The mail pile

Opening the mail became a special event in my Dad’s later years. He would carefully slice open an envelope, study the plea, and write a check.

SeasonsHis heart was touched by the starving child in Somalia, by the disfigured little boy in Haiti, by the shoeless girl in an Ecuador jungle.

Every month he’d send back several $15 checks.

“Dad, why don’t you pick one charity and give it most of your donation budget?” I asked him.

He shook his head. “I like my way better.” And he connected with many charities that way.

But the backlash came after he passed. Not only did these organizations spend more than $15 a year to get more money from Dad, they sometimes sold their lists to others.

My parents had their mail delivered to their house and I was surprised their mailman didn’t lodge claims of back injury from hauling the daily pile of envelopes.

While my mom was able, she went through the mail, but after her stroke, I got the duty.

I’ve spent months now returning requests with a request: “Deceased. Please remove.”

Some have faded; some haven’t.

All that paper in the trash can sometimes saddens me. I wish Dad had picked his favorite and poured his heart into that one. 

But I will admit this: the avalanche of envelopes is a hassle to go through, however, all those requests are a frequent reminder and a sweet monument to my Dad’s tender heart.


2 thoughts on “The mail pile

  1. I found the same thing with my mom. In her later years, she cut down to giving to just a few, but the others were pretty persistent in pestering her. It took about five years after her passing before they finally stopped coming here, despite my “deceased” notices. I decided to keep track of whom I’d notified. Once they’d been told once or twice, I stopped responding and their computers finally got the message. The worst were the political ones and the Save Israel types; they all shared their lists and used similar names to deceive a donor.

    Happy New Year, Friend!


    P.S. My writing resolution for 2014 is to publish a newsletter. With over 1800 names on my list, I’m sitting on a gold mine. Granted, several hundred of those are probably defunct by now—they are creaky with age—but I am wasting good potential, plus the monthly iContact fee. So hold me to it, okay?

    Marcia Washburn

    Building Tomorrow’s Generation


    • Good ideas on keeping track of who you had notified. I haven’t done that yet. I’m annoyed with some of these places who seem to prey on the elderly. Congrats on the newsletter idea! We can hold each other accountable. You’re right: you have a gold mine there. I’ll be checking on you. 😉


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