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Skin Cancer : From 5 Stages of Grief to Comfort

            I’ll never forget where I was when the doctor called to tell me that I had been diagnosed with skin cancer. I’d assume most people that have gone through a similar situation could relate to the flood of emotions that completely took over. My then fiancée, now wife, and I had just bought our first home. We were also preparing for our wedding that was just around the corner. Skin Cancer? I was thirty, I always wore sunscreen, I hadn’t even noticed that spot on my cheek until a week earlier!  As I prematurely ran through the 5 stages of grief in my mind, the magnitude of the situation quickly sank in and I knew I needed to not only take action to ensure I was doing everything to combat the situation, but also prepare for any situation that could arise.

            It’s incredible how quickly my attention shifted from myself to my fiancée, my siblings, and my family and friends. I had the good fortune of being intimately involved in the insurance industry, and had personally constructed a set of life insurance policies that I believed would prevent as much financial hardship as possible (I'll write something on life insurance soon). What I was shocked to realize was that knowing what I knew about this necessity, and outside of trying to insure my loved ones financial security, I had done literally NOTHING else. No last will and testament, not even letters to anyone, which I would never write anyways since I use a computer for everything. This led me down the path of realizing that, regardless of the outcome of my recent diagnosis, I had not properly prepared for anything to happen to me, now or in the future.


What I Found : SafeBeyond

            Considering how many people I’d helped create insurance policies for their loved ones, I couldn’t believe I’d overlooked one incredibly common theme; when something happened to a loved one, the family was left with so many unanswered questions. Not only was there the immediate necessities, how to access the utility accounts or bank accounts, but also the more personal questions, like how they truly felt about things they had experienced in their lives. While I don’t have any children, I’ve been waiting to talk to my nephews about something we’d had to deal with as a family, that they weren’t old enough to understand at the time. How could I share information that they needed to know, once they were of age, if I didn’t ever type it out? And even then, how would it get to them at the appropriate time? What if I never had the chance to tell my best friend that the only reason his wife agreed to go on their first date was because she lost a bet to me, and chose going on a date with him over having to cover my shift that weekend? That’s a story he needs to know!


From Morbid to Happy

            This is when I realized that going through this process wasn’t sad; I was seeing how fortunate I was to have these people in my life. While I immediately powered through getting every account I could think of entered in, I also jotted down notes for what I wanted to share with everyone in my life. From funny stories from high school and college, to explaining to my siblings about why I made the decision to move thousands of miles from home, I realized how many people I wanted to personally share something with. I hope I’m there when my nephews get married, but if I’m not I’m glad there’s a personal video to each one giving them some advice which I wish I was given. I take a few minutes once a week or so to just jot down some story to my wife about why I love her so much, so if I ever don’t get a chance to tell her those things, she’ll have something to smile when she needs it most.


The Positives          

I’m now 33 and healthy. My family and friends have notes, pictures, and videos that I would want them all to have either at certain life events, or immediately if something happened to me; bills could be paid, arrangements made, and most importantly my best friend would delete my browser history!


All in all, I just feel like I have more bases covered. I realized that while actual life insurance is incredibly important, there are personal things that need to be covered by “emotional life insurance.” I also realized that a last will and testament is very important and will write something on that later along with some thoughts on life insurance for different stages of life.

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