Life as a series of small thwartings

My ex-wife’s younger sister died yesterday.

It was no surprise to anyone: she’d been ailing for some time, and checked into a hospice for her few remaining days. This bothered me a great deal, not so much for the tenuous familial connection to me, but for the fact that she was the youngest of three. (I was married to the middle child. More than that I shall not say.)

It tears me up when someone younger than I am checks out of this plane of existence. (I know, I know: “better place.” Well, that’s the way I’ve always heard it should be.) Given that I had four younger siblings, three of whom are gone, this too is no surprise.

This is not a family that dawdles. They’d already made the funeral arrangements, so it was a simple matter of picking a date, and the date they picked is tomorrow, the 18th. I can’t do fourteen hours of driving in eighteen hours, so I can’t go.

At least I can send flowers, right? No, wait: in lieu of, they request a donation to the hospice. Okay, I can do that. As it happens, an actual American Express gift card landed on my doorstep yesterday; instead of agonizing over what to do with it, I’ll just run it through the donation box. The Lord worketh in mysterious ways, and all that.

However, no ways are more mysterious than those of online storefronts. I got through their donation page well enough, until the bottom: “Expiration date.” I didn’t even chuckle. Card expires: June 2021. I pulled down the year-selection box, and it quits at 2020.

And come to think of it, does Amex really think it’s going to take nine years to burn off a two-digit balance?

Fare thee well, lovely lady. Even if it’s not a better world, it’s surely better organized.


  1. McGehee »

    17 August 2012 · 10:38 am

    Having worked as a cashier I’m pretty sure 2020 would have worked.

  2. Bill Peschel »

    17 August 2012 · 11:42 am

    One bookselling site has no problem accepting my credit card even if I don’t type in the 3-digit security code. In fact, it remembers it, so anyone can jump on my computer and order away, which kinda defeats the purpose of the code.

    Which is my way of delaying sending my condolences to you over her passing. Contemplation of eternity is not quite the panacea it should be. Small wonder we so easily distract ourselves as much as possible. As I get older, I try to be more forgiving of it, and even indulge in it.

  3. CGHill »

    17 August 2012 · 12:00 pm

    They seemed to comprehend the three-digit code on the back (which, on Amex, is a four-digit code on the front) just fine.

  4. Melessa »

    17 August 2012 · 1:42 pm

    I loved this post and I’m sorry about her passing.

  5. Roger Green »

    17 August 2012 · 5:30 pm

    Yes, I’d feel badly if my ex’s sibs passed.
    Nice piece.

  6. Tatyana »

    18 August 2012 · 8:20 am

    I am still unconsoled after my grandma (who was exactly 40 yrs older) passed away 25 years ago. Can’t imagine living through death of a family member who is younger than me.

  7. CGHill »

    18 August 2012 · 2:59 pm

    Sometimes I’m grateful for the ability to compartmentalize, so I can shuffle this kind of thing back to the background. I’d be even more grateful if it were reliable enough to keep it there, which it’s not.

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