When James and I moved in together, we decided on a "his, hers and ours" approach to finance, which worked very well for us. We each had our own (existing) accounts for personal bills and spending money and we opened a joint account for household expenses, with each of us contributing equally to this account.
When we moved to Arizona, the bank my account was with did not have much of a presence. They were there, but the branches were few and far between, which did not work well for someone who didn't know the area and is directionally challenged, to say the least. So despite being happy with my bank, I decided to switch to one that was more convenient.
When I opened my new account, even though it was MY account, I set it up as a joint account. My reasoning for this was because if anything ever happened to me, I wanted James to be able to access it. He never touched the account; it was just a safeguard I put in place so there was no question about ownership had something happened to me.
I ordered new checks right before James died-they arrived within the first week of his death. I decided I would just leave him on the account so I didn't have to turn around and order new checks when I just got new checks. It's very odd the way your brain works in the early stages of grief. With everything else going on around me, I was concerned about wasting a box of perfectly good checks.
I didn't count on it taking 2 years to use all the checks but I am at the point where I need to order new ones. So I made the decision to take James off the account (some would say "finally," I'm sure. Well, when their spouse dies they can do it the next day).
Saturday morning I stopped at the bank armed with a death certificate. I don't know what I expected, but it was a pretty straightforward process. The account specialist called the main office to see what he needed to do, took a copy of the death certificate, and had me sign a new signature card. And just like that, James no longer exists on my account. Just another aspect of life from which he has been erased.
I did this transaction without emotion. Lack of showers brings early flowers and Saturday I was miserable with allergies (damn birch trees. Seriously, who the heck is off the charts allergic to birch trees of all things? Well, besides me). Thanks to the complete and totally energy drain from the allergies, I didn't have the strength to feel any emotion other than a longing for my bed. Today I just feel numb. I know it's done, that I've taken another healing step, but I don't think it is really going to hit me until I get my new checks with just my name on them.