Emotional Cleanup

Last Thursday, at 4:15 p.m., I closed my late father’s checking account.

For a while now I’ve been faced with this task; he’s been deceased a few months, since July, but for some reason I’ve been very reluctant to do this, even though every bill that is going to get paid from that account has been paid, by now.

There is a little money in there, but not much. Just enough to help buy a nice Christmas gift for the whole family — a pool table for the rec room. We saw it as a nice way to memorialize him; plus with five in our family, we’ll get lots of use out of it.

No, this reluctance to close the account goes deeper for me. I guess it’s the absolute finality of it. We have his checkbook, filled with his checks, backed by his money. It’s been comforting to me, in some small, but apparently meaningful, way. It had been sitting in our office for a few months, and I liked the idea that I could walk in there and pick it up, and look at it, feel the leather, open it and look at the checks with his name on them.

I knew that there was still a little bit of his money in there, and that represents power, even for someone who has passed on. At least, that is the conclusion I’ve reached, from thinking about this a little bit.

And all that is gone now. Account cleaned out, closed, money mostly spent.
I’ll keep the checkbook though, partly because it is a very nice one, in black leather, but mostly just because it was his. And so it will become mine.

So we’ll rack ’em up for you at Christmas, Dad. And for many years to follow, I’m sure.

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