When a child’s parent dies, the absolute last thing that should be on their mind is financial panic. Unfortunately, when families don’t have adequate life insurance, this panic is what kids and loved ones left behind are brought to. To my horror, I became one of these children in October of 2021, after my mother passed away due to COVID-19. Her death was extremely unexpected, and it left my father and me absolutely scrambling in fear of the future.
My mom was my biggest supporter, and we had plans to begin college visits during the fall break of my junior year. However, she ended up passing away that exact week. My dad spent the entirety of her sickness talking to doctors and trying to get her transferred to other hospitals with more resources; we weren’t thinking about what we were going to do afterward if the unimaginable occurred. But, it did. Eventually college was once again a concern. Time didn’t stop for grief. College was fast approaching, and I had barely begun my search. All I knew was that the medical field had always been my goal, and my mom was my biggest advocate. The Christmas before her passing, she even bought me my first stethoscope! Regardless that she won’t be physically here to help with my college expenses, she will always be the reason I have the courage to pursue my dream, despite the unknown of how I will get through it.
The one thing that is always true about tragedy is that you never think it will happen to you. My mom was incredibly healthy and very young— we had no idea that COVID-19 could take her life. She did not have life insurance, and it is one of my family’s biggest regrets. If my mom had life insurance, we would have been able to put more of a focus on healing, rather than keeping up with bills. Life insurance would have provided my family a safety net from the funeral expenses, travel expenses from my grandmother and aunt in Hungary, and endless medical bills we were bombarded with immediately after her death. It would have helped my dad and I find our way in this unexpected tragedy.
Instead, my mother’s passing forced me to grow up much earlier than expected. I got a job as a swim instructor, a job as a swim coach, and I babysat for neighbors. I worked to take accountability for my own spending to try my best to relieve the pressure from my newly widowed father. I taught my dad everything my mom taught me about cooking so that we weren’t spending money at restaurants every night, and I focused on my school work despite my grief so that I could qualify for good colleges. I learned how to be independent and I learned the value of working hard for things in life— I’d like to hope that my mother would be proud of the woman I have become.