Entries and Exits

by mssinglemama on June 2, 2011

The appointment was at 3:30 but she didn’t show up until 3:45.

I had changed into sweat pants and flip flops, to make sure I was comfortable and prepared for whatever she was going to do to me. I expected her to be frumpy and tried to imagine what it would be like to travel from house to house day after day making a bet on the odds of how long people had to live.

When her 1992 Chevy Cavalier pulled up in front of the house I waved from my garden.

Look at me, I thought, I look happy and healthy, completely normal.

She was in a rush.

“I’m so sorry, I had the address wrong in the system.”

“No problem, just come on in,” I shouted across the lawn.

She wasn’t frumpy at all. She was thin and graceful. I immediately change my image and decide she is escaping the hospital for a day job on the road. This must be much more liberating for her. She’s free every day – outside. She seems happy has she whizzes by me, pulling a black suit case on wheels behind her. And quickly it’s clear that she spends more money on her appearance than her car, which I think is totally awesome.

Benjamin can see her from the neighbor’s yard across the street where he is playing with a pack of boys.

“Is that the nurse, Mommy?”

“Yes, Honey, it’s okay.”

“Alright, just let me know if you need me to hold your hand.”

“He’s cute,” she says.

Seconds after we’re inside she has the suitcase on it’s back and open. Inside there were all kinds of medical things. Including a scale.

“We’ll start with this. Just take your shoes off for me.”

I stepped onto the scale and was shocked by the weight. The arrow was hovering over 120 pounds.

“That can’t be right,” I say.

I don’t have a scale at home and I hadn’t measured myself in weeks but I haven’t weighed that little since junior high, I tell her.

“It must have been the man before you. He was a big guy and I think he may have broken the scale,” she raises her eyebrows. “Well, what do you think you are?”

I tell her 135 is safe and we move on.

She finds my vein, takes some blood and then after a few questions has me head into the bathroom for a urine sample.

We exchange a few compliments. I like her shag cut and she likes the “energy” in the house. It does have a nice energy and I do like her shag. And with that, she walks away with pieces of me in some little tubes and that’s it.

A few weeks later a confirmation letter arrived from the insurance company.

I had passed and based on their calculated odds I qualified for a 30 year life insurance policy. After that, all bets are off. I tuck the paperwork into a drawer, not wanting it to stare at me all night. The death stare. The what happens after stare.

It’s something I have been meaning to do since becoming a mother, all of this. And now, the hardest part is next – my will and trust. Who do I leave Benjamin to?  There have been conversations between John and I about what would happen if I did suddenly cease to exist. He says he would want to raise Benjamin. I respond, every single time, with a “really? are you sure?”

Hands down, he says.

I go on asking him if he really thinks he would be ready and then I conclude that he would be an amazing single father. But, really? Can you put your “boyfriend” into your will?

What are your after plans? Who would take care of your kids? Personally, I can’t stand the thought of Benjamin being raised by his father – for reasons I can’t go into here at all, but I know I’m not the only one. As for my family, I’m just not sure…

Sorry to be so morbid.

On a lighter note, John Bear and I had an awesome time in Key West. Here are some pictures…

There are so many more, but I must sleep. I need to make a Flickr account again. Long story, but efficiency is key or I will be dead before I’m 62 from exhaustion.

xoxo

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

April June 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

Good for you-this is a hard step but necessary. I lost my husband to cancer 6 years ago and am glad we had our wills, living wills, and life ins in order. Many times I wanted to cancel the life ins and save the money (he had previously had cancer-so our premium was high). I don;t know where we’d be right now if we had canceled it. So good for you and thanks for being a good example!

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mssinglemama June 2, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this and I’m so sorry for you loss. But yes, without that life insurance money – what can you do? You can barely think or operate yourself after something like that. My father cut his life insurance premium in half right before he found out he had terminal cancer, he was kicking himself in his last 5 months of life. I am so paranoid about it, I think I should keep taking policies out just to make sure I have coverage well into my seventies. Can you do that?

