Shane and I were bereft in the fall of 2008 when our son died, so much so that nothing mattered more than getting through Christmas and trying to mourn while tending to Georgia's newborn needs. We holed up in our home for what seemed to be months, doing little except spending time with our girls, avoiding going out in public where our loss could be brought up in awkward places. With the focus so much on our grief and trying to survive it, certain areas in our lives became neglected, one area being that we didn't file our taxes for 2008. Today I took the opportunity of a few free hours to collect receipts, slips and forms and head down to our local tax preparation place to file my delinquent tax return. After dealing with a blatantly rude receptionist who sat on the phone talking to her friend about "yeah, we're all laid off as of May 15th and now I have to give up my apartment....", I sat down to wait for someone to come and get me. After about ten minutes, an overly friendly woman bounced around the corner and called my name. Her friendly demeanor changed within minutes of finding out that I hadn't filed for 2008 and she grumbled about having to file a paper return. While sitting across the desk from the woman about to file my taxes, I pulled out Calvin and Georgia's birth certificates and place them on her desk. With a blank stare, the woman looked from Calvin's certificate to me, to the certificate again without saying anything. Bluntly I asked her, "Can I claim my son as a dependent for 2008?", to which she replied, "I don't think so", as she shoved the document back towards me. "But he lived for six days", I said. "Yeah, I don't think that counts", was her answer. Numbly I put his birth certificate back in my purse and as she picked up Georgia's birth certificate she asked, "Is she dead too?".
I literally had to use every ounce of restraint to be polite in my reply. Gritting my teeth, I answered, "No, she's at home with me...". I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that this woman basically told me that my son's life "didn't count". That he could not be considered a dependent because he didn't live long enough. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I wanted to smash her fucking teeth in. I couldn't believe how casually she pushed Calvin's birth certificate towards me, the word Deceased seeming to leap off the top of the page. It was all she saw. All that mattered. My beautiful, perfect looking baby boy doesn't count because he's "Deceased". His birth certificate might as well have said "Diseased" by the way she was so quick to get it off her desk and back into my purse. I'm surprised she didn't go and wash her hands. Thanks so much H&R Block, thanks for turning an unpleasant experience into something that literally ruined my day. I'm glad your office is closing if this is the way your staff treats their clients. If the government really feels that my son doesn't count because he didn't live long enough, then perhaps I just won't file my frigging taxes again. Revenue Canada, go suck an egg.
Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last*
2 months ago