Part of the emotional upheaval of being a widow last year included the financial issues I had to face, including having to endure will probates both in the U.S. and the U.K., because my deceased husband, Mike, was a U.K. citizen. This meant he filed both U.S. and U.K. tax returns, at different times during the year. The returns included account holdings in both countries, which meant a lot of extra forms to be completed. I felt too overwhelmed to deal with the taxes last year, so I paid a CPA to do them.

I was able to close accounts in the U.K. and pull finances into accounts here in the U.S., in an effort to make doing the taxes easier. I receive money from a private firm in the U.K., so I will always have to do two sets of taxes. It is what it is.

Although the U.K. taxes were filed last year, and the U.K. government has received them, they still haven’t “gone through the system” because of a serious backlog, so the taxes are held up being paid. The pandemic hasn’t helped matters.

The last time I had to personally deal with filing taxes was before I married Mike.

I decided to face the inevitable and do my 2019 taxes. I did what I could with the information I had and filed through an online tax service. Their system eventually looked at the 2018 joint taxes with Mike, then my 2019 taxes filed as a single person, approved them and sent them to the Internal Revenue Service. Within a few hours, I had email messages stating both my federal and state taxes were accepted. I still might have to send a form to the IRS amending my 2019 taxes. Still, whew.

Even as I steadily slog forward, there is inevitable sadness.

At the beginning of the pandemic, my friend Jay passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. I can’t hug Suzanne, his wife, to comfort her. It feels awful.

Jay’s passing caused me to think about Mike’s death.

I was in a romantic relationship that didn’t work. I was trying to remold myself to placate another person. I’ll eventually find someone who appreciates me as I am. I’m worth it.

I didn’t have to remold myself for Mike.

In the middle of a pandemic, sheltering alone, abandoned and fragile, I did taxes. That was a milestone. I’m proud of myself. But, of course, I thought of Mike.

The trifecta of events causing me to remember life with Mike has stabbed at my heart.

The last two lines of my favorite poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, titled “There’s Always Something That Sings,” read:

But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.

As I wade through the mud and scum of things, I hear singing, lose it and have to listen for it again. I have faith I’ll eventually hear singing loud and clear, and will gladly hum a solidly happy tune.

 

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