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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Face Death - Part 1

This is a post I've pondered writing for some time. I recall many times in Matt and I's journey swiftly thinking on the 'what ifs'. What if I were to die, what if he were to die, what if we were both to die? Were we prepared? Did we have a savings? Life Insurance? Plans for the children?

The subject was hard, and Matt proudly lived life one day at a time (with a hint of invincibility showing right under the surface). He didn't want to think about the 'what ifs'. "That would never happen to us," he would say. It was only last January I finally talked him in to signing up for life insurance through my company. The plan started on March 1; Matt died on February 5; I assume they would have figured out another reason to deny me, had it not been those 25 days.

So there I was the night of his death, without one moment to discuss anything with him. He lay with emergency workers surrounding him, and unbeknown to me I was about to make 100s of decisions for him over just the next 7 days alone, and I did not have one concrete answer. How stupid of us. With the help of his parents, my parents, my church, our friends, his siblings, and my own deep understanding of Matt we all made it through. I am fine. But oh, how I wish those decisions could have been easier. Oh, how I wish this grief journey could have been less stressful on me, and subsequently on his children.

So, I have decided to give a little martial advice; "Uh-oh" I can hear the people say :). I am going to go over some topics throughout my next few posts that I would encourage all married couples, especially those with young children, to discuss. I know it is not fun. It can be emotional. It is also responsible, respectful, and deserving of your time and energy to do so. My suggestion is to make a written list of these decisions, and to review and update them every year.

Today, I'll start with two easy ones . . .

1) Prepare yourself with life insurance. I know it is a pain. The physicals, the investigations, the questionnaires, etc. Imagine though, if your spouse could spend the first year of their life as a widow/er doing what they should be, grieving you. Instead of, let's say, buying and selling a home. Selling your property, to make ends meet. This one should be a given in most homes, and I hope that at least half of my readers already have this one accomplished.

2) In which situations would you like your children to see you before you die? If you end up on life support, breathing but not conscious, would you want your children to be able to see you. To say goodbye? This was something I struggled with. My heart wanted Evelyn to be there, but most thought it was probably not wise. I trusted them, and I still do, but I don't know what Matt would have wanted for Evelyn. There are lots of other scenarios besides this one, but it comes down to whether or not you would want your children to see you still alive, but not as your true self, in order for them to say goodbye.

I will continue to add to this post throughout the month. God bless each of you. Thank you for continuing down this path with me. Love to you all!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thank you for encouraging your readers to be prepared for these unlikely, but possible, situations. Having adequate life insurance has been a blessing in my grief path, and has allowed me to take time to grieve, heal, and start walking a new path. Thanks for the reminder that I need to write about this, too, to get the message out to more people. If we can each just reach one or two people with that message, it might just make all the difference to those people. (Of course, you have already made such a difference in people's lives by sharing your grief journey on this blog. Even to other blogging young widows, you make such a difference.)