Yesterday, I wrote a letter to my Uncle Cecil on my personal blog. In this letter, I thanked him for all the things he taught me and shared with me throughout my life. Little things like how to spit watermelon seeds and big things like sharing my first beer with me. It was a very cathartic letter and I felt so much lighter of heart after I finished. But I didn’t realize then that the biggest thing I’d learn from him wasn’t when he was alive.
My 44 year old uncle who was in perfect health, so he thought, died of a massive heart attack on Monday. Leaving behind an ex-wife, two minor children, 5 brothers, two sisters, dozens of nieces and nephews, and no life insurance. Since he was out of town when he died, the hospital wants $2500 cash for embalming and transportation before they’ll release the body to the family. The costs of a funeral haven’t even been addressed yet.
In the midst of their grief over losing their baby brother, my mother, aunt, and uncles are all getting together today to try to figure out what to do. None of them have enough money to make a dent in these costs. They’re trying to figure out how to, quickly and efficiently, throw some sort of fundraiser event together by this weekend, in a small town in Kentucky, to get enough money to handle the hospital bills and funeral.
Is this the picture in your head of how your family will be handling your passing … unable to celebrate your life and honor your memory because they’re scrambling to figure out how to pay just to put your body in the family cemetery? Have you put off getting life insurance because something always seems to come up or there is always time to handle that later or you just don’t know where that $30 a month is going to come from?
Accidents happen. Unexpected illnesses happen. Long life is not guaranteed for any of us. Unless you’ve got some ace up your genetic sleeve that guarantees you’re living forever or you’re from planet Krypton, get enough life insurance and/or savings to keep your family from having to worry about how to pay for honoring you after you’ve passed away.