My husband, Gary, just died on Dec 13, 2009 after a long battle with liver cancer. We have been together for 25 years. He didn't have any life insurance because he had just been laid off from his job just a few months before his diagnosis. He had life insurance through his work but once he found out about his cancer, it was too late to get any life insurance from anywhere. My husband was receiving Soc. Sec., but of course, the treasury dept. pulled that out of our account right away. I haven't been working because I had been taking care of my dying husband. How am I suppose to pay my bills? I called Soc. Sec. right away, but I don't have an appt. until the 22nd of this month. How long will it take after my appt. before I am able to receive anything? I should also mention that my husband and I had adopted one of our granddaughters shortly before his cancer was diagnosed. We were receiving soc. sec. for her too, but since that came in my husbands name, I have to get that changed over, as well, so they took that check back, too. My husband died without having a will, but the mortgage, cars, and bank account were in both of our names, so will that automatically be changed over to me? We live in Il., if that helps anyone to respond to my questions. I just feel so lost and I feel like my head is spinning. I get confused and feel scattered. I can't keep my thoughts straight. I'm disappointed that the people I was counting on to help me through all this are not here. I realize that people often don't know what to say or do, but why do they seem to avoid you? I'm talking about people, like my sister...who said that she would be here for me. I've only talked to her twice since we buried my husband. She was suppose to come over a week ago, but texted me that morning and said that she was sorry, but she had a migrain. I don't want people to give up their own lives, but I feel like I am drowning in sorrow. I don't know if I'm "coming or going" or "which end is up" Do you understand what I am saying? It helps somehow just knowing that others are feeling the same things that I am.

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You came to a good place. We may not have all the answers, but we all feel your pain. Here you can find love and support when you are feeling your worst. I am so sorry you are having to go through so much right now.

I am from NY so, I do not know any of the rules in your state, but without a will one of the first things you will probably need is a lawyer to handle all the probate issues. He/She will be able to get everything into your name and may be able to put a rush on the change over of your granddaughter's benefits. You should be able to get a check for her and one for you to help in continuing to raise her. My husband and I were so unprepared for anything to ever happen to him, I was lost. We had no will, no insurance, everything is (still) in his name about clueless...I knew nothing about any of this. I just started making phone calls. If your husband was ever in a union, call them, they may have something still in his name (401k or possible insurance). If he belonged to any clubs or organizations, check with them. Occasionally, they offer the free $1000 or $2000 policies on their members, you get the notifications, but throw them away because you think they are nothing but solicitations...and then you learn later there is something there. Also check with all your credit cards and bank accounts, some accounts offer small insurance policies on there members. You don't have to give specifics, because sometimes it's not the best idea to let these companies know that your husband is gone yet, but ask if that benefit is available. Hopefully, you will be lucky enough to find a surprise you didn't know was there.

It is so hard when you thought you had people to count on and they back away when you need them most. I am afraid people think we are contagious. If it can happen to us it can happen to them. Ok, that may be a bit harsh, but that is the way it felt for me in some ways, with a few people anyway.

Come here to vent anytime you need. Good luck to you.
Take care,

Marlena (and Tom)
Always and Forever
Hi Debbie - I'm so sorry for the problems you have and the loss of your husband - I can very, very much relate to everything you said. I am also from IL. My husband died Dec. 1st after 26 yrs of marriage. He also had liver disease and was let go from his job a just a few months before he died - yes and there went his life insurance. My husband also had no will. I've been told it won't make a difference or cause a problem. You must call and change everything to your name - it will not be done automatically. I told the car/homeowners insurance over the phone & they changed it. Haven't changed anything else yet. Some will require a copy of the death certificate. I had a spouse coverage thru my work. ( I was let go the same day as my husband - but thankfully found another job.) I got an appt with SS immediately - you can walk right in here (near chgo). There is a one time benefit check of $255. You will receive SS for the month he died (Dec). (If my husband had died a few hours earlier I would have rec'd $ for the entire month of Nov.) I receive a check for my daughter since I am not old enough to get SS. I applied on Dec 7 and checks came on Jan 4 - direct deposit. (one for my dtr and the $255). From now on I will receive my check the 3rd week of each month since my daughter's birthday is in the third week.

