In 2006, my father passed away after a six-month battle with cancer that left us feeling like we had just gone twelve rounds in an emotional boxing ring. I was seven years old at the time and had no clue what his death meant for our future. Five years before any of that happened, my parents were blissfully ignorant of what was ahead and bought a house. They found an acre of land in Thonotosassa, Florida and decided to build a house for our family. We spent hours working together on the house. We would spend time picking up trash and helping our parents as they worked to finish our new home. Those were great times.
Once the house was built we moved in and got comfortable. For me this was the first time I had lived in a house and it was amazing to be able to live in such a nice one right off the bat. My dad soon decided that the house needed a pool to go with it to make it more like the house he envisioned when they were first building. My parents looked through the prices and decided that an in-ground pool would be way too expensive, and that an above ground pool wouldn’t look all that great, so they decided to put the pool halfway in the ground and build a deck around it. Some of my best memories are of times we spent eating dinner on the deck maniacally laughing at my dad as he pretended to fall into the pool.
I love to remember the times when my dad, who was the bread winner for our family, would come home from work and sit on the couch with me and my brother. I could always tell if he was going stay at home when he let my brother mess up his hair, which he meticulously crafted every morning, or if he let me untie his shoes. Moments like that bonded us as a family and started the process of our new house becoming a real home.
After several year in our new home, my mother told us that we were going to have another brother. That was a game changer for my brother and me because up until that point we had been the center of our parent’s attention and didn’t have to share with anyone. After the baby was born we realized that it wasn’t so bad and began to settle into a routine of normalcy.
This normalcy was shattered when the doctors made their diagnosis. Our world was falling apart at the seams. No longer would my dad come home from work and be able to play with us for hours. Now he had to go to the hospital after work if he even got to go to work. Everything quickly began to change in my life. When my dad did come home he had to rest and take extreme caution with everything he did. The pool soon became unused and a reminder of much better times. With my dad being so sick, my mom had to spend a good chunk of time at the hospital with him, so me and my brothers spent a lot of time at relatives’ houses. We were ignorant to the extent of the sickness that made its home in my father’s body so we saw the trips to family members’ houses as fun detours. The times when my dad would come home and sit on the couch and let us mess up his hair were no more, because the chemotherapy the doctors were trying to use to cure him, had made him lose all his hair. Eventually the time came when my dad’s body could no longer take the abuse the cancer was inflicting on him. He passed away on October 6, 2006. This stopped my family’s world. Everything we had known had changed or was about to change. I was worried that we would have to move out of the house that I had spent most of my life in because we wouldn’t be able to afford it. However, I didn’t know it at the time but the life insurance from my father allowed us to keep our home. The one constant in my ever-changing world was my house. Insurance allowed us to keep our house when everything else in our life was changing. It allowed my mom to keep the house while she hunted for a job.
As I look back on those difficult years, I have comfort in great family memories. Memories that centered around a loving family in an awesome home. Today, because of the life insurance my dad had the wisdom to purchase, I can stand on that same deck and relive the special times I had with my dad. I can look out the window of our home and see trees and flowers we planted together. We can celebrate birthdays and holidays in a familiar setting. The choice my dad made to invest in life insurance changed the way my life progressed by allowing me to stay in a stable, familiar environment and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams.
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