When Life Hands You Lemons …

Only 19 days after celebrating my 10th birthday, my mother died. Although I have grown up nearly half of my life without my mother, her words of encouragement regarding adversity—one of the many life lessons she shared with me—echo in my memories of her: “Be prepared to make lemonade out of life’s lemons.”

As I have matured, I have become more acutely aware of how her death Schwartz familyacted as a catalyst for some of my life’s challenges and burdens. Specifically, I now recognize the additional financial burdens resulting from her death: loss of income, burial expenses, the need for after-school services to care for me and a shift in my father’s professional career resulting in less responsibilities, travel and compensation in order to remain close to home to care for me.

A Key Omission
Ultimately, these financial burdens were exacerbated by a key omission in my family’s financial plans: my mother did not have any life insurance.

Other unforeseeable events have further affected my family’s current financial predicament: providing care and support to my ailing grandmother and my father having been unemployed for the past several years due to the global economic downturn. As a result, we were forced to sell the house I grew up in to raise money to survive.

No one can put a value on a mother. Yet, if only my family’s financial plans had included the key ingredient of life insurance for my mother, my family’s financial position and my current academic path would now be more secure. Benefits from such coverage would have provided for the payment of her funeral service, the cost of my supervision and care over the years, my college tuition and kept us in our house.

Peace of Mind
Hannah Graduation 4Ultimately, the financial benefits tied to life insurance would have brought tranquility and peace of mind; thereby, supplying key ingredients to my mother’s lesson regarding making lemonade—by allowing me to complete my degree in psychology in order to help others grieving the loss of a parent—to be all the sweeter.

Editor’s note: Hannah was the 2014 Grand Prize Essay winner of the Life Lessons Scholarship Program, and received a $15,000 scholarship to assist her in finishing her education. You can view the video of her story here.

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