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At the DMV

“How may I help you?” she said looking over her spectacles.

“I need to get a car put in my name.” I replied.

“I see. Do you have the bill of sale and the title?”

“No, ma’am, I don’t. I’m the TOD (transfer on death) on my son’s title. However, I can’t find his title. I do have the documents from when I originally purchased the car… we gave it to him last year shortly before he died.”

She removed her spectacles as I handed her the documentation with his green death certificate on top.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had any cause to read a death certificate, but it says very plainly “HOMICIDE”.

She took the documents and said, “No problem, Ms. M..M.. How do you pronounce your name?”

“Just call me Michelle.”

“Thank you, Michelle.”

“Don’t worry, I get it all of the time… I know that I should probably have come by sooner. Honestly though this was not high on my list of priorities. So if you need to back date the title to July of 2013 for taxation purposes and charge me penalties, I understand”

“No, Michelle. I don’t think that will be necessary. As far as I’m concerned you got this car today. I think if I were in your shoes, it wouldn’t be high on my list of priorities either…” her eyes began to fog up a little bit.

She quickly turned away from me and toward her computer screen. She made a copy of my documentation (including Corey’s death certificate), did some quick calculations, collected my money, and sent me on my way.

As I gathered my items, her hand darted out to touch mine, and for a moment, she wasn’t a DMV worker- she was a mom. “Michelle, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you.”

I made my way to the parking lot, got into my truck, took a deep breath, and turned the key.

Now to go to pay the taxes, close out Corey’s personal property account, and get documents notarized…

And go through the same thing each time.

Gwen Carver

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