Friday, April 6, 2012

Practical advice

Of those of you who follow this blog, I know there are some who have gone or are going through similar circumstances in your own life. So some of the things I am going to write about in this post may be lessons you already know. For the rest of you, please read on.

There are certain axioms in life that most of us know to be true, but we don't realize just HOW true until faced with the exact set of circumstances that bring those truths to light. Having gone through one of those experiences recently, I am going to share with you some advice, exhortations really, that I knew before but REALLY know now. Please heed the words I write, in whatever way they may apply to you.

She doesn't worry about her
future, but I do
Get covered. If you are married or have anyone financially dependent on you now or in the future, do this now if you haven't already: Get. Life. Insurance. (I hate talking about my finances publicly, but I'm willing to be open about mine to prove a necessary point here.) Aimee insisted we get insurance after Rowan was born. I knew she was right, but I probably would have put it off. She didn't. Within a few weeks, she had a policy on both of us. Let me tell you, that saved my ass. When she died, our family lost between 1/3-1/2 of the income, depending on the type of month she'd had. There's no way I could have made the mortgage payments, or meet many other household expenses. But her insurance allowed me to pay off the house, plus keep some money on hand to cover other costs. It won't last forever. In fact, it probably won't last all that long at all. But it's helping a lot right now, that's for sure.

Be prepared. Have a will and powers of attorney drawn up. In the week after Aimee's death, one of the big questions for me was what arrangements she'd wanted for her body. For the life of me I couldn't remember, even though I knew we'd talked about it. Turns out, I didn't have to remember, because she'd put it in her will, which I got from our safe deposit box. She also spelled out a few other specific wishes she'd had, which meant no wondering or potential fighting over things. What a humongous relief that was to me.

Live your @&^%# life, ok? Rowan and I were looking at pictures today, and saw a picture from the aquatic center where we'd last seen Aimee. We talked about how that was the last time we saw mommy. And it dawned on me, not for the first time since Aimee's death, that the old saying about how life is short and you never know when it's your time are all a LOT more true than we really accept. We know that's true, but we don't ACT like it's true. Now I know that we can't all run off and live like we're going to die tomorrow, because would any of us really go to work or pay our bills? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd take one last trip to Paris or fly to China to walk on the Great Wall. Or maybe I'd gather my family around and we'd all tell great stories about the 'old days'. Whatever it is, I wouldn't be schlepping to work on the bus if I knew those hours were among my last on earth.

But still, as hard as it is, when you are with or talking to someone you love, keep in the back of your mind that you might never see them again. Because as unfathomable as it seems, it's the honest-to-God truth that what happened to me can happen to anyone. Believe me, when I chatted with Aimee through that fence, and kissed her good-bye through it, I never imagined that was my kiss GOOD-BYE. I had no clue that when I saw her one last time a few minutes later and waved to her as she got ready to leave for the boat that I was waving her off to eternity, no idea that that glace was the last time I'd lay eyes on her in this life. Don't think that could happen to you? In one swift moment of a car accident, or brain aneurysm, or heart attack, or whatever, someone you love could be gone (though I PRAY that it doesn't).

And it's not just loving our loved ones. What about the stuff you've dreamed of doing? What the hell are you waiting for? Until you make more money or have more time or i easier? Stop making excuses! Life is flying by you right now, and every day you waste is another day you're not going to get back. If you get to the end of your life with any regrets, let them be regrets for some of the things you did, not things you wished you'd done. Again, I know you can't blow all your money on stuff and then not be able to pay your bills. But start making goals and saving up for the things you've always wanted to have or do. And many of those may not cost much money at all, like learning to play an instrument or speak a new language.

I know this sounds cliche'. But please don't just read this and agree with me in your mind but then resume putting stuff off. Get insurance, make a will, and value the days you have left on this earth and the people you're sharing them with.

Because you just never know which day, which moment, which kiss through a chain link fence, will be your last.


  1. Pat I agree totally. My brother seen a video on youtube, about time, and it is so true... once it is gone it is gone, there is no rewind, no do over, no going back. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Rowan... As my mom use to say, time, it waits for no-one.

  2. Thanks for this, Pat. Jaimie and I already have life insurance, but this post has lit a fire under me to get wills drawn up, as well as actually plan for accomplishing the next item on our "bucket lists".

    I appreciate your openness and being "real" in this blog, Pat, and Jaimie and I are praying for you and Rowan constantly.

    1. Thanks for the comment Josh. As Aimee and I felt, this is especially important since soon there will be another relying on the two of you.

  3. So true, when I left for work @6am on Friday, March 2, 2012 I had no idea it would be the last time I saw my husband of almost 40YEARS! or that 7 hours later when he called me to say he was going home early it would be the last time I talked with him. @3:59pm, an F3 tornado struck Holton IN and in less than 1 minute my husband, Ron Pickett, our 2 rescue dachshunds and every thing we owned except his 12+ yr old dog, Bear would be blown away. He had minimal life insurance(less than 6 months gross wages) due to a heart condition.

    1. Sheryle, I am so incredibly sorry for the loss you've suffered. I know what a huge hole this leaves in a person's life, and I was only married for 5 1/2 years. I can not imagine what you must be going through. I will mist definitely keep you in my prayers, not only for the pain you must be feeling, but for the financial/logistical matters to all fall into place for you.