When my mother tells me I look just like my father, it’s a quick realization of what he left behind. You see, my dad was struck by a semi truck while merging onto a highway; his truck fish-tailed in the rain and he lost control.
On the day he died, distant family began arriving at my house; they received the devastating news before I did. Everybody kept quiet for awhile, hoping to let a 12-year-old boy enjoy life as he knew it for a few more moments. My aunt finally told me when the tears kept rolling and the truth couldn’t be hidden any longer. Suddenly my world was flipped upside down. I knew from that moment on my life would never be the same.
My father was in his mid-40s when he died and surely hadn’t planned on it being so soon. At the time, he owned a business, was paying a mortgage on his first home and was raising a family. Early on, people feel as if they don’t need to factor death into their life equation, but death comes unexpectedly, sometimes sooner rather than later. It’s not something to fear to the point of neglect, but rather something to plan for accordingly.
After feeling as if we were lost at sea with no hope, my mother finally found a job as a civilian at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps in San Diego. But that meant we had to move —with no friends, family or father. Being away from my grandparents, my mom had to enroll my sister and me in an after school program while she worked long hours to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.
Emotionally, we have gained strength and have been able to accept this unfair reality. Financially, my father’s death still haunts us 12 years later. After high school, I was accepted to Fresno State University, but had to turn it down due to financial instability. I began working full-time as a front desk clerk. I quickly realized how difficult it is to get promoted without a college degree, so I was determined to find a way back to college.
I was able to get financial assistance for low-income students, and found a new restaurant job that worked with my schedule. This has allowed me to get back on my path to success, balancing an education for myself and a part-time job to help my family.
If my father had life insurance, we would’ve been able to pay off our home, instead of being life-long renters. If my father had life insurance, I would’ve graduated college by now, instead of jumping through hoops to make ends meet. We can’t predict our deaths, but we can predict our family’s financial well-being after we are gone. If you take anything from my life story, let it be the importance of your family’s future and the financial security life insurance provides.