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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Can't

I can't.
I can't hear your voice.
I can't smell your body.
I can't see your face.
I can't feel your touch.
I can't taste your kiss.
I can't believe you're gone.
I can't believe you're not coming back.
I can't imagine all you miss doing with the boys.
I can't imagine growing old without you.
I can't.
Some days I can't.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Kiss

It's been almost 7 months since my husband passed away. Today I decided to clean out the freezer and get rid of any food left over from the funeral. I was listening to music and the playlist is called Steve. Some of the songs are from our life together and some of the songs that just remind me of him. Our song, "Love of a Lifetime" came on just as I found a single Hershey Kiss in the very bottom of the chest freezer.

Monday, July 16, 2018

School

We notified the school way right away that he had passed away. Because he was out for surgery and then we were going on Christmas break, they already had a sub in his room to use his lesson plans.

I did have to talk to them about numerous things like getting paid for sick leave and compensation time he had earned for covering for other teachers. Because we get paid over the entire year, I had to also request a salary adjustment because he had not been paid for the amount of time he had put in this year. Other things I had to talk about where the extra duties he did such as Lego and recess duty.

One of the teachers contacted me and asked for his login information for the system they used at school. He had made a video for each of the lessons for the school year demonstrating how to do the math problems. A few of the teachers were still going to use these when they helped students. I hope I still can access these so I can hear his voice.

After the funeral and Christmas were over,  his sister and I went up to the room to clean out his personal belongings. It was another really hard thing to do. I felt I needed to leave certain things in the room so that when the kids returned in January it wouldn't be completely empty and blank. And then there were many things that we had personally provided in the room that I felt I needed to take. I took things like pictures of our boys and drawings they had done for him. I left posters that I knew some of the students have made. and some of the other posters that I knew we did not have a use for.

It will be really weird in August to not go and set up his classroom. This is something I have done every year since he started teaching. One year I even went and did it by myself.

Throughout the few months of school we received home and cards from the students. I heard from parents that their students really had a hard time going to school without him there. The middle school he taught in dedicated their month of March to him and we received any donations that the students had raised. He always wanted to teach 6th grade math. I'm so glad you got to do his dream job and know that he made such a difference in the lives of the students.

At the very end of the year the teacher in the classroom had collected things that belong to Steve and those were returned to me. I attended the end of the year party with the staff. It was bittersweet to drive there by myself. I know almost everyone there but there were still moments of tears mixed in with lots of moments of laughter.

Medical insurance

I mailed forms to our medical insurance company on January 2nd with a copy of the death certificate. He had a policy through the school he worked at with additional benefits added. we paid a few dollars a month to have a death benefit added. I received a check for the life insurance portion and for two of the additional packages that we had added to each of our insurances. I received payment almost immediately and deposited at my local bank. Because of the amount of two of the checks the bank did have to put a hold on them for 3 days.

This was a piece of information I had not expected at all. I didn't realize that banks had to hold checks of a certain amount for a certain length of time.

Because I'm the primary holder of the insurance I also contacted them about my information. I do have a death benefit listed I needed to reply to them with a death certificate. I received a small check from my insurance. My advice is to spend the extra $3, $4 or $7 a month and add extra packages. The amount we received far exceeded the amount we had spent.

Steve had to be brought to the hospital from our house and I received a bill from our hospital towards the end of January. It said I was responsible for the entire amount as Steve was not on my insurance at the time of billing.

I then contacted someone at member services and they told me that because he was alive the day he used that service that the insurance company would cover the cost. We had already met our deductible for the year and so there would be no cost to me. It was paid in full in the middle of February.

Office of Retirement Services

On January 3rd I contacted the office of Retirement Services. they too were frustrating in the fact that everything took a long time.

I first talked to the woman about the fact that I was still teaching and so my retirement is not affected. She told me to log into my account and check to make sure that my beneficiaries and dependents were listed as the boys. She said as of right now it would default to them anyway but that I was welcome to go and change it if I needed to.

As far as Steve was concerned, they would need me to either fax or mail a copy of the death certificate which I did. They will then review the file. Once it was reviewed they would send me a letter and include an application if the benefits could be provided now.

I called again on February 20th to see what the holdup was. They told me they had received the paperwork. And what the gross amount would be and that they were still processing my file.

I again called on March 22nd to find out the status. I did receive a letter explaining the situation and was back paid for January, February and March.

Because of how long he taught and the fact that he didn't quit, he was eligible for his retirement. I was listed as the beneficiary and so I receive one check each month.

Social security

One place I knew I needed to contact was Social Security. They were frustrating to deal with until I actually spoke with a human at the end.

I called the office on January 2nd and was told that it was going to be a 45 minute wait. I then tried calling a local number the next day but was told it was disconnected.

We had a snow day on January 11th and so I went to the actual office in my town and made an appointment for them to review my case. I brought the death certificate with me knowing that they have been notified by the funeral home. What I didn't realize was that I also needed my marriage certificate and birth certificates for all 5 of us. My father-in-law was able to drop those off for me the next day knowing Steve's social security number to be able to link it to our case.

They told me my appointment would be at 11: 30 on the 26th...of February! and the other thing I found weird was that it was going to be a phone conversation not in person at the office.

So I waited a month and a half and then in  February talked to someone who told me that at this time I make too much money to be able to collect Social Security for myself. he told me I should check back with Social Security in the year 2020 to see if at that point I would be eligible. I did get a one time payment of $225.

All three of my boys were eligible to receive a monthly payment. They each receive the same amount up until my oldest turns 18 in a few months. They would back pay January and February and include that in the March check. Once my oldest turns 18 the other two will get a larger amount until they are 18.

The money is sent at the end of the month directly into my checking account.

When the first check arrived there was a bunch of paperwork that also came in the mail explaining that everything that the money is spent on needs to be documented. There is a list of acceptable things that the money can be spent on. I started a log in my budgeting notebook for what the boys were spending money on.

I also created a savings account at my local bank for each of the boys to put this money into if it's not money I need for our household budget.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

An answer

So earlier this morning, I was laying in bed and decided to pray and ask that I would be able to be quiet enough in my thoughts to hear Jesus and I did!!!

He talked to me about all kinds of different things.

One of the things he told me is that he needed Steve to watch the children and babies in heaven. He had prepped Steve by having him be home more and to stop some of his committees and commitments. Jesus told me to back and look in my journal and see that we had more time and more date nights this past fall and winter.

He also told me that I can be happy on my own. And that I need to always be present.

It was beautiful.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Who ya gonna call?

No I'm not going to call Ghostbusters. And I'm also not going to call Steve. Even though it's been over 6 months, there are still times that I really want to give him a call to let him know something good is happening or to talk to him about something bad that's happening. When you've been with somebody for over 25 years they are they are your go to. He was who I talked to about everything.

Right now I am looking at some changes to my job and I just want his advice. I want to hear what he thinks. I want him to tell me that I'm going to be okay.

I have a ton of of the people I can talk with. I have love and support from family and friends. But sometimes the only person you want to talk to is your soulmate.

So I write notes to him and I talked to him and I try to be still and listen for answers.