Monday, February 25, 2008

Practical Things

I have a new-found appreciation for those who have traveled this road before me. I had no idea what obstacles a new widow has to learn to overcome in the first few months after her husband's death.
For instance, in our county you will not receive the death certificate for up to six weeks. In other counties this can take up to six months! In the meantime, as you are grieving, you have to continue to pay bills without an income. And, even if the woman did work (I am not sure how she could and grieve properly) her income more than likely would not cover the bills. If there was a life insurance policy or if you plan on getting the Social Security death benefits you must wait for the death certificate.
Now I must add here that I am well taken care of in this transition period. The church we attend, Central Valley Presbyterian, has been incredibly supportive. All I have to do is ask and I would have a myriad of people helping in anyway they can. The outpouring of love in the form of monetary gifts has been overwhelming and very helpful too. We are making the house payments and keeping up on the bills and will continue to for another month or so as we wait for that certificate and the benefits to start.
I feel for those women who don't have a supportive church body and who possibly might not even have benefits coming their way. What an added burden.
From the very beginning of our marriage Eric and I talked about the practical matters of life after the death of a spouse. He assured me that he would financially take care of me and our children. We even had a healthy policy on me so that if I died he would be able to spend more time with the children (an important thing to remember for all of you out there that homeschool). He laid many firm foundations for us: spiritual and financial. He taught and showed our children how to love God and others, he built a strong family bond that is proving to be unshakable through this ordeal, and he took steps to assure that we would be able to keep the house that he and Goose spent years building.
Eric and I would talk about what I was to do if he died. He even wrote me a letter with all of our financial notes in it. The letter starts out saying "If you are reading this letter then this is a sad day for you..."
I am learning the art of taking care of the finances (something he wanted to teach me and I dreaded). I am learning how to take care of car and house problems. I am learning how to make decisions - something that Eric did for me for the past twenty years. I am learning to discipline the children without the benefit of having daddy's help. I am learning how to make my way through the business world that I despise. And, if Eric could (or would even want to) look down on us I know he would yell "I know you can do it. I believe in you."


fletch said...

We believe in you!

Kenj said...

Ha! My hubby beat me to it! I came over here just to tell you what a fantastic job you are doing and that we believe in you.

And you are not alone, sweet friend :)

Edith said...

I can so relate to this post. I've been a widow now for almost 5 years...and went through an extended illness (6 years) with my husband before he died. I have been blessed to be able to continue to work at a school system that allows me to be off when my boys are off. And for the most part the bills are paid. Yet I've made some foolish decisions during this time due to my grief. The fact that you and Eric talked and prepared for this possibility - as difficult as it is - is a huge blessing and a further testament to his love for you and his spiritual maturity.

I hope that makes sense. Thank you again for being so open in this journey you are walking.

Alesha said...

I'd have to say I much prefer paperwork to housework! :-)

If you can organize homeschoolers, plan and prepare 3 meals a day, stay on top of laundry, remember doctor's visits, do housecleaning, etc., you will be spectacular at the finances.

You just organize them in the same fashion. Use whatever method works for your regular duties - schedules, calendars, sticky-notes - and manage your bills with that too.

I used Microsoft outlook at work for scheduling all my tasks. Now that I'm at home, I'm going to use it for my household chores. It's familiar and it works for me.

People handle finances differently, yet successfully. Find the way that works for you, with God's help, and it won't seem so overwhelming.

Much love and many thoughts and prayers,
(Cheryl's bloggy friend)

Valerie said...

Well let me echo the others! I beleive in you too! I have been so proud of you and how well you have handled everything since Eric's death. Of course God receives the glory for it but you have been a vessle and been used already by Him.

Heather, over the 15 years of our friendship you have always inspired me and you continue to. Thanks!

As Kenj said, "you are not alone sweet friend." We love you and are so grateful when we can support you in whatever way is needed.

The Kidd Kids said...

Just remember that you "can do all things, through Christ who strengthens you".

You continue to be in my family's prayers.

Much love,

howiesgal said...

Yes, that is what Eric would say and yes you can do it my friend!

smidge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smidge said...

Man, you have to stay up late and get up early around here to be the first to tell you, "We believe in you!" (Did you notice that Kenj posted at 3:28 AM?). :)

I'll add my voice to the many. I believe in you. I know the Lord is giving you the ability and wisdom to lead your family well. And yes, "you are not alone, sweet friend."

I love you!

Anonymous said...

We continue to pray for you, and with your very practical post, now there are again very specific items to pray for.
I have been doing accounting for many years now, and actually helped some mutual friends with their bookkeeping for years (Roy & Deb Dooley.) If you need help, please just let me know. I would be more than happy to help in an area where I am extremely comfortable.
You don't know my phone number or e-mail, but I will make a big effort to remember to send those to you by snail mail. I don't have a way to get hold of you either other than this post.
I would be honored to help in any way I could.
Sue R.

Quinne said...

Hi :) Trusting the father with you and praying. Love to you,Q

Sonja said...

You are so very precious and I thank you for being a great light and witness. It's great encouragement to see your honesty and transparency as you walk through this.

Honestly, my husband and I haven't talked in great detail about what would happen if one of us died. When we have talked, it's mostly been if he died and how we want me to be able to continue homeschooling. I think it should definitely be a priority to discuss it in greater detail and I look forward to an opportunity to discuss it with him.

And from what I'm getting to know of you (through cyberspace), there's no doubt in my mind that you ccan do it!

Thank you, Lord, for surrounding Heather with a wonderful church family. You truly do meet all our needs.

Love, Sonja

felmleyfam said...

1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

this sounds just like what you are doing; committed to keeping your souls in well doing unto your Creator!

Thanks for sharing the practical side as we wanted to ask about finances but weren't sure if this what the right format to do it in.

What a sweet love you shared with your dear beloved!

thinking of you and remembering you in our prayers.

Kenj said...

"(Did you notice that Kenj posted at 3:28 AM?). :)"

Yah, but I was still in bed when you posted at 8:39 AM ;D

Sinus infection... flu... blech...

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for you too since I heard. And even though we do not know each other, your faith has been an inspiration to me and from what I have learned about you this past month or so, is that I too KNOW you can do it! I will continue to pray for you through the years!
Tucson, Az

Anonymous said...

Praying for you many are..all around the country!! Love, Denise

homeskoolmom5883 said...

I praise God for your wonderful church family! It sounds like Eric thought of everything... even a letter. Probably a great blessing so you have in writing what you need to do right now as far as the bills go.

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