Boy can I relate to the people avoiding you. - I wrote about it a week ago or so ago in a comment. My only sister is in GA and the only correspondence (email) was telling me things like "you REALLY have BIG PROBLEMS" and telling me things I was doing wrong when she didn't even know what I was doing. It only made me more upset and I asked her not to write me about these things anymore - I couldn't take it. Where's the support? I have one friend who has stuck around and called. (Her 1st fiance died many yrs ago - maybe that's why - she understands.) Other than that - haven't heard from several who stopped by the hospital, called frequently, neighbor across the street - and it has been almost 6 weeks. What about a simple email saying "how are you doing?"

I am having one problem after another - All the cars have broken down (2 are in the shop now - total repair $3,000). I have raccoons in the attic, problems with hospital bills, it seems overwhelming. On top of it - I'm a teacher and may lose my job again - threatening to let go all 1st & 2nd yr teachers. Things happen and I want to tell my husband then remember he's not here. But I have to wonder - what about a simple email to me - it only takes a minute. How old was your husband? Mine was 58. Good luck -

I know how you feel my bank locked my checking account even when his name was not on the account. The monthly social secuirty check of his did not go in as direct deposit and got lost. I was his representive payee. I called the bank and after two trips resolved their error. Social security thought that I received the check and wanted it back so they garnished my pension and left me with $ 400 dollars to pay my bills. I made two trips to social security and they finally fixed the problem . This all happened in Dec with the holidays and his birthday it was a stessful time. Now I'm waiting for the late fees for being late on my bills. But continue to go with the appointment and prepared to wait three hours. Good Luck.
We didn't have wills Fl.Our property automactically goes to the spouse.You need to make a list and concentrate on the neccessities first.The social securitry office here moved pretty fast once I got in.If you're over 60 you're entitled to survivors benefits.The bank said to leave his name on our joint account for about a year.Also my bank told me to leave his name on the property due to the mortgage,otherwise I wouldn't qualify in my name alone.Take a deep breath and concentrate on the top priorities.Talk to professessionals.Good luck,Kathy
Hi Debbie,
I'm so sorry for your loss. My husband passed away on January 9, 2010. I fell like you do. I don't know what I am supposed to be doing or how I am supposed to act. I just know that I want my life back and I can't ever get it back.
Debbie: I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate to what you are going through. I lost my husband of 43 years two years ago to lung cancer and went through all the feelings that you are going through. My first suggestion to you is to get to Hospice and join a group for people who have lost loved ones. They are a great help. In the meantime, buy yourself a copy of "A Time to Grieve" by Carol Staudacher. At a time when you don't feel like heavy reading, this is the perfect book. Short quotations that relate to exactly what you are feeling and what you are going through. It was my grief bible. Everyone handles grief different and this book will help you to understand why people tend to shy away or avoid you. Through Hospice I learned that of the 100 people who came to my husbands "celebration of life" that only 6 or so would be there for me 6 months later and they were absolutely right. I had to go through the Social Security change too and found that once I had my appointment, my check started coming the second Wednesday of the following month. If your husband was already receiving SS benefits, it should come the same day as his did and should only take 30 days. The SS people were very understanding when they knew what had happened. I think you will find them to be very compassionate and willing to help. Although it has been two years, it feels like two months. I still take out my book, although less often and I still cry, although less often. I still think of him everyday, although not all day now. I wish I could say it gets better, but it is just different. This book can help and so can the Hospice support groups. On-line groups are good, but there is nothing like sitting in a room of people who are like us. I've made some good friends through Hospice too and best of all, they do understand what you are going through and will be there for you whenever you need them. If you want to chat with me directly, please feel free to email me at Sometimes the sites get a bit overwhelming. My prayers are with you. And yes, I understand everything you are saying. Sincerely, Donna


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