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- The tragic death of my husband at the age of 37 crushed me.
- We didn’t have a will, but we both had life insurance. Those checks were a safety net when I needed it.
- I used his life insurance money to buy myself a house and rebuild my life.
My husband and I only talked about what would happen if one of us died a couple of times. One such occasion was when we were reviewing and comparing her employer’s and my life insurance plans. Then, there was a conversation If One of us died, no when.
It came out when It was a sunny day in June 2017.
My husband, Remy, died suddenly a few weeks after his 37th birthday, leaving me a completely devastated widow at 31 years old.
Remy and I were always a great team. We had an extraordinary life together in our short 11 years, navigating international moves, immigrating to Europe, and supporting each other through many career changes.
We bonded over our love of planning and making plans. And yet, we didn’t have a plan for this, worst case scenario. When he died, there was no will. But there was life insurance.
2 Life insurance checks were my safety net
In the nightmarish haze of those first weeks after my husband’s death, among the never-ending administrative tasks and paperwork, he and I both had conversations with life insurance providers.
I will always be grateful for the work you do behind the scenes to ensure our employers are paid on time. Within the first month, I received two checks from the insurance company, one in the amount of my husband’s full year’s salary and another through my own insurance plan, to help cover funeral expenses.
The first check immediately went into a savings account we had set aside for the down payment for our first home, which we were slowly, but steadily, contributing to over time. The second check helped me through the first six months as I adjusted my expenses and lifestyle to suit my new single income, with our family’s top earner now gone.
To speak only of the logistics of losing my spouse—and not the utter devastation I experienced when I lost the love of my life—surprisingly, it could have been worse. And, it would have been worse, if our living conditions had been the same as they were two short years ago.
In 2013, Remi and I were forced to leave the beautiful life we had worked so hard for for over six years in Switzerland. When we reapplied that year, as we do every year, our visas were unceremoniously denied, and we quickly and painfully packed up our lives, returning to our home in Canada, bruised, shocked and unemployed.
If my husband had died while we were living in Switzerland, I would have been without a support system, left alone to navigate the complex health care system in my third language, and possibly left with a huge hospital bill for life saved. efforts. Any life insurance there may have gone to pay the hospital bills, send his body back to Canada and fund my transfer. It would be bad.
If Remy had died three years earlier, shortly after we returned to Canada, when he was looking for a job and getting back on his feet, and I was still working as a freelance dancer, the situation would have been just as sad. There would be no life insurance, no steady income, no financial safety net.
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I have used the money to help rebuild my life
I’m not looking for a silver lining when I consider the many ways it could be worse. There is none. The worst happened. But there are saving graces. Life insurance was one such saving grace.
Over the years, the savings account earmarked for a down payment on a home grew, and in 2020 I put life insurance and our previous savings toward buying my first home.
Ever since my husband died, I have been taking small but important steps to build a new life. Leaving city life behind to buy my first home was more of a giant leap than a small step. I now live in a safety net made possible by my husband’s hard work, determination and tragic death. I live in the house that used to be ours. This is our home.
I benefited from life insurance when I needed it the most. Now, as a small business owner, I no longer have life insurance. I can purchase a policy as a self-employed person, but I don’t have any dependents, so it’s not high on my list of priorities. As I work to rebuild my life from the wreckage of the loss, I hope to have children one day, and will prioritize purchasing life insurance when the time comes, so that if the worst happens again, at least there will be savings. Grace as a safety net.