Kimberly Baker

Kimberly Baker

On August 7th, 2016, I left my home to begin my third year at The University of Georgia. As I said my goodbyes to my mom, the expected tearful “I’ll miss you” was consoled by a hug and the usual “Don’t worry, I’ll see you soon.” There was nothing extraordinary about this goodbye — until it became our last. One month later, I was working on an important class project, the grade for which felt like life or death, when I received the phone call that mercilessly pushed my life into perspective. My mom had passed away due to a sudden, severe heart attack. After fiercely denying the facts and insisting she just needed to go to the hospital and then everything would be okay, I was forced to accept the nightmare that was my new reality. A single phone call put my “yesterday” on loop, turned my “today” into stone, and changed my “tomorrow” forever.

My shattered world immediately felt the aftershocks of my mom’s lack of will and life insurance. Following her death, everything was shadowed by financial uncertainty, particularly my schooling. My mom had been the one person who was helping me pay for my education. During every summer since I began attending college, I worked seven days a week as a delivery driver to save money and repay my mom for her constant, generous support, but nothing could have prepared me for this amount of loss.

If my mom had insurance, I would have been afforded the desperately-needed time to grieve, but instead, I found myself in the office of student financial aid just two days after her funeral, terrified that I couldn’t afford to stay at the university. Over the past six months, I have relied day-to-day on my personal savings and photography sessions that I secure in an attempt to stay afloat until I can work full-time over the upcoming summer. The last conversation I had with my mom involved her telling me how proud she was of me for pursuing the career of my dreams, so nothing could deter me from my goal of graduating. I am determined to earn my degree and continue to maintain a 3.95/4.00 grade point average, but I am struggling to pay for it after this unexpected tragedy.

When I lost my mom, it felt like I lost the person who loved and supported me most in the world; in her words, she was my “number one cheerleader.” There has been times where my entire life feels like its floating precariously on thin ice, and I feel as though I have lost my own “tomorrow.” Before that fateful day, I never discussed life insurance with my mom. Despite always proclaiming how short life can be, it is as if there is a taboo surrounding the idea of preparing for death, as if proper planning today will somehow steal tomorrow. However, I’ve learned that life insurance holds the potential to do the opposite: it grants your loved ones their tomorrow.

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