2019
 Pacific Life Recipient

Mariana Goettemoeller

AMOUNT: $15,000
SCHOOL: Benedictine College
I stood in the kitchen facing my grandpa. His face looked more worn than usual and a sense of foreboding clenched my heart. Tears filled his eyes as he told me my family had been in a car accident. My mom was in critical condition, my brother hurt his arm, and my sister injured her head. I took a few deep breaths, and the world spun when I asked about my dad. “Your dad is gone, sweetie,” my grandpa said softly. My breath caught in my throat. The words that came out of his mouth didn’t make sense. My dad…gone? I had seen him two hours before. The drive to the hospital was the longest and shortest drive of my life. I wanted to get there to be with my family but also wanted to act as if nothing happened. But it had. My dad was gone. I had to repeat those four words to myself to get a grip on reality. Losing my dad was a traumatic experience that still haunts me. To this day, if I send someone a text and they don’t respond within an hour, I panic out of fear that they were in a car accident. My anxiety isn’t logical but it is still a deep wound in my heart. The loss of my dad affected me not only emotionally, but financially as well. My dad was 44 and would have earned income for another thirty years. We lost my family’s health insurance and my mom could only afford COBRA for one month. The intoxicated driver who hit my family died a few hours after the accident. Otherwise, he would have been responsible for my family’s medical bills, including those from follow-up care after COBRA ran out. My mom was no longer able to work full time and, therefore, couldn’t access benefits like health insurance. Because we are now considered low income, my siblings and I have health insurance through Medicaid (mine runs out when I turn 19 this December), but Mom won’t be eligible for Medicare for several decades. Her current insurance won’t pay for annual exams, preventative care, or the mental health counseling she needs to re-process her trauma. If Dad would’ve had adequate life insurance, Mom could buy the health insurance she needs, and health insurance I will need when I turn 19 in December. Thankfully, I have a part time job now so I can pay for gas, clothes, and save a little for college. Through this tragic car accident, I realized I want to take care of people. I got to help my siblings and mom change dressings, apply ice packs, and put on bandages. I will now pursue a career in nursing and I won’t let our situation keep me from attending college. I have worked hard to keep a 3.9 GPA. Things have been difficult since my dad died, but hopefully our story can help others understand the importance of having adequate life insurance.
The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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