This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Monday, 17 September 2018

A Single Life | “I’ve got some bad news”

It’s inevitable when someone dies, be they young or old and it expected or sudden - there’s people to tell.

In this blog post I’m going to recall how I went about the process of letting people know of Trev’s death, and whilst this is in no way meant to be a ‘how to’ there may be something of use if and/or when you find yourself in a similar position.

Firstly and most importantly; friends and family. I was keen to do this as promptly as possible and my very first call was to my cousin who immediately came over to the site. We went back to his house and I started making a mental list - not easy given my fragile emotional state but it needed to be done.

Top of the list was Trev’s closest family - his two sisters - and without doubt these were the most difficult calls I’ve made, not least because I knew how much a of a shock my news would be. They said they’d spread the word amongst Trev’s many nephews and nieces - something I was extremely grateful for. I’d made just two phone calls and was already exhausted.

Next up were some of Trev’s closest and oldest friends. I admit now that I did miss some and only remembered later but I don’t think anyone would blame me for not thinking straight!

One of the toughest calls was to the undertaker - many will know that David is also a good friend and as I said at the funeral I wouldn’t entrust Trev to anyone else - but David was out when I called and had to leave a message. His colleague enquired who the funeral would be for but I had to tell him I’d relay it personally. The last thing I wanted was David finding a Post-It note on his desk with mine & Trev’s name on.

In an ideal world everyone of our friends would have got a phone call - but it would have been impossible emotionally, so next I turned to social media - Facebook & Twitter - and this is how most people found out. I think in this day an age it’s an acceptable way to let people know and it’s also when social media is at it’s best. The tributes and messages of support were very heart-warming.

It wasn’t until a couple of days later that it occurred to me that there are people that read our blog that don’t do Twitter or Facebook which is why I wrote a blog post and emailed it out. Again, the response was great.

I nearly didn’t bother with an announcement in the paper, but I’m so glad I did as there were people at the funeral who didn’t really know Trev but came to support me which was lovely.

At some point I had to start informing officialdom - government departments, banks, pension companies and so on, and here I was at a bit of an advantage. As I mentioned in a previous blog post most household stuff was in my name anyway so the task wasn’t as daunting as it might have been.

Now, I said at the start that this is in no way a ‘how to’ but I am going to impart some advice here that may be of help.

Firstly - no-one - not government departments, local authorities, banks or companies will expect you to inform them straightaway. Whilst you don’t want to be leaving it too long, there really is no rush. I started a couple of days after Trev died - when I felt able - and then over the next couple of weeks, with just his bank account remaining open until I know everything has been sorted

Secondly, look up dedicated phone numbers  for dealing with bereavement related enquiries. All government departments and sizable companies will have them and this is beneficial for a number of reasons. The number is likely to be freephone or at the very least included in any call package. You won’t be presented with a complicated menu to navigate. Most importantly the lines will be - in my experience anyway - staffed by well trained and sympathetic and understanding people. I was dreading some of the calls but was made to feel at ease in every one.

There is a service called ‘Tell us once’ - a form given by the registrar that you fill in with as much information as possible and it - notifies all government departments - DWP, DVLA, HMRC and so on. We used it for Trev’s Mum last year and it does make life easier.

Oddly though it is not available in all areas - and Brighton & Hove is one of them - gawd knows why, so that did add to my list a bit but as I said, there was no rush.

In addition there have been a number of other organisations that I needed to tell - anywhere we had a joint membership such as the two major caravan clubs, the National Trust and so on. With these I just sent an email and in all cases the response has been prompt and understanding. Any other things that have come through the post I’ve just dealt with as and when.

It’s inevitable in this day and age that there is an online presence to deal with too - most notably social media channels. Fortunately I knew Trev’s log in details so was able to disable these the day he died. I know some people like to keep these open for tributes but I didn’t want that. What I also didn’t want was to delete his Facebook and Twitter accounts entirely straightaway in case there were any photos I wanted to keep - and so it proved. Fortunately both have facilities to deactivate accounts and download media.

I think I’m almost there now. It is a sad process ‘closing down’ someone's official, financial and online presence but it has to be done.

Thanks once again for all your comments on the last post and words of support. I’m getting there, slowly.



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