“Mommy, if you get hit by a bus am I going to go leave with my cousins?”
In the middle of washing dishes, I stopped, dried my hands, and turned around to look my six year old in the face.
“Well no, you would live with Daddy.”
He cocked his head to the side and kept pressing.
“But what if Daddy got hit by a bus too?”
“Yes, you would go and live with your cousins.”
My boy’s eyes lit up, he smiled, and said, “Yeah!” as he skipped off to play.
But as I sat there, still paused from my activity, I began to wonder what would happen if I got hit by a bus? What would happen if I were suddenly and unexpectedly no longer physically present in the life of my family?
Were my affairs in order?
Would my family easily be able to move forward without unnecessary stress added to their grief?
Had I done a good job getting all of the things that I’m responsible for out of my head and either into someone else’s head or on to a piece of paper?
As much as we hate to think about our own untimely deaths, it is crucial that we face the reality and, as much as we can, prepare to make a very difficult experience as easy as possible for our loved ones.
Here are some questions to help you think about whether or not you have prepared adequately in the event that you pass away unexpectedly.
Do you have a will?
This alone will help you know what other plans should be in place and will save your loved ones the headache or trying to figure out what you want. It may be uncomfortable to sit in front of a lawyer or talk with your spouse to answer questions and make decisions, but at the end of the process you and your spouse will have a more clear understanding of what will and should happen in your absence. Completing a will will also help you process “next steps” for anything that should be done or at least considered that hasn’t been already: 1) where your children will go, 2) where you want to be buried and if you want to pay for any of that in advance, and 3) how you want your assets to be divided or to be distributed.
Do you have life insurance?
While many people have life insurance, so many others do not. It is also common that when a couple considers purchasing life insurance, they make sure the husband has life insurance but doesn’t consider the wife for a policy. While the primary bread winner and the salary they bring home is important to replace, so is the wife’s contribution – whether that be salary or service.
My husband tells me that when he has had to leave our home for one reason or another, the house is running on seven cylinders instead of eight but that when I leave, the household is forced to run on one cylinder instead of eight!
Who will replace the wife’s responsibilities if she is no longer there? Will there now be an additional cost for childcare? Will a cleaning service be needed? Does the wife work? Will her income need to be replaced?
Will your family easily be able to “know what you know”?
In my house, I pay the bills. It dawned on me one day that my husband would be in a lurch if I was suddenly not able to take care of all the minute details of our business affairs. I have since made a binder that holds our important papers and also includes a list of our passwords for online accounts. I update this every other month or so. I have also written down the passwords for my computer and my phone so that any other information I possess he can easily have access too as well.
I have not done the best job with living a well-documented life, however. In the midst of a busy schedule, homeschooling and raising children, and just keeping up with day to day duties, I’ve neglected to consistently get photos off my phone and into albums so that everyone can see and remember our family story. I have to do better because my vantage point of the story of my life and the life of my family will be lost the moment I am no longer with them. While I know my photos and the story behind them may never be featured in a scrapbook magazine, I am the best story-teller for the events of my family.
While thinking about your own passing is not as fun as combing the internet for recipes, it is extremely important.
I challenge you to take a moment to think about that question. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, have you left your loved ones with all they need to move on?
If not, make a commitment today to begin to give them just that.
Little by little, put together a plan that will let your family know you loved them enough to deal with a difficult topic and make decisions on their behalf that will bless them