Thursday, November 11, 2010

Phone Calls & Mail to Dead Husbands

Rrrrriiinnngggg . . . . Rrrrriinnnggg . . . .
Has it happened to you?  The phone rings and a stranger asks for your husband? They have a special offer he'll be so happy to hear about!

Kelly recently answered one such call. Here's what she had to say about the experience:

"Yes, I admit it, I do yank their chain sometimes (but only with the obnoxious men), but I don't think this one was paying attention. She sounded young:

Me: Hello?
Girl: Uh, yes, is John there?

Me: No, I'm sorry, he passed away over a year ago.

Girl: Oh. Well, I'll call back again another time.

Me: Well, you can call back as many times as you want, but he still won't be here. He. passed. away.

Girl: Oh! I'm so sorry.

Me: It's okay. Have a good evening.

James always saw the dark humor in it (like me). I've never related such calls to Matthew because I think he'd be upset. I feel badly for the callers, but it's obvious they are not listening sometimes!"

  •    What do you do about phone calls to the dead?
  •    What about mail? Do you still get mail addressed to him even though you've been writing "Deceased" on the envelopes and putting them back in the mailbox over and over again?
  •    What about e-mail? Did you shut down his e-mail account?
  •    Help!
  •    Do you have any tips, advice or dark humor for us?

Click the comment line or e-mail your advice to


  1. Ferree, It's not so much the one time callers, but the repeat ones that are frustrating. They are trained to talk, not to listen. One such caller contacted me one night and wanted to speak with him. I told him that my husband was dead and then matter of factly responded that if they could reach him, I wanted to speak with him too. I never heard from them again.

  2. I love it Myra! Sassy! Good for you! I've done my stint as a telemarketer (on my list of world's worst jobs), so they have my sympathy, but there's no excuse for not listening and repeat calling. And although the National Do not Call list works pretty good, there are always some that slip through the cracks.

  3. I haven't really received calls for him. Michael used his cell phone almost exclusively for calls. So when I had that service discontinued, the calls stopped. Just a few days after he passed, his cell phone kept ringing over and over in the middle of the night. I finally got up to answer it, and it was some woman (friend) who was really broken up about his passing and she just wanted to hear his voice on his message over and over again. She sounded like she'd been drinking. We talked for a bit and she settled down and didn't call back again.

    As for the mail, I just shred it. In this age of identity theft, I don't want to advertise that he's deceased because if someone did manage to steal his identity, I'd be responsible for dealing with it. No thanks!

  4. Joannah, GOOD POINT about the identity theft!I want to make a stand alone page here on the blog for new widows and that's a really important issue. And it sounds like you handled that woman's call a lot better than I would have. Thanks for your comment! :)

  5. Myra, I LOVE your response!!

    Funny that you bring up the mail, Ferree - I never really thought twice about it. Like Joannah, I just shred anything that is an offer for credit as I always have, no matter the addressee.
    As for the Do Not Call List, we have been on it for years and yes, sometimes the calls do still come. But not very often.

    I do sympathize with Joannah's caller though - my husband's cell phone number was not reassigned until just last week, and I could still call and hear his voice mail greeting, which I did many times just so I could smile and say "I miss you". There were no tears involved, it just felt good to hear his voice. Now that it belongs to someone else, anytime I get the urge to call I just say "I miss you" in my head and I'm really okay with it!

  6. At first, it was like a knife twisting in my heart when a call came. I choked back tears and haltingly explained that he no longer lived here, that he had been called home and had returned to Heaven and, if they somehow managed to reach him there, I would like to be informed.
    As for mail, I kept it all for the longest time, unopened, in a wicker basket with a lid. I often lovingly took out the pieces of mail, held them in my hand, loving how they felt because they were his. It was a long time before I could destroy anything but when I finally reached that point the healing, the beginning to live again at last began slowly to happen. I had survived after all, could still smile, some days even laugh. Grief is a long slow process. I believe it is not something you can ever cope with, but you manage and life gets better day by day till the time comes when you realize it has been over a week and you have not thought of him, you have not remembered.

  7. It IS like a stab, that's a powerful statement, Polly, but so true. But then you offer us hope-- Life does dawn again, it blossoms and we can breathe and let go. Thank you so much for encouraging!


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