Friday, May 6, 2011

What to do with a Death Certificate?

Strangest thing happened.  I finally had company over, pat me on the back its been a year, and we were playing yatzee.  By the way, I smoked them!

I needed something to write on so I grab a nice notebook leather bound given to me because it seems the best thing to write on.

We were laughing and having fun, and I thought suddenly, this notebook had dust all over it, what's in it?  For heavens sake I gotta dust.

I opened this nice leather bound notebook and staring me in the face was the original death certificate of my husband.

Shutting the notebook quickly before anyone could see because I felt so lucky to have company and really needed this, I swallowed back the lump and kept playing Yatzee.  I laughed, but it really wasn't me suddenly.  That lump settled deep into my heart and I was very much struggling to maintain.

I didn't want to blow it with this visiting and playing a game because no one comes by to see me except my son who is in town for awhile.  Thank-God for sons even though they can be wild youth producing many gray hairs before your time.

Company went home.  The notebook sat beside me.  I looked at it long and hard.  Finally, I opened it to go through it.  Big as day, and I don't know about you, but those death certificates look larger and fancier and more attention getting than a marriage certificate or birth certificate.  Okay, I'm looking.  Flipping to the next page was my daughters ultrasound pictures of her mini-me.  Her gift to Rob and I.  Flipping the next page, our marriage certificate.  We always had it hanging on the wall like a prized degree.  It stared at me seeming so tiny compared to the other two.

I sit alone, the lump it forms.  It will always be this way.  Nothing can stop that dreaded lump even if it doesn't appear for a little while.  It will make its appearance and nothing can be done about it.  I don't know what to do with his death certificate.  I don't know what to do with our marriage certificate.  I don't know what do with the rare few notes and some of the letters he sent me while out fishing.  His urn.

Worse yet, I have no one I can talk to about this because they'll disappear quickly.  I don't blame them.  What can you say?  Sigh.  A tear.  The lump.  The memory.  Three years AD (after death).  I know I have to move on.  Never forget, but I have to move on or I will be living in the street and that would break his heart.

A tradition exists in the family I never followed through with.  Its called a cedar chest full of memories.  Each female keeps some sort of cedar chest in our family for dear precious memories.  Daughters inherit this chest either upon marriage, or upon death of mother.  It is like a dowry.

I suppose it's time for me to save some money for a cedar chest.  I have my mothers but it cant be shipped as it's too far away.  But it's tucked safely at my aunt's.  I need one more for I have two daughters.  A smaller one.  One the girls can give their daughters as they add to it after I am gone.

Yes, this is what I must do with the death certificate and the precious memories.


  1. Indeed Robin, this can not be decided until your heart can make a decision for the future. I am learning this quickly as I have let go of things I wish I could have back ... like his blue stripped shirt! I have a large "Rubbermaid" container that I have labelled "later" and anything that has me wondering what to do ... goes into the bin. This way, I know I have it but I don't need to be reminded everyday.
    Take heart and blessings Robin!

  2. I'm waiting for this day to happen to me...and I'll be wondering just like you are. After my house fire, those kind of things are still in boxes that I don't want to deal with.....and am doing so slowly. Last time I went through some of the boxes, I spent the entire day in tears...does it ever stop?

    Start your own tradition with your girls.....and make sure both of them would want such a thing. I have one child that doesn't seem to put a lot of stock into these types of things (or I should say, his wife doesn't)...but the other is steeped with tradition. Do what feels right for "you," my dear.



  3. The way you open your heart, Robin, is an inspiration for us. I recently had an encounter with my wife's death certificate when I had to send a copy to my retirement agency. It's so cold, clinical, and final; it's like it's talking
    about a stranger. I just keep it in a folder in a file with all the other stuff like notes from doctor appointments and the like. I keep you in my prayers.

  4. Its the one peice of paper that completely throws me into total quiet lump. But Ginette you have a gret idea, I found a bin today. It will do until I get a chest. Mary, Thank-you, My one daughter want these things badly. I'm glad to hear from you. Been thinking of you its been awhile. John, thank-you for the compliments. I hope it helps someone. I wonder what I'll think of this blog in another year? :)


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