When I found out my father died of a heart attack, it felt something like this: Imagine yourself at Six Flags. You’ve seen all the rides, and are decidedly not a person who likes roller coasters. So you choose the teacups. You wait in the line, get on the ride, and strap your seatbelt. And then you sneeze. Your eyes are closed for one split second, and when you open them again, you are at the top of the Drop Tower. Before you have the chance to think about how you got there or why your feet are dangling 300 feet in the air, you’re falling.
The death of my father did not just bring emotional distress—my family was left financially unsupported. At the time of his death, my father had been working two jobs to try and keep my family on its feet. My mom had recently been laid off, and was struggling to find work. My brother was in his second year of college, and I was just a junior in high school. Because my father didn’t have life insurance, my mom was forced to bear the burden of supporting our family on her own.
It hurt me so much to see my mom go through that. Life insurance is the necessary precaution that we should have taken to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, and I’m sure it would have changed our life. Instead, we were left struggling, and unsure of how to move forward.
After my father died, I started working 20 hours a week to support myself. In my senior year, after having been accepted to the college of my dreams, I wasn’t able to go. My mom was still paying off debts from my father’s funeral fees, while also trying to support my brother in college. I took the year off, and tried to save up money so that I could pay for my own education.
Having been in college for almost one year now, I feel so privileged to be able to have this experience. I value my education immensely, and have studied hard to do well in all of my classes. Additionally, I work two on-campus jobs to be able to support myself.
Ultimately, I see my education as a form of protection very similar to life insurance. Even though I have no idea what will happen in life, I know that as long as I have my college education, I will be prepared for any challenge. Many things are out of your control in life, but the choice to have life insurance is not. I wish my parents had made that choice.
My father was my best friend, my number one fan—he taught me what it meant to be loved unconditionally. And when you love someone, you try to protect them. I hope that other families make the choice to get life insurance, so they can protect their loved ones too.
You can help students like Sinclair make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.