Today I read Jason’s death certificate. I put the paper on the table in front of me and read it through, line by line, including the Great Seal of Minnesota. There isn’t a lot there to read. It’s just line after dry, factual line, summarizing a life based on his major relationships, and at the bottom, two lines stating how he died.
Once I read it through, I folded it in thirds and put it in an envelope. That certificate is destined for the life insurance company. They can’t go forward with the pay outs until they get a death certificate. I gave it to one of his co-workers to pass to another co-worker to give to the life insurance. It somehow feels better to hand it to someone than mail it. I’m not sure why, I guess because it feels more personal.
When we were sitting at the Cremation Society, talking to the funeral director, I had to buy the death certificates. I got a dozen to start. It turns out that like most things, death certificates are cheaper in bulk.
The bureaucracy of death is insane. I got a dozen death certificates because I figured I’d need them. One has to go to the life insurance, another one has to go to our mortgage holders, a third has to go to the lawyers. Those are just the ones I’m aware of right now. I’m sure I’ll have to file more with each utility provider, and the bank to take his name off the accounts.
I actually got the death certificates two weeks ago. I just didn’t look at them. I didn’t really want to look at them. I’m afraid that, like other folks I’ve talked to, I’ll end up carrying one with me as I go through the bureaucracy of Jason’s death. It takes a lot to die in this country.
I didn’t cry while I read the death certificate. I’m worn out of crying. Not that that stops me; I seem to have an infinite well of tears. I wish I didn’t have an infinite well of snot to go with them. Today has been more of an internal sad day. The kind of sad that makes me curl up in a ball in familiar places, like the couch at our old house, or the hammock on the front porch. This is the kind of sad that nothing can touch, that I’m afraid will overwhelm me and drag me into an abyss. It’s closer to the kind of sad I think I’m going to face for the next year, and the year after that, and the years after that.
I wish I had Jason to lean into, to curl up against and take comfort from. I don’t.