I hope you don’t mind my addressing you this way. You addressed me as P., after all—no last name. Although we’ve never met, you offered condolences for my loss.
The loved one in this case was my mother. Her death came as a shock. Besides occasional spikes in blood pressure, she was in seemingly perfect health until the hot day in August when an aneurysm burst near her brain stem—only hours after her yoga class and less than a year after my father’s somewhat less sudden death from cancer, although none of us could have foreseen his steep and swift decline.
You offered to ease my burden. Your company, you informed me, makes “cash offers for properties in any condition for fair market value,” which “may help to resolve [my] current obligations.” Honestly, you weren’t the first. I received many letters offering cash for my childhood home on Macon Street. Twenty-seven in all and I’ve kept every one. I got a little shiver watching them pile up, seeing how my private loss had become so public. Of course, it took no great skill to track me down. All you had to do was drive to the courthouse, pull the latest probate files and scan for my signature and address. It was right there, under my mother’s name—yours for the taking.