The Day My Grief Showed Up At The Bank

December 30, 2019

Today my grief got the best of me. The hurt came through as anger. The pain showed up as rage.

After my mother died I became the kind of adult in charge of endless accounts, legal documents, and an entire estate. The kind of responsibility you wish you were never granted. Even years later I find myself working to close all of my mothers affairs, and she was an organized woman. I can’t imagine the work of those who are less fortunate.

It’s the kind of work that leaves you emotionally exhausted and damaged. Each time having to explain that my mother is deceased. For two years I’ve told business after business that my mother is dead and I am now in charge. Those words hurt every time, cutting through my soul like a knife.

Today was the day that broke my professionalism and couth. When all was said and done my emotions got the best of me and the poor woman at the bank got the brunt of it.

Grief has a way of making you react more than respond. It has a way of spilling out, sometimes in the most inconvenient and inhumane ways and times.

Today, my grief turned me into an emotional and exploding lunatic. I’m not proud of it. It hurts my heart and if I’m honest, my ego, but it’s the reality of grief. It can transform us, even for just a moment, into someone unrecognizable. A damaged heart, surrounded by pain and loss, can be powerful in awful ways.

By the end of my encounter with the bank, I apologized to the woman who was unfortunate enough to find herself at the forefront of my emotional breakdown. I found myself in tears, crying “I’m sorry. I need help. I just need help!”

There I sat, asking a complete stranger for help. Sitting there raw and vulnerable. My grief out in the open, completely exposed. And while I was asking this lady for help with my mothers account and not my grief, in reality it’s what we all need and rarely ask for. Help.

We all need help. Maybe it’s patience, maybe it’s love, maybe it’s understanding or answers or guidance. In the end, we all just need a little bit of help.

Today, a stranger and I had a moment. A moment that eventually showed us both that we are dealing with so much more than an account and numbers on a bank screen. We are dealing with the elements of people’s lives.

We are dealing with people, in their entirety. Sometimes you get the presentable version, and sometimes you get the raw, vulnerable, and exposed version.

Today was a reminder that people are complicated. A reminder to pack my heart with grace, patience and compassion, for strangers, friends, family, and even myself.

Life is a mixture of joy and sorrow, and every person is filled with a little bit of both. If we can remember that, the world will be filled with much more compassion and understanding.

xox, Chels

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3 responses to “The Day My Grief Showed Up At The Bank”

  1. Cherie says:

    I haven’t (yet) broken down on a complete stranger or friend, but KNOW from experience it is a special type of cruelty of death that the survivors have to deal with the legalities while we are still in it’s early stages. I had to fend off & argue with creditor threatening my family while we waited 4 months (!!!) for the courts to declare my husband & I the administrators for my 28 year-old son’s estate. I admit to getting testy with the more obnoxious ones at the time, (I’m looking at you HONDA) since I knew the threats had no legal standing. And, to be fair, some businesses were extremely kind, sensitive & helpful. (Charles Schwab, my son’s bank & his health club all went out of their way for us.) But it’s still overwhelmingly painful & soul sucking to go through the deceased’s records & mail to find what needs to be done.

  2. Janine Rossouw says:

    I am doing all my mothers estate things. I have to admit, I do not like it. Telling people my mom is deceased is like stabbing a knife in my heart every time. I have not exploded yet, my mom has been away from me for 7 months and I am not dealing great with it. I sat with my mom doing her funeral, what she wanted what she didnt want. Who must carry and where. That was in May last year in August she passed in my arms. I am tired but not a tired I can get better from sleeping a bit more. Im tired of being strong. Of being in control. Of being the daughter that has always been there for all the sad stuff. But I wouldnt want it any other way. I knew my mom, I knew what she wanted what she liked and disliked. I will forever be my mothers daughter, the only daughter and her friend. I miss her very much and I do believe Im a little broken.

  3. Michele says:

    Beautifully written! Only those that have walked this road will understand how difficult it is to be strong all the time. We need to allow ourselves to break down with grace even if it is in a difficult situation. Sending love and prayers.

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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