a way for me to express that I don’t yet know how to be okay with him being gone.

It’s odd that although Bill’s death was over two years ago, it wasn’t real until the moment I looked at the check. Odd, I know. Grief is that way. It’s unique and individual hitting people seemingly randomly like a sucker punch from behind.

My mother had been the executor. It seems amazing that all the technical details we had discussed on settling the estate were now finished. Bill’s bills were paid, professionals remunerated, taxes satisfied, and now came the end when the checks were mailed out, one each for my brother and I. On the face of the check there in my mother’s own handwriting was the proof that indeed he was gone.

I had to write this before I could deposit the check. To deposit it without writing a lament seemed inappropriate. On the other hand, to not deposit a check revealing Bill’s love for my family and I would be effrontery, refusing his generosity. Appropriate to the man who got me started in technology, I’ll use a mobile app to deposit his last gift of love.

As soon as I post this and after few more big breaths blown through my lips, I’m going to pull out my pen and sign the check. I hope iPhone screens are okay with a few tears on them.