When I was three years old, my father passed away suddenly in a tragic pedestrian accident. My family has faced many challenges since my father’s death in 2005. It hasn’t been easy for my mother to raise both me and my brother on her own. Since my father was the provider for the family, we were forced to move in with my grandparents and have relied greatly on their financial support. In addition, my mother was forced to go back to work and wasn’t able to stay home as raise us, as she and my father had planned.
At the time of my father’s death, he was 40-years-old, and my mother was 33-years-old. My father had a very small life insurance policy, which was used up quickly on daily expenses and health insurance premiums. If my father had adequate life insurance coverage, my family wouldn’t have been so stressed about money all the time, and my mother and grandparents wouldn’t have had to go back to work to help support me and my brother. In addition, my mother would have been able to stay in our home we had before my dad’s passing. My mother wouldn’t have had to worry about the financial future of herself, me and my brother. If my mother didn’t have to go back to work, she could have been home raising me, while I was young and missing my dad.
When I was young, I began auditioning for acting jobs, mainly commercials, so that I could save some money for going to college. In addition, as soon as I was in high school, I began tutoring peers in the subjects of math and science. These tutoring jobs allowed me to have money to use for myself and to help out with family expenses.
Although I have a 4.61 GPA and a 1490 SAT score, applying to college has been extremely difficult for me because I’m worried about the debt it will place me and my family in.
For me, getting into college isn’t completely joyful because of the financial burden. I know that the price of tuition will be a large deciding factor. I hope to attend a highly-ranked college in the Engineering discipline. I plan on majoring in Aerospace Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. I believe space travel in our solar system can become just like flights on our planet. I’m very interested in innovating space travel and making it commercial. I hope to design a passenger spacecraft that would allow passengers to travel outside of our planet in a very cost and time efficient way.
Not only has my father’s death affected me financially, I’ve also struggled with the loss of emotional support at various points in my life. I’ve struggled with the reality of not having a father to ask questions, share my feelings and ask for guidance. Although the emotional loss I feel is extremely difficult, the financial loss could have been avoided with adequate life insurance.
My parents decided that they would volunteer in Kenya for a few years, to help develop a small village his mother came from, and for my sister and I to learn to appreciate other lives and countries. But during the last two years things got rough for my dad. He had a few pieces of heavy equipment that he was using to get contracts to pave and repair roads. His workers were stealing parts off the equipment to sell. Because the equipment couldn’t work, he lost contracts, his company collapsed, and he fell into heavy debt. My father had no insurance on his company, equipment, or himself. He thought he could always cover whatever was needed.
Because he had no insurance to cover his losses, my mother, after his death ended up with over $200,000.00 of his debt on the charge cards and loans that were in both their names. There was no money in any accounts to bury him, to get us back home to America, and the company machinery was rented, later reposed.
Friends and family had to take up a collection for my fathers’ burial, to fly my mother to help with arrangements for my dad, our home, school and to get my sister back to America. The generosity of the school that I was attending allowed me to stay and finish my senior year there to graduate. A host family took me in to live with them in exchange for chores. I learned how to bake and sell brownies and cakes and us that to help with my care.
I graduate in May and will return home to Boston Ma., I have been accepted to college for the fall. Because of our hardship from my fathers’ death, I will need financial aid. My mom has nothing to contribute. If my father had insurance on his company, or life, everything would have been different. My mom would be able to help with school, she could have paid off his debt, not have to work three jobs, and help more for college. Insurance especially on parents, was a tragic lesson we learned that is needed and important.
Never will I meet another who touched so many lives. Having someone so impactful, powerful, and wise taught me how to be genuine, strong, compassionate. You had so many hobbies; you left almost a trail of art, a legacy of inspiration for us to discover. But your unwavering strength was by far the most inspiring thing about you; in the face of death, you looked life right in the eye and said “I’m not afraid”. I can still see the look of determination and unwavering persistence in your eyes, and I will never forget it – I will never forget you – for as long as I live.
In December of 2018, I lost my father. Cancer took my father from me. I went numb.
This just so happened to be the day before my Winter Band Concert. I was crushed by not being able to perform with my band, my second family. The night of the concert, I could not get the band out of my mind. I knew I had to do something.
Through the tears of dealing with my family tragedy, I wanted to see my band succeed. I laid a yellow flower on each of my friends’ seats with a note wishing them good luck at their concert. To my surprise, they had done the same for me: a single red rose sat peacefully on my chair as the winter concert went on without me. I never truly realized how compassionate and loving my friends and family were to me until I was forced to miss a concert that I had no intention of missing.
For months after, my mother would pull the budget belt tighter, little by little. My brother and I no longer had the comfort of ensured dental care, eye appointments, or doctor visits; the things I had once had the privilege of experiencing were gone in an instant. A few months later, I would begin applying to colleges. My number one college got bumped to number two – replaced with a college that was less than half of the cost. My mother always says, “Don’t worry about the money,” but I simply couldn’t help it. I knew we could get by, but for how long? When I leave for college, will my family be okay? My father’s life insurance promised my mother a future and kept us in our home. I am so thankful for the ability to remain comfortable with my family in my home, and I could never imagine the bigger consequences of losing financial stability. However, the hole in our hearts that losing my dad left can never be filled again; nonetheless, he still continues to take care of me and my family today, and I am in debt to him forever.
Life is scathingly short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. But life cannot be lived in fear. My father has given me a reason to keep going; he taught me how to look life in the eye and tell it “I’m not afraid”.
I will look up at the moon tonight and know you are watching the same one, somewhere.
Thank you, Dad.