Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scarred For Life ......


...... and yet blessed for life, too.

Our oldest son graduated from college this past May.  Before he graduated he was offered a job with a very large firm that sells life insurance and does wealth management.

He came home this past weekend so that he and I could discuss long term health care insurance (even though I refused to discuss it with him when he first broached the subject ...... other than to tell him that I was nowhere near 90 years old!).
But I did finally tell him that we could talk about it and he could give me his view on it.

I had also decided that I wanted to take out life insurance policies on my six kids.

Not for them.
Not for me.
But for their future spouses.

None of them are near getting married at this point in time.
But that doesn't matter to me.
Because I've been scarred for life.

Yes, Jim's death has left me forever scarred.
But his provision and security for me and our children has left me forever blessed, too.
He planned for the day that we hoped would never come.
At least not for about 40 or 50 more years.

But come it did.
And much, much sooner than either of us expected.
And I was scarred.
Not only by his death, but by the knowledge that I later gained.  The knowledge that most of the married couples I know do not have life insurance.
Or wills.

Most of the husbands I know have not taken action to keep their wives and children secure, in case that day comes too early for them, too.
Even knowing Jim and our family.
Even seeing what can happen.
Even seeing how much Jim loved and cared for his family.

And that infuriates me.
And leaves scars on more people than just me.

There is no excuse.
Especially when you know someone who's died young and left a family behind.

Please know that I am not pointing fingers at any of you here, or your spouse.
I'm talking about people I know ...... who now know better.
And still have done nothing.

I've talked to some of them until I'm blue in the face.
I can only do so much.  Then it's up to them.
And it's between them.

But I can do something.
I can make sure that if something happens to one of my children, and he/she becomes seriously ill or injured, their spouse will have enough support to get the help that is needed.
I can make sure that if one of my children dies way before their time, their spouse will receive some financial support to continue caring for their children and themselves.
At least I can do that.

I can make sure that the love and support Jim had for us and for our future, is carried on to them and their families.
I can make sure that my future son/daughter in laws are not left with a burden.

I wish I could do the same for my friends.
And for some of my family.
So that they will be forever blessed.
And not forever scarred.


  1. Im right there with you on this topic, but it has a twist...the year my husband bought his large Life Insurance policy, he was in a fog of confusion as he was going through a time of personal angst...that year he made like 7426 TERRIBLE decisions...awful...he had an affair and told me he never loved me, he forgot he had kids, he took a job thousands of miles from home and moved was a huge suckfest.

    So odd that in the middle of this horrid mess, he would choose to do something so responsible required a physical and blood work...the day the paperwork arrived, I tore into it to see if 1) he had HIV and 2) if I were beneficiary of the policy (he was, after all "in love with" a woman in another city ).

    He did come out of his horrid time and he became a good husband again (prior to his death, I never did fully recover from the trauma of that time, it was SO bad...he said things that no spouse should ever hear... I did almost instantly get better from that when I learned he was dead, I knew that he and God now had a chance to discuss it all and I need not dwell on it anymore...the release from that was short and shallow as I then traded one pain for another) and we lived a good life.

    I was smart enough to decide right off the bat to never discuss specifics of my finances with ANYONE in my immediate universe (including my parents and children) lest any of them feel safe making snarky comments to me about what I "should" or "shouldnt " do based on what I have or don't have ...its none of their business. My brother is the only person with details as he would administer my estate if I were to die too.

  2. Make a will.
    Get life insurance.
    We are ALL going to die and because none of us know how or when, we need to ensure our families are protected.
    Do you have a power of attorney for personal care? (and end of life document)
    Do you have a power of attorney for personal property? ( so someone who loves you can administer your wishes while you may be unable to do so)

    These are ESSENTIAL things.

    Like you Janine I was so blessed by a husband who understood this. His own father did what you just did, took out a policy on him when he was a child. We did that for own children to ensure that they had something in case illness ever made them uninsurable before they were able to purchase it for themselves.

    My husband was a brilliant business man. To him it just made complete moral and economical sense to protect ones family and assets. I always appreciated his forethought and teased he better have a "big policy" on me as with my family cancer history I would go first for sure.
    Well - of course I am here writing.
    He was the one who developed cancer at 54.

    Because he thought of everything. Because his business mind told him "unpredictable" happens all the time. He was fully ensured. Because of this - I have not had to sell my home.

