When I interviewed for my position as an agent at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, a question asked was, “Are you comfortable talking to people about life insurance?”
“Yes,” I would reply, without hesitation.
Why was I so quick to reply yes to a question that many would deem an uncomfortable conversation to have? Unfortunately, I’ve been on the other side where an insurance agent didn’t have the uncomfortable but much-needed talk with my own parent, and it left my younger brother and me in difficult times, at a much too early age.
My story about life insurance
When I was a junior in high school, my mother had her first heart attack. By the time I graduated high school, she had experienced two more heart attacks. She was in and out of the hospital often and had to go on temporary disability on and off throughout much of that time.
To her credit, she always tried to fight back, and get back to work as quickly as she could. Unfortunately, her body was giving out little by little.
The summer after I graduated, she went into hospice care. Some days she did well, but there were many days that I thought would be her last with us. I chose to attend a nearby college that was just a 35 minute drive away, just in case anything went wrong with her health, and I needed to get home quickly.
That first year of college was very difficult for me. While I should have been excited about a new adventure and the prospect of making my life better with education, all I could think about was my mom. I knew she was dying, and it didn’t always feel right being away from her and my little brother, who was now a junior in high school.
She was proud that I was in college though, and I’ll never forget when she got to come visit me at parent weekend. She wore expressions of pride and joy, and as my grandmother and I pushed her in her wheelchair around campus, I knew this was a moment I would need to remember as best as I could.
I was right. I chose to go home to her for spring break. I couldn’t justify a trip to Florida, or some other destination with my friends, when I knew my mom’s time with us was almost over.
Thursday night of my spring break, I fell asleep watching tv in our front room. I woke up to my mother opening all the windows, which was odd as it was March, and the temps were in the mid-30s at best.
She was feeling very hot and couldn’t breathe. I sat her down and called her hospice nurse. As her nurse gave me instructions on how to help, her breathing continued to worsen. I had to call an ambulance.
They took her to the hospital and told me to get some sleep, as they were confident, she would be fine. When I went later that morning to go see her, she was sitting up, smiling, and honestly looked better than I had seen her in a long time. The doctors wanted to keep her there to monitor her.
The next day, her health took a turn for the worse. I didn’t think much of it though, as I had seen her health dip before, and I assumed she would swing back by the morning. That would not be the case this time.
That night, I was woken up by a telephone call from a good friend and mentor from our church. Mom had died early Sunday morning with her mom by her side. She was only 44. She left behind two boys, 19 and 17, and our pup Brewster.
I love my mom very much, and she did a lot of great things in her short time on earth. She tried very hard to do good things for my brother and I. However, one thing she didn’t do very well was set up my brother and me if anything were to happen if she did pass away.
She only had a small life insurance policy through work, and after it paid for the funeral, my brother and I received about $3,500 each.
I bought a new laptop to help me in school, started paying rent that summer for my own place, and then decided it was time to leave North-Central Indiana to try to start fresh somewhere else. I made some repairs on my car for the drive I would be making to Cincinnati for my new university, and then paid for my books for that fall semester.
That’s all that my mom’s life insurance money could pay for. It didn’t even last to the end of the year, and I also worked while in school, as well as 40 hours a week during the summer.
How life insurance can help
So, why do I want to be in this industry? This story is why. I know that there are other 19-year-old boys out there that need all the help they can get if a parent dies.
Thankfully, with the help of my grandparents and our church friends, my brother and I made it through that time.
My brother graduated high school and joined the Marine Corps, where he served for eight years, before coming back home to Indiana in 2017. He now is married, and they have two amazing sons. I am recently married and looking forward to starting my family soon. It’s been tough at times, and I struggled financially throughout my early twenties, as I tried to do what I could on my own.
What if my mom would have set up something different for us? What if she would have purchased life insurance, and left my brother and I something more substantial so we wouldn’t have had to fight and claw our way through our twenties?
I think about that for my brother and his family, and my future family as well. I think about what legacy we can leave behind for future generations, to ensure their struggle isn’t as enduring as ours was. Life insurance can be a big part of that.
What can you do now to leave your legacy
I want that for you as well. What legacy are you leaving behind for your family? Are you making sure you’re doing everything in your means to give your children and grandchildren the best path to success?
I encourage you to talk to your insurance agent to do a needs analysis on what type of life insurance you need to make sure you are covering your family’s needs to the best of your abilities, in the event of your passing.
My mom didn’t expect to die at the age of 44. Nobody does. I don’t expect to die at that age, either, but if I do, I have a plan set in place to make sure my family is taken care of. That’s a legacy to be proud of.