A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, I went to the social security office. The kids and I get monthly survivor’s benefits. This is just part of the social security program for everyone who pays into it. I went in hoping it would just cover my rent. Not having life insurance, I have to figure some things out quickly. In my mind, if I have my rent covered, I can figure out how to make up the rest. I was super disappointed when I left and realized it wouldn’t even cover my rent. It’s still something. But it was not much. People said everywhere from a few hundred dollars per person to several thousand per person in survivors benefits. I believe it depends on things like how long they had been paying into social security and how much they had been paying in each year. Mine was on the low end of that scale.
I was frustrated. Maybe that’s bad. But I was hoping for enough that I just didn’t have to worry about that one thing. It was slightly short and some sort of mental thing-with it not even meeting my lowest expectation-set me off. I just started panicking.
I was grateful that Winnie wanted to listen to music in the Majestic Minivan on the way home because I couldn’t stop crying. This is one of those moments where I get mad at Denny. What does he expect me to do? What did he think I was going to do? No real work history for 7 years, no life insurance… It was always a priority for me to be at home. Both of us wanted that and that’s what worked best for our family. But now what? After telling me how important it was for me to be able to stay at home… years of him working his butt off so that I could… Now what? Now I don’t have that option. How are the three of us supposed to heal and attend therapy 3x a week (future post to explain) if I have to go out and work. Now I have to make hard decisions on my own that will not only affect me, but Winnie and Piper for the rest of their lives.
I turned on the radio for W and tried to think things through in my mind. I needed Denny right now. I started thinking out loud, “Show me you’re involved because I’m freaking out right now and I’m kinda mad at you.”
The first song that comes on is 15 years old on a top forties station… that was weird. But I loved this band and it was one of the only bands Denny and I could both agree on. Kind of embarrassing but it’s All-American Rejects “Move Along.” On a top 40 station though? So weird. The lyrics say, “When all you’ve gotta keep is strong, move along, move along like I know you do. And even when your hope is gone move along, move along, just to make it through.” Definitely relevant to me at the moment. So I thought “Weird, but whatever.” And listened to the song.
After the song finishes, I change the station. This station’s commercials finish and the new song starts… “Africa” by Toto. You know the one. This song was probably one of the greatest points of contention in our marriage. About 10 years ago I spent a summer in Africa and every time the topic would come up, he would sing, “I kiss the rains down in Africa.” Those are not the words. It’s “I bless the rains down in Africa.” Kiss the rains doesn’t make any sense. And I lived in Africa so I would obviously know better than him (joke). But he knew it drove me nuts so he would always insist those were the actual words just to tease me. And that was the song that came on. At this point it was too much to be a coincidence and I just started laughing through my tears.
Again I finish the song and I am laugh-crying with a little rage and still some anger towards Denny. He always knew how to do that though, make me laugh no matter what I was feeling. And again I thought out loud, “Okay I get you’re here but how am I supposed to do this? I can’t do this on my own.” And the next song to come on? Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson. Yep. That sounds about right. That’s Denny’s sense of humor. Sassing me.
Before all of this, I never believed people when they said they had these “signs” someone was there who had passed away. Because my mom died, who I was super close to. And I never felt a thing. Never felt her “presence.” Never felt her helping or guiding me. And I totally get if people are like “Okay cuckoo bananas that’s not real,” because I was that way. But since Denny died things like this are constantly happening
That first week or two it was a consistent feeling of him lifting me up. Now it’s little moments here and there. And it’s usually something funny or super awkward, or both. Like the Minivan alarm going off as they are loading his casket into the hearse. Or when someone comes to our house that I know Denny wasn’t a fan of, I get this overwhelming feeling of loathing even if I adore the person. It’s actually funny to me.
Today something happened where I just felt him laughing at me. That just sounds so crazy to say that when I used to roll my eyes when people would say stuff like this. But I don’t know how to explain it. Denny always made fun of people who wore rompers because they are so awkward to take off when you have to use the restroom. You have to take the whole thing off. I bought a romper but new I could never wear one around him because I would just get made fun of. So today I wore it and frantically had to take it off so I didn’t wet my pants. And I could feel him almost making fun of me in that moment.
I don’t know how to explain this any better. But I know the people who have left this world are still really here. Their spirit or soul or whatever you want to call it is here helping you. There is something after this. I don’t know what it is or how it works. But I know it’s real. I know Denny’s not leaving our side any time soon. He’s going to guide us through the rest of this life. He’s going to help us however he can. I’m slowly becoming more open to this being a reality and I have started to actually believe it and see it and feel it for myself.
Oh and I have been graciously offered by some loved ones the extra amount every month to make up the difference in my rent. I was also given the check from Costa Vida later that day which gave me enough for one month at home with my girls. Denny’s here and watching out for us. I know he’ll make sure we’re okay.