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Hydrangea June 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

Good for you!! I did the same thing, this article is perfect timing. I literally just got a term life insurance policy ~2 weeks ago and I saw the lawyer yesterday to draw up a will, a health POA (or living will- I haven’t decided which to use yet), and a trust. The trust is to ensure that if I pass away, my ex, who would become our daughter’s guardian- will not get his hands on any of my assets: the insurance money, 401k, IRA, or personal accounts. He would not be responsible with all of that money, so I listed my parents as the trustees with my daughter as the beneficiary of the trusts assets. That way I can rest in peace (pun intended) knowing they will act prudently with the funds. You’re right, it is morbid, but it’s a necessary step we should take as parents to make sure our children are taken care of if we are to die while they are still kids.

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SingleMama June 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

I had a will drawn up recently as well. I hated the feeling of signing “who gets my son”, but according to the lawyer, without it he would automatically go to his father (who has never even met him). Guess it brings a peace of mind!

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Sunny June 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

I have a will, living will, Trust and power of attorney set up (benefits of having lawyers in the family). My son would automatically go to live with his father (not an idea I relish) so I specified in my will that my mother and sister are to use funds set up in the Trust to acquire liberal and enforced visitation with him.

My son gets it all but my sister is the executor and has the cajones to stand up, not take crap from my ex and do what’s right for my son.

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Billie June 2, 2011 at 10:05 am

Crazy! I just had mine drafted (a newer version) last week and it was a bit stressful/uncomfortable. Rick and I have been together for almost 3 years now. He has made me the sole beneficiary for his life insurance stuff, etc, with the understanding that I will make sure that his daughter is taken care of. For my will, I made him everything – executer, beneficiary, guardian, etc. Olivia thinks of him as her dad (her biological father has never met her and technically doesn’t even know that she truly exists since he hasn’t spoken to me since I was 4 months pregnant – his choice since he changed all of his contact info, etc). While talking with the attorney and my financial advisor, they both made comments about how they found it “extremely trusting” that I would give him such a great responsibility. This obviously led to a bit of doubt on my end – if these “adults” who clearly had more experience than I, doubted my decisions, maybe I was making the wrong choices. After discussing the situation again with Rick and objectively evaluating our options, I truly feel like Rick, even though he’s “just” my boyfriend (for now), is the best person to raise Olivia is I would ever be deleted. It’s a huge choice and I think it’s necessary to really think about all possibilities, but I also think that the label (“boyfriend”) has little to do with knowing who the right person is to raise your child with love and security. I made the right decisions and I’m sure you will too!

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David Rickert June 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

My wife’s cousin handles wills and trusts and the like. He says that one of the mistakes that people make is designating a married couple – like your sister and her husband, for instance – as the guardians of your children in case of your death because if the guardians get divorced, it can cause huge legal problems. It’s best to only name one of the two. I only mention this because it might be helpful to someone here.

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christine June 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

this is something i worry about constantly. i need to get life insurance, in case something happens to me. but i don’t know who would raise my girls if i were to die. their father just isn’t capable of caring for them all the time, and there isn’t anyone in my family who could, either. either grandma would probably want to take them, but both my mom and MIL are pushing 60, and i don’t know if they really could take two young children on, and do a good job. it’s scary. i don’t know who would raise my girls if i weren’t around, so i just figure i have to be around to do it. period. there is not good alternative otherwise.

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Glenda June 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

As soon as I had my kids I did it. It may sound morbid, but I lost my dad at 13 and I’d definitely would want to leave my kids well financially. It’s taking care of them even when we are longer here.

I’m sure you will make the best decision and in the best interest of Benjamin.

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Autumn June 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

As a trauma nurse, I can’t even begin to tell you how smart you are to tackle these hard decisions early. They are no easier to make when you are older, and they certainly aren’t easy when damage has already been done and you find yourself in a hospital. Many young people (and not so young!) have accidents that leave them unable to speak for themselves, and parents don’t always agree with spouses or significant others, etc. Also, you may think your family knows exactly what you want, but a traumatic event leaves everyone’s brains on edge and working in a different way if truly processing anything at all…may feel morbid now, but you’re doing the right thing!

