Gone Away

Earlier today I posted a letter to an organisation that I shall call 'Inefficiency Ltd'. Hopefully, this was the last stage of settling a matter relating to my late mother's estate.

'Inefficiency Ltd' were told last year of my mother's death and who to contact about her estate. They should have known not to write a letter addressed to my mother by name at her former address more than a year after her death, enclosing a cheque made out to her for just over £9. However, as so often with large organisations, it seems the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.

I will not publish the contents of the letter I actually sent. There is though another letter in my head I would love to have sent but didn't. I composed it as a way of using humour to cope with the grief feelings triggered by the organisation's request to complete a 'gone away' form and provide a forwarding address for my mother. 

Here it is:


Dear Mr 'Z'

This letter is to follow-up my very expensive telephone call to your helpline this morning. As you know, you sent your 'Gone Away' form as you need a forwarding address for Mrs 'A' .

I confirm that Mrs 'A' has indeed 'gone away' from the address to which you sent correspondence which was 'returned to sender'. I know Mrs 'A' has 'gone away' because I saw her go. I am her daughter and was with her when she went away. She had been here for almost a full century. It was time for her to go away, so she did. I am sad she has 'gone away' but for her sake I am happy she has gone. Her going away was a process that began several years ago. It was a long goodbye, so there was relief when she went. She has indeed now 'gone away'.

Her departure from the address to which you wrote is permanent. This is because she has departed this life.  You were actually given this information in writing in 2013 but perhaps you did not fully understand the meaning of 'has died'. 'Gone away' is a euphemism sometimes used for death - notably by the punk rock band 'Offspring' back in 1997. I prefer to say 'died' (as in the copy of the Grant of Probate I know you have seen). 'Died' is less open to misinterpretation than 'gone away'. 

As for your form which I have in front of me - I am at a loss to know what forwarding address to give you for Mrs 'A' as there are several possibilities:
  • If I tell you she is living in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her, that is not going to help you much is it?
  • The address of Mrs A's mortal remains are unknown to me. She donated her body for medical education and research for an indefinite period of time. The London Anatomy Office at Kings College, London is your only potential source of information but they will not tell you what you want to know. That is confidential. So that will not help you much either.
  • In any case the location of Mrs A's body is irrelevant. I have reason to hope that as a person she has 'gone home' or as some Christians put it, 'been called home' or 'promoted to glory'. Or to put it another way she is resting in peace in the 'sure and certain hope' of rising in glory. No, I do not fully understand all that theology either. It is a great mystery this 'gone away' business. Like your letter she has been 'returned to sender'. She has returned to her real home with God her Creator. 
In anticipation of your next question, 'if your mother is with God, what is God's address?' I can only tell you that God is here, there and everywhere, beyond your imagining. At the same time God is closer than your hands and feet, even if God sometimes seems to have 'gone away' or is hiding.

To return to the matter of the outstanding £9.72p you owe Mrs A . I am absolutely certain that now she has 'gone away' Mrs A can have no possible use for the money. I recognise that you are legally bound to pay it out. As I am an executor and beneficiary of her Last Will and Testament I suggest you pay it to me. I am obliged to divide the sum equally with my brother and sister. As we are not in need we have agreed to pass it on to Mrs A's favourite charity. We might even add a bit more.

Please do not send any further letters to Mrs A. She has indeed 'gone away'. Let me be absolutely clear - she has actually died.

Yours sincerely

Nancy Wallace

Image Credit: Commons Wikimedia


  1. That should do the trick Nancy. 'though perhaps you ought to have enclosed a dictionary.

    1. Ray - I did think of adding, "what part of 'has died' on the copy of the Grant of Probate you should have in your records do you not understand?"

  2. Nancy, that imaginary letter is priceless! I have composed letters in my head before to enableme to cope with situations where a real letter would never have been worth writing or would not have achieved any progress for many diverse reasons.

    1. Thank you 'anonymous'. I think it does help to put things like that into words, even if only in one's own head. It helps me to clarify the feelings - in this case there's a bit of anger in my unsent letter. The one I actually sent was courteous and restrained, but it was easier to do that because I was also playing with the alternative.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers' Union

Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941)

What is a holiday?

Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Minoresses (Poor Clares)

The Transfiguration of our Lord