>Dead Letters

>The mail stopped coming. And when it did, it felt exactly like everyone said it would. Only, they weren’t talking about receiving your deceased loved one’s mail; they were talking about grief. One day, you’ll wake up, they said, and it will be gone. You don’t notice it’s gone until several months later, when you happen to be sitting on your front porch, staring at the mailbox, noticing the extra name you had written there.

Then a whole new layer of grief is revealed: I’ll no longer see her name through the plastic window of some homeowner’s insurance solicitation. The endless credit card offers. One time, AARP even sent information offering their discount on a certain cruise line. My mother was 49 when she died, but as far as AARP was concerned, she was still kicking around and just beginning to ask for her senior discount at the movies.

One time, she received an offer for financing from a funeral home. If that isn’t the nadir of marketing savvy. It’s nice to know that, at least in death, we’ll all have such good credit.

And then, once that’s over, it’s like the real death. After all, when someone is absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they can’t make a single solitary dime off of you, you are free, you have slipped the surly bonds of the economy, and have floated off into the ether.

I moved, and I forgot to include her name in the forwarding request I sent in to the post office. This was 8 months ago. All that mail the new tenant must be receiving, and marking “Not at this address.” Somewhere in Texas, a dead letter office filled with opportunities for her.

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