Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What a cold, cold world ...

What a horribly fucking cold and impersonal world we live in, people. What everyone feared for decades has finally happened ... we've simply become numbers on a spreadsheet without faces or names. Our humanity has been taken for granted one too many times ... and the rules, regulations, and bullshit has taken over where kindness and generosity used to stand.

Mom called me awhile ago sobbing her heart out. She'd just phoned their health insurance provider to let them know about Dad's passing. They told her they couldn't speak with her about anything regarding the account. They could only speak with "the sponsor". Well, the sponsor is Dad ... and it'd be hard to get a message through to him. Even if we did, I'm pretty sure even Sprint couldn't guarantee a reliable connection. Can you hear me now?

Mom tried to explain three separate times that they couldn't speak with the sponsor because the sponsor was deceased. The representative then started reciting their regulations, "In accordance with Chapter 5, Section 13, we are unable to discuss any account transactions with anyone other than said sponsor ..." and ... my mother lost it. She started sobbing and cried, "He's DEAD ... your sponsor is DEAD."

Apparently the sound of that grief was what was needed to get them to stop and listen. For the company, all it took was faxing a death certificate and everything will be processed immediately. For my Mom, however, that experience took a big chunk out of whatever emotional fortitude she'd built up.

Now she's dwelling on every other company they've dealt with over the years ... and wondering if she'll have to go through this pain every time. I'd like to reassure her that she won't ... but I can't. In my heart, I'm sure she'll have a similar conversation at least once more in the coming months. I guess all I can do is be there to pick up the pieces afterwards ... because I can fight a lot of battles for her ... but realistically, I can't fight them all.

It's just such an empty feeling ... to be left behind. And I'm sure Mom's like me ... we understand the world has to go on ... it's just that sometimes it'd be easier if it didn't.

He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed we’re crippled and we’re dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace

Elton John - Empty Garden


  1. Jenna4:44 PM

    Incredibly sad. Those people are so used to doing their jobs that they become almost robotic and they don't even realize that they are talking to real people. Usually that's ok, but in your mother's case she needed to be talking to a human. I think sensitivity training should be required for any job.

    (I hope she doesn't have to go through that awful experience again. Losing a loved one is hard enough.)

  2. Life has it's ups and downs. She hasn't had another experience quite as bad as this one yet. But, tommorrow she has an appointment with a Social Security case worker. Apparently, SSA sent Mom a letter saying she owes them some obsene amount of money.

    When she called to ask for an explanation, they admitted there'd been a terrible error ... but they can't fix it over the phone. She has to actually go in with a death certificate to prove Dad's date of death, etc.

    Sigh ... it never ends. Like I said, losing someone is pretty damned awful ... but then there's this avalanche of paperwork. It definitely wasn't what I expected ... and it makes me really dread the day when something happens to mom.