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Prepare for the Worst

Most people do not want to talk about their death. Even fewer want to plan for it. I think I am safe in saying no one wants to talk or plan for their child’s death. You need to do it.

Maybe you have heard commercials or someone say you need to plan for your own death. You do. It is wrong to put the burden of arrangements on those left behind. You can get life insurance fairly cheap and it is sufficient if you have no one relying on you for income. If you have a spouse or children, then you need more than the minimum. You should have enough to provide income for several years. I think it is best to have enough insurance to pay off your home and provide income for five or more years. Your situation may vary so talk to an agent you trust.

The other part of planning is communicating what you wish to occur once you are gone. You should have a will, any medical instructions like a Do Not Resuscitate, and who will care for your children. You also need to specify how to get access to all your accounts. There should be a list of insurance, bank, 401k, and other assets. You need to have something which says how to get to your safe, photos, etc. In the safe should be account passwords to anything online anyone will need (banks, etc) and to anything you want to share. For example, you might want to include social media passwords so a loved one can post of your passing.

The hard part is planning for your child’s death. No one wants to think about it and a child passing is rare enough it keeps many from trying to think about. When asked what we wanted to do about Caleb’s interment, we did not hesitate to answer. We knew he wanted to be cremated. This was a huge pressure off us in a time when we could not think. You do not want to have these tough conversations during extreme grief!

I am so glad we had a life insurance policy on Caleb. The policy was small because we thought we needed just enough to pay for immediate expenses. I think this kind of thinking is wrong. Obviously, if you cannot afford more, then a small policy is much better than none. However, when your child dies the grieving process is very different. We needed to take several months off of work. Neither of us felt like we could take so much time off and it affected our mental health. Also, holidays which had a special meaning at home are especially difficult to handle if you stay home. We went on trips for these big holidays after he died just to be out of the house. It has been almost 18 months and we still need to get away. It takes money and our savings have taken a big hit. Once we were able, we went to our insurance agent and increased the insurance we have on our daughter. We got one which she can keep through adulthood.

Published inGriefParenting

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