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As far as the Desk can tell now, this will be the last article focusing exclusively on everything that has happened since December of last year (and indeed, the last four years). No this is not Closure. The Desk is simply tired of thinking about it so much.
[Three articles in one.]

Thank you.
Oh, Please, Give me a break.

I WANT MY LAWYER!

        The Desk has some distance behind it now since Mrs. Desk went on that final journey...

                ... deep breath, sip of coffee... ok...

        ... and it seems to be time to say 'thank you' to a large number of people, to ask some outfits for a bit of patience and understanding, and for a few others to sing loud and long the chorus from that Warren Zevon song "Send Lawyers Guns and Money..."

        Oh yes. There are a couple of organizations who absolutely INSIST on being paid NOW on an account or whatever that the Desk didn't know she had, on things it is not sure she ever ordered, and they have no proof the Desk is responsible at all in any way shape or form for the debt. But they call, they mail, they ... yes... harass, and demand payment.
        "We will take this matter to court."
        "OK go for it. And I expect you to produce something before the judge with my name on it that says I am the responsible party for the debt."
        For once, a bill collector hung up on the Desk.
        Well. They'll get over it. Eventually.

The THANK YOU's

        Delaware Hospice.
        The Desk cannot say enough about them, their people, and the way they helped and handled everything. Especially Nurse Kathy and Ms Angela and a few others.
        They were only involved for almost exactly six weeks. Yet it seemed much much longer. And for the final two weeks they were either at the house or on the phone sometimes twice a day. Through the Blizzard of 2003, through nonsense, supply issues, and simple insanity, they were THERE.
        That is a big relief. To know you have people with you, behind you, a phone call away that Know what they are doing and have the resources and their own backup to deal with whatever comes along.
        As for the After Care or whatever they call it. The Desk cannot address that. We have been far too busy to get involved with them, right now. But that will come.

        Perspectives Counseling and Dr. J (not That Dr. J this is another one).
        They started out being involved because number 2 daughter was having trouble dealing with her mother's illness. Their roll expanded until she was eating dinner with the entire family and even talking to the dog.
        Some people see a need and meet it, formalities (and co-pays) be damned. She was NOT supposed to be helping the Desk, number one daughter, the grandparents, and yes, the dog, get through this, but we needed it, she could do it, and she did it.
        How do you thank somebody for something like that?

        Campus Community School and Campus Community High School
        Even though there were a few individual staff who seemed to oblivious to what was going on and why the girls weren't behaving and doing things like the other kids, overall the schools themselves have been great. The teachers, for the most part, have understood why the girls haven't been themselves due to the rather unusual circumstances, and why maybe they have missed some work and turned things in late. Their counselors and school nurses and office staff have gone out of their way to help, and to take care of the few problem individuals and even talked the desk out inflicting bad craziness on an individual staff member who seemed to take pleasure in making things even worse. The Desk put the order of scorpions and vampire bats it had placed on hold until the end of the school year. "We'll see."

        Job People.
        The Desk works for the State of Delaware in its Day Job.
        You would not expect a State Agency to be compassionate and understanding and its people to actually CARE about what one of its employees was going through. Especially in the situation the Desk's job found itself in. Being phased out, re-organized, downsized, moved, removed, transitioned, and so on. But, surprisingly, there were some that genuinely cared and went out of their way to do what they could. And there were a few, yeah, a few, that went far above and beyond any sort of duty or obligation to help the Desk and its family in ways the Desk cannot even begin to describe.
        Without them, the Desk would most likely have ended up unemployed and more importantly, Mrs. Desk would have been uninsured through the endgame of her illness.
        The Desk will say this without hesitation. If it had still worked at the prison- it would have had to out and out quit or go on leave without pay for several months.

        And then there is its part time job. What can you say? The Desk tried to quit... they wouldn't let it.
        The management of the Shepherd Place homeless shelter went out of their way to keep the Desk on the payroll, arranged coverage of shifts at the expense of overtime and even worked late to cover open shifts themselves. Now the Desk is down to one scheduled shift, versus three before all this happened, and the occasional weekend day shift doing whatever maintenance needs done.

        Churches.
        You expect charity from the Church. It is one of the things the Apostles were doing in the first century and the reason they recruited the first Deacons (see Acts chapter Six).
        And true enough. During Mrs. Desk's illness and the first few days following, the Desk and the girls were beneficiaries of much kindness from them. They brought food, visited, hauled the girls to functions, helped clean house, and so on. And for that, the Desk is grateful.
        But now that her race is over and her fight is fought and she has 'gone to be with the Lord'... it seems they have assumed everything is now fine and we no longer need the outside support.
        Well, maybe we don't. We have been managing, sometimes just barely, but managing, without it. Perchance life would be easier, and perhaps you would be able to see the top of the kitchen table, if somebody offered some suggestions and assistance getting and keeping things organized, but... we shall muddle through. And maybe that is what we need to do.

        The USS RAVEN (IFT) and Co.
        OK, they are a strange lot.
        The Desk tries to keep some of them at arm's length. Others it likes in small doses, some have become friends, others have become, ok, family. Complete strangers from the IFT or the Con Staff itself at Farpoint helped with various things. A few did other things, some wrote emails, others posted memorials or made contributions to the girl's education fund or to the Relay for Life.
        But the Desk has always said, it does Not like Dull People, and most of this group are most certainly not Dull.

        Others that are in line for thanks include the people in various medical doctor's offices, even some hospital staff and the folks at the nursing home she was in for a week. Yes, there were, and are, some real ...well... nevermind... types here and there. But for the most part, they were helpful and considerate, or at least Professional. Which goes a long way in and of itself.
        There were people from Mrs. Desk's job and the temp office she worked through that came by and called and did things.
        Friends in the community, and workers in stores we went to and the Chinese Restaurant next door. They asked how she was doing, gave her discounts, even just a smile and a nod helped out.

