Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

‘Mom promised me the car’

FRIDAY, September 3 – It took four minutes and cost nine euros and twenty-five cents. One simple administrative operation at the post office and the Mini Cooper was now in my name. I was handed a piece of paper with a stamp which, according to the clerk at the counter, had been intended for the previous owner. ‘I’ll pass it on,’ I said.

I should have transferred ownership within five weeks after Jennifer’s death. That’s the law.  A letter from the Department of Transportation, accompanied by sincere condolences, explained the procedure, listed forms and documents I was expected to produce, and informed me that I would have to go to one of the larger post offices.

But sometime in December, I had lost track of the letter. When I found it, I couldn’t put my hands on the registration certificate for the Mini. After putting all the documents in a safe place, I had forgotten where that safe place was. That happened to me more than once during those first few months. They sent me a replacement document, but it wasn’t until ten months after Jenn’s death that I actually went to the post office.

It didn’t feel quite right. The car was hers, not mine; but, what did it matter? Last week the mailman delivered a ballot for the mid-term elections in the state of Maryland. Indeed, for Jenn. If dead people can vote, I guess they can drive, too.

Things got more complicated when it appeared that Jennifer was registered as having a parking permit at our old address. The new residents weren’t too happy about that, which was understandable. Steps had to be taken.  That afternoon when I picked Sander up in the Mini, he said, ‘Don’t forget that last year Mom promised I can have the Mini when I turn eighteen.’

I didn’t recall any such promise, but I was happy to reconfirm the agreement.  By that time he can do the paperwork himself.

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