    I too wish everyone living right now would do this. Protect the ones you love. If you think you can't afford it - wills are not expensive to draft.
    Insurance - think of all the things you buy for them that will wear out, fall out of fashion, break or that are not needed. We always can find money for the things we really want.

    I hope everyone is protected because death is the only thing that we can't escape.

  3. my husband had neither a will nor life insurance. Luckily the lack of a will has not been much of an issue since we live in a state where the wife automatically inherits everything, but life insurance would have made the last 6 months a lot easier.
    I agree that everyone who is married or who has dependents should have both a will and life insurance - even a little bit is helpful.
    That's a wonderuf thing you're doing for your children and their spouses.

  4. I'm with you on this one too, Janine. Not only should everyone have a will, but a living will, too. We did the living will with our kids when they went to college, and discussed it with many family members and friends. I think - no, I know - our society tries to sweep these issues under the rug with the thought that no, that can't happen to "me". But death is going to happen to everyone. Wake up. Be responsible. Think about those left behind. Make it as easy on them as possible. We all know what the initial grief is like, decisions are tough to make. My parents had living wills in place, Mom is no longer with us. (She died the same day my husband did, one year later). She wanted no part of feeding tubes should that ever be necessary...good thing she specified that, as my brother wanted to keep her here no matter what, saying we were killing her without feeding her. It was time to let her go, as she wished. Without the living will, there would have been a real family battle.

    Since my husbands death, I have prearranged my funeral. I'm only 60, but that doesn't mean I won't depart tomorrow in a car accident. Have even jotted down ideas for my obituary. Already have long term care insurance, hope I don't need it, but cost of nursing care is going to be out of sight in the future. Be prepared. Take care of those you love, including yourself.

  5. My first job was paying life insurance claims. You don't only need to have insurance, you need to make sure that you keep up with beneficiary designations. So heartbreaking to have to tell a wife that she was not the beneficiary, that some old girlfriend (or wife) or deceased relative was in fact going to get those important benefits.

    A local financial columnist suggests a yearly review of all your important financial documents to make sure you have everything the way you intend it to be, know where all your accounts are, check you credit records, etc. All the stuff we ignore because it doesn't seem important, until it's very nearly the most important "business".

  6. Janine, great advice and words to live by. My husband was 30 years old when he was diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic. It was at that time in our lives when we felt serious about investing in life insurance. Over the years, until his sudden death at 55, we seized opportunities to purchase life insurance, such as term and group plans. I am certainly not a wealthy widow and will have to stay employed until well into my 60s, but I am financially comfortable. We both did have wills and that also helped tremendously.

    I have preached to my family and friends about the importance of both. Some have not listened, ignoring the obvious but at least I have tried.


  7. Well here's a different take on the subject and i hope it doesnt offend: I dont believe in life insurance (or as i call it "death insurance") I didn't have it when my wife died and I dont regret it, yes maybe I regret that I didnt have a financial buffer when she passed away and I didnt feel like working but I think I would have just felt guilty for a lack of a better word. It would have seemed like i was profitting from her death, I think it was hard enough to lose her than to be getting money from her being gone. I think as a widower, I realize that money really doesnt matter anyway, you cant take it with you. Again I hope it doesnt offend, its just my opinion.

  8. Anon just above me... I actually think your sentiment on this is sweet and I think my husband would have agreed with you...I was insured for very little; he would have loathed any dime he received as a result of my death. His attitude about his own death was, however completely different and he woudl have bought the policy even if I had protested.

    To him, "successful" men provide for their families in life or death and he would have been embarrassed to have failed. He told me buying life insurance was "a big deal" to him. The only thing I have done since his death that would have made him really mad is that I accepted money his friends offered...he would have wanted me to say "he left me secure, keep your money" what he didnt expect was the degree to which his friends seemed to NEED to give me something to feel useful in this and denying them wouldnt have been a kindness.

    The odd thing about the insurance money is that it discourages me from even thinking of ever remarrying...the thought of some new guy living well because my first husband died makes me want to throw up. In reality though, I am almost 5o and probably more likely to be struck by lightening than find a good husband at this stage of life, so that likely wont be an issue.

  9. I agree that insurance & wills are extremely important. Both my husband and I had insurance, plus there was some life insurance on him through my work. It has not left me totally free from debt, but it certainly has helped immensely. However, I must admit and agree with the gentleman above, that I did feel guilty accepting the insurance payments and felt like I was taking blood money. But frankly I needed it if I wanted to stay in my home. It was hard, but I appreciated having it and am grateful for it.