        That's the problem with thanking people. You always forget somebody.

        Well.... To those the list missed. Thanks.


OH, GEEZE....

        Some people have no idea what to say or do when you are in the situation the Desk is in.
            Really.
                 What CAN they say? What can they DO?

        There is nothing anybody can say or do to actually ease the physical pain the Desk feels now and then when it goes home to that empty house. When it finds something that was hers and has to put it up, or get rid of it.
        Most recently, it was a razor that she had used. One of those fancy women's shavers in the designer color with the comfort grip. Yeah, it was hers. It had been forgotten in the cabinet under the sink in the hallway bathroom. The girls use a different kind of razor on their legs. Mrs. Desk liked the pretty ones. It took the Desk two days to get around to throwing it out.
        And it almost made him sick to do it.

        There will be more. Probably a lot more. Clothes we had put in storage, personal items, books and papers.
        It will probably be years before it is all accounted for. If it ever is.

        But it is the mindless platitudes and empty gestures that get to the Desk the most.

Perhaps a list....

        * "We'll go out to lunch sometime." Harmless enough. True. But meaningless unless you actually pick a day and a place and then show up. The Desk is all for lunch. Lunch is one of its favorite things. It gets it out of the office and provides some variety in the menu department. It isn't even picky as to what it eats. Chinese, Italian, steak house, even that 'You want fries with that' place is OK once in awhile. Nice thought, thank you, now please.... Give up.

        * "We could go out for a drink and talk..." A little more on the social than lunch, but still fairly harmless. But once again. They never offer a time or place. It is an empty offer. And one the Desk is tired of hearing.

        * "If there is Anything you need..." and variations thereof.  This one is so worn out the Desk doesn't even hear it anymore. Ninety percent of those that say it do not mean it. If you call, they are busy, sick, unavailable, in Kentucky, whatever. Yeah, you said it, feel better now? Don't Offer.... DO.

        * "We're here for you..." Now. Exactly what does that mean? Ok, you're there. Everybody has to be somewhere. So?

        * "It was for the best..." Who says? OK, yes, there is Scripture to back that up, however, it is talking in terms of the Eternal. The Desk is not worried in the least about Eternity, it has to figure out what to feed the girls for dinner Tonight! Has the gas bill been paid for this month? When does the registration on the Jeep expire? How is one or the other of the girls going to get to her school function next week? The Good Lord will take care of Eternity... The Here and Now is our problem.

        * "Did she suffer?" 1. If it were any of your samhill business you would have been told by now. 2. There is no way we could know what was going on inside her since she was unable to talk for her last three days. 3. Define Suffering. She was leaving her family and friends in what should have been the prime of her life. THAT is Suffering. 4. Well, she doesn't have to put up with morons like you anymore, we do. That is suffering too.

        * "Do you miss her? " oh please... If looks could kill....

        * "I'm sure you'll find somebody else eventually." There have been several variations of that one. All of which are well intended... stupid, heartless, even physically dangerous to say depending on the Desk's mood, but well intended nonetheless. But fortunately, there is still that sign above the Desk's day job desk that says:

        "No Guns, No Knives, No Killings."
        Wyatt Earp (Burt Lancaster) to Doc Holiday (Kirk Douglas)
        Gunfight at the OK Corral Paramount Pictures. 1957

        * Cards, letters, emails, phone calls.... Phone Calls. Damnit, if the Desk gets one more call at eleven thirty at night from somebody just wanting to massage their own conscience about why they haven't called before... ... ... Oh well. At least they had the right phone number. For some of our relatives, friends, etc, that's something. The Desk has a box of cards, a drawer full of letters, a folder full of emails. All of which arrived one way or another the week after her passing. A good percentage of which it has never, and will probably never, read. They all say the same thing... we are sorry... bless you... prayers... and so on. Yeah. Well, us too. If you mean it, follow up on that one with another one a few weeks later and use your own words this time.


CIRCLE THE LAWYERS!

        The Desk is currently ramping up for a war of its own.
        Besides idiotic creditors, there are insurance companies who seem overrun with incompetence (how many times do you have to explain the physical address is NOT the mailing address?), and other outfits unwilling or unable to accept the fact that forty year old people are mortal.
        One caller insisted on speaking to Melissa herself and told the Desk he had called 'Last Week and Talked to HER About this Matter.' Yeah sure buddy. Have a nice life.
        Of course some of the bills in her name the Desk will have to pay, eventually. Most creditors have hardship procedures, if you scream at them enough, and they will accept a reduced payment in these situations.
        Others, however, have to be verbally beaten into submission, threatened, and even coerced into accepting reality. The Desk is waiting for one bunch to file a court case. It has copies of letters and all. It is even thinking about getting a really neat 'gee whiz' phone call recorder and putting a beep on the line just for one of them.

        For Instance: M_ (full name deleted on advice of desk paralegal) Life.
        They are the group life insurance carrier for the State's Day job. The name is public record.
        There is also an old saying. "The Smaller the Insurance Company, the harder they are to deal with."
        M_ Life is run almost as a Ma and Pa store. (As viewed by Fortune Magazine, the Weiss group and others). Never mind the hype on the company's web site.
        Just TRY to deal with them and get something accomplished.


        In any case.

        The Desk and its family are getting through it. They are getting their wheels back under them and starting to look forward. It has only been three weeks since the last memorial service. These things take time.
        Even in the days of Instant News, Cel Phone Teleconferences and picture ID's required for video rentals... things like this take time.
        How much time?
        Nobody knows.
        For some things, maybe a few more weeks or a couple of months.
        For other things.... a lifetime.

-selah-


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