Click-click. Click-click. Hands at 10 and 2. Eyes glazed, barely tracking the red and yellow flashing lights of the emergency vehicle in front of me. He’s only 30. This can’t be. This isn’t happening to us. Not now. As I sit in our car behind the ambulance barely catching glimpses of my husband through the rear windows, I find myself in a state of total denial.
This is not happening.
I found myself in chaos. I didn’t want to believe that I was facing the possibility of losing my partner. My friend. My husband. What now? What will I tell the girls? Who do I need to call?
In facing the uncertainty of the fate of my spouse, our family, our future, the one thing that I could cling to with certainty was the knowledge that we were prepared. We were prepared for the worst. Me or him. Or both. We prepared for this moment.
You don’t plan for emergencies. You can’t. The word “plan” feels a bit like a calling something into being; to make it as if it is certain. The only thing you can do is prepare. To “prepare” is to make ready in the event of a situation. Just in case.
So, how did we prepare for this emergency? Last night, the only thing I could do with any certainty was to run through our family emergency checklist:
- Will. Check.
- Durable Power of Attorney. Check.
- Power of Attorney for my parents to care for the girls. Check.
- Power of Attorney for me to act in hubby’s stead. Check
- Special Power of Attorney for me to take care of military finance issues. Check.
- Emergency Savings to cover flying my mom down. Check.
- Access to all financial accounts in his name, my name, and our names. Check.
- Beneficiaries up to date on all accounts. Check.
- Life Insurance policies active and up to date. Check.
By having all of these legal documents and financial preparations ready to go and up to date, I was able to focus on being present with my spouse and making sure that he was safe and cared for. My mind didn’t have to wander to the what-ifs in the logistics of our life, it could immerse itself in feeling and being in the moment of being there for the person I love.
Start Your Estate Planning Now
I know. Estate planning. It just sounds so…upper class. But estate planning is what will protect you and your family in the event of a catastrophic event. Nobody likes to talk about losing a loved one, but I guarantee you that, in the face of an emergency, you are NOT going to want to think about ANY of these things in the heat of the moment. You are NOT going to want to emotionally deal with a horrible situation and compound it with the unnecessary stress of finances and legalities. Estate planning is a must to secure your family’s financial future. Period.
If you’re a military family Money Chica or Chico, you have NO excuse not to have these documents. Go to your installations JAG office now. NOW. You have access to free legal counsel and free legal document preparation. USE IT. NOW.
If you’re a civilian Money Chica or Chico, estate planning is worth every last penny. You can even go to LegalZoom to get these documents prepared at an affordable rate.
Want to know more about estate planning? Visit CNNMoney’s online module about estate planning.
I am happy to report that my husband received his clean bill of health and is safely at work today. Thank goodness, it wasn’t a heart attack. Regardless, we should all be aware of the symptoms and signs of heart attacks in women and men. They’re different. Visit the American Heart Association to learn more about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks.
I am thankful and grateful for the wonderful EMTs that took care of him and I am so fortunate to have such caring neighbors that didn’t hesitate to care for my girls so I could tend to my husband.
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