Months ago I got a call that could have changed my life. At the time I was reeling from Calvin's death and unable to focus on anything else. So, when the man on the other end of the phone asked if I had recognized a name, I said no. I hung up the phone and didn't think about it again. Recently, I became aware that the phone call had a huge relevance in my life and that I do indeed remember the man I was being asked about. He was an old man I had befriended years ago while working at the bingo hall. He was alone, visiting my home town and he was dying. We spent alot of time talking, sharing life stories and talking about God. His name was the same as my father's and grandfather's and we laughed that it was fate that we meet. To be honest, I thought he was destitute and I often snuck him coffee when I'd take my breaks at work. I remember him being an extremely sorrowful man, who had many regrets in life. He looked to me for friendship and we fell into an easy friendship, able to talk about anything. I remember talking to him about my life, my father and our relationship. We talked about marriage, children and our beliefs. We shared sorrows. He was just a dear old soul, on a mission to tie up the loose ends in his life. The day he left to go home, he came to see me at work. He told me he would never forget my kindness and said he wanted to do something nice for me. He asked me to write my full legal name on a piece of paper which I did. He then folded it very carefully and tucked it into his wallet, saying that I would hear from him again. As he left, there were tears in his eyes as he held my hand and I was so overcome with sadness for this man that I came around and asked him if I could hug him. He told me once again that he would never forget me as he left.
As the days and weeks became months, and I heard nothing more of the man, I got caught up in life and my own dramas and day to day doings. He started to fade from my memory. Then Calvin died and his death was all I could focus on. The drugs I was taking to numb the pain affected my thought processes and my memory. When I got the call regarding the man, I brushed it off. The person on the other end told me that I had been left property in a will. The person on the phone knew my full legal name. Still, I was convinced it wasn't meant for me and told him so. All these months later, it has come back. And not just wisps of memory...all of it. I remember the man's eyes, his name, what he looked like. I remember our talks, helping him to find a hotel and places to eat. I remember thinking how sad it was that he had no family to help him while he was dying. I remember the odd feeling as we said good-bye that he was going to be leaving me something in his will. I don't know how I knew, I just did. My stomach has been in knots since realizing that I have possibly thrown away my inheritance. I have been anxious and upset wondering how "J" would feel, knowing that I did not remember him when I was called by his estate lawyer. I feel an immense amount of regret not writing the number of the lawyer down. These past couple of weeks have been spent backtracking, trying to hunt down the location of the will, making calls to the city where the property had been left to me, talking to it's lawyers, notaries, city officials and real estate agents. I'm getting nowhere. My next step will be a legal will search but don't expect to get results. One lawyer I consulted advised that ninety percent of clients don't register their wills. In the meantime, I will be calling every lawyer in my province one by one and there are thousands of them. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Not only do I feel the need to honour my friend J. by hunting down the will, accepting what has been left for me and finding out more about his life, but at this point in our lives, this could be something life changing for us, a chance to restart somewhere else. I'm saddened my friend has died. I'm saddened that I was so preoccupied in my own grief over losing Calvin that I didn't even recognize his name. I'm worried that someone else will have stepped forward and claimed what J left for me "because he would never forget my kindness....", because I had pushed thoughts of him out of my mind. An old man with no family who thought enough of me to do something for me. I've made a huge mistake....
Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last*
3 weeks ago