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Martini Mom June 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I have joint custody with my ex, so my son would automatically go to him in the event of my death – a thought that makes my stomach turn. The best I can do is make sure that my mom is named as executor of all my assets – life insurance, 401-K, etc. because my ex is NOT capable of handling it responsibly if it comes to that.

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Carsons Mom June 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

My thoughts exactly :)

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Melissa June 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I really need to look into doing this. I wasnt aware that there was a way around the dad automatically getting custody if something happened to me. Thanks for the “push” to get these things taken care of.

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Nahid June 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I wonder….when I started to think like this, the topic came here…….What a coincidence!!! whatever, I should do a insurance too before its too late…..

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Alison June 4, 2011 at 4:03 am

I know it’s hard, but as single parents, we have to make these arrangements. My sister will get my children, my parents will get whatever money is in the estate to invest into their trust. That way neither party has to worry too much about anything and can focus on what’s best for the kids.

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Rachel June 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

At least you didn’t pass out like I did when my husband and I had this done!

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Rhonda June 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm

We’re going through the same process right now. A bit scary, but we know it has to be done…

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Stac June 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I was under the impression that the other parent gets the child, even if you have a will saying otherwise, or that they can contest it. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

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sabrina June 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

i took out a substantial life insurance policy when my son was a baby (now 9 yrs old), and another one just recently to cover any estate taxes so that he would not have to be responsible for them should anythign happen.
my own father was strong as an ox, but died senselessly and unexpectedly at 59yrs old, a year before i got pregnant. he had a measly life ins policy, and a haphazard will that was so old it had been typed on a typewriter. my mom was left with (relative) pennies, and being working people who essentially lived check to check for all of their lives, there was no saving to speak of. luckily they did own property that was purchased many years ago, but increased dramatically in value, and has basically succeeded in supporting my mom over these last years, but it is so very important to have things in order. my parents were finally looking forward to having both kids out of college and enjoying these next years together, not expecting this crushing change of life events. you just never know and can’t be too prepared.

i recently had a will drawn up and, even though my son’s father and i were never married, he lives in another country now, and has minimal contact with him, he is still entitled to custody if anything should happen to me. although my boyfriend and i are not married, we have been together for 6 yrs, he’s the only father my son has known, and he took it for granted he would be named guardian. despite the fact that i stated these were my wishes, and specifically mentioned my son’s father NOT be guardian (by name) it still would not prevent him from contesting the will; it’s the biology that matters, unfortunately. still, the lawyer said it is wise to make it as specific as possible, mention names, etc. -you do what you can.
this is all so unpleasant to think of, but in the long run, super important.

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Rebecca Mitchell June 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I had my son’s dad’s rights terminated (for so many reasons), and that way I was able to have my son go to my parents if anything happened to me.

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mommybella June 8, 2011 at 12:04 am

Ohh I have never been able to think about this. I lost my father when I was 15 so I should draft something soon, but it scares me! I would never want my son to go to his father if something happens to me for so many reasons( I’m sure a lot of similar ones).

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angie June 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm

My advice is to keep in mind that wills, and those you name as your children’s guardian(s), can be changed. Do what you think is best right now (and yes, do it NOW!). It’s better than having nothing and leaving it up to the courts. If a few years go by, and relationships have changed, you can update your will to reflect your new wishes. I agree with the commenter who suggested only naming one person, not a married couple. Saves you having to change things later, and it saves a potential legal mess later.

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Kathlyn Garnet June 14, 2011 at 12:43 am

Crazy! I had just recently convinced my mom to take out an insurance policy as well as writer her own will (which I’m thinking of doing also for myself). She has been diagnosed with a stage 2 breast cancer and I was the one worried about how things are gonna be with my dad and my youngest sibling in case she’s gone. I guess I’m a bit of a worry-wart myself. I just don’t want our family to go through all the hassles while we’re still grieving.

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charity June 15, 2011 at 1:12 am

Well, here’s a curious question… what if you didn’t name your child’s father on the birth cert? Does anyone other than yourself have rights in this scenario?

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