Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fears, Wills and Life Insurance

I'm not afraid to die. It makes me sad to think about all the people and events I'll miss, but I've always had a hard time leaving a good party. Life has been a great party for me, so I'm in no rush to go. The process leading up to my "check-out" scares me a bit and I hope that the cross-over doesn't hurt ... but beyond that, I'm golden.


Now that we have children - I find that I am often consumed with the "What Ifs". I see stuff on television and I immediately think "What if ... that was me? What if ... that was my husband? What if ... that was one of our children? What if ... that was our family?" I find that I am no longer interested, as I once was, in watching criminal dramas or documentaries on serious health issues. What I use to think of as *good entertainment* now scares the bejeepers out of me and is a frightening reminder of how incredibly fragile life is. If I'm going to take the time to watch TV or a movie ... it has to be something light, preferably a good comedy. I just don't see the "value added" in filling my mind with images that will give me nightmares ... both day and night. Especially when those images are fiction.

I wouldn't consider myself a hypochondriac by any measure, but this recent bout of ailments has had me re-thinking things. Yesterday, I spoke to the after-hours physician that had wanted me to go to the hospital on Friday night. As it turns out, she was the doctor filling in for my doctor, again yesterday and was the kind soul that called in the replacement antibiotic I needed to start. When she asked why I didn't go to the Emergency Room like I had been instructed, I told her it was because we have 18-month old triplets at home that had just been put to bed and I was doing well keeping small amounts of fluid down. I thought that was a pretty good excuse. She in turn told me that dehydration was the least of her worries. With my symptoms - she was concerned that I was having a reaction to the antibiotic that could be fatal. Well ... if I'd known THAT.

Following this rude awakening, Charlie and I had a discussion about our fears. I'd have to say that at this point in time, my greatest fear is something will happen to us, as a couple, and we will leave behind three children without any parents. Coming in a close second to my "greatest fear" is that something will happen to me, and my kids will grow up not knowing their mother and how much I wanted and loved them. I have so many exciting things I want to do with our kids ... the thought of not being around to do those things is crushing. Charlie told me that one of his greatest fears is swimming in a pool at night and being eaten by a shark.

In. A. Pool.

The end result is the same, though ... we're toast. So I suppose one could argue that our fears are very close in similarity.

I've determined that a large part of the reason I am so apprehensive to leave our children with someone - - while we go out - - is because something could happen to us, while we are out. Not to say that it would, but it could. The first time that this really dawned on me is after I was discharged from the hospital following the birth of the babies and they were still in the NICU. Charlie and I were driving up to the hospital to visit on a rainy day ... and I was struck by the thought "What would happen to our babies, if we were killed in a car accident? Who would take them?!" I was instantly consumed by a panic unlike anything I've ever experienced. I'm sure the massive hormonal fluctuation following the birth of triplets also had something to do with the bucket loads of sweat that poured off of me as I sat in the passenger seat hyperventilating while yelling at Charlie to SLOW down!!!

Since then, we've spent a lot of time evaluating who would take our children in the event something were to happen to us. This was not an easy task. Infact, I'd say it was one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make. Now that we've made the decision ... we feel that it is important to have a Will pulled together so that our wishes are known and there is no ambiguity. We know we need a Will ... we just have yet to do it. It's one of those items that is on our "to-do" list that keeps getting re-prioritized. Also on my "to-do" list is evaluating the amount of money that we have in life insurance. I would feel much better knowing that if something were to happen to me (or us), there are sufficient funds to fully support our children, up through and including college. Although, I'm not really sure how much is enough...???

I'm trying not to dwell on these fears, but they are there. I guess it goes with the territory of parenthood ... the knowledge that you have lives that are 100% dependent on you. I think that the best way to put my fears to rest (as good as could be expected), is by getting our Will squared away and verifying that we have a sufficient amount of life insurance in place. I want to be absolutely certain that our family is well taken care of, should either of us be eaten by a shark while swimming.

At night.

In a pool.


  1. What about during the day... it would be worse if you could actually see the shark!

  2. Isn't it amazing how easy it is to put off preparing in this way? I think we hate to face our fears and do it. It took us 12 years as parents before we finally did the will thing. Much easier than we thought. We did do life insurance much earlier, though.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. I am not kidding, I could have written this post (well, except for the shark part). I never want to watch, read about, hear about, think about anything that is remotely negative anymore. I also get nightmares and think horrible thoughts of something happening to me, my husband, me and my husband, Mattea...

    We go back and forth about who would take care of her if something were to happen to us, and still can't committ to any of our options. I don't want her to be with anybody but us. Big decisions are just so hard when you love your child(ren) so much. I feel like I love her so much it hurts.

    As far as a Will, I've been told a Living Trust is better to have (I think for tax purposes). That is something on our "to do" list as well.


  4. I'm with the geology chick. I hear daytime poolsharks are much more aggressive depending on the breed.

    Hang in there...Charlie.

  5. Hey Jen, DH and I literally just made our decision this week. So weird to see that you posted about this topic also. We just talked to the couple *this week* that we would like to step in should we, ahem, bite the dust. I have to tell you, it was veeeeeeery difficult to consider and to make a decision.

    Glad I'm not the only one thinking about this stuff!

  6. oops, last post was from Sportygirl!

  7. Now that is a one I can relate to. UnkBill and I had that discusion several(ahem) years ago. I asked a particular sister what would happen if we passed away and left her in charge of our children. Answer "you better not, I have enough problems of my own."
    so the moral of this story is to STAY HEALTHY!!! Now one takes care of your kids like y'all do.

  8. You could write a newspaper column because your experiences would be valuable to many others.

    We found that the only way to get to those "important but not today issues" is to write down in your planner the day and time that you will make a phone call for an appointment. Just making a phone call takes very little time. You just have to get the ball rolling.

    Warmest wishes, Susan