Back in 1987 when my grandfather was around 45 years old, something odd happened. Before he set off for work one morning, he felt a splitting headache. He started throwing up and then he passed out cold. His health, up until that day, was perfect. There were not any signs to predict this out of the blue attack. Thankfully, it happened in front of someone who loves and cares about him the most, my grandmother. She immediately called an ambulance. When they arrived at the hospital, he was rushed into emergency surgery because a benign brain tumor was found in the middle of his brain. It was too deep for a surgeon to safely cut it out but it managed to grow to a size big enough to block blood flow from his heart to his brain. It was said that the tumor grew very quickly. The doctor was able to use a tube to bring blood up to his brain by inserting one end of the tube into his brain and the other end into his chest. They quickly decided to try radiation to shrink the tumor. As the tumor shrunk, my family became even more worrisome because he wasn’t acting as he used to. The way he was expressing himself seemed to be as if he had a child’s brain. He was struggling to speak. His mouth would open and move, yet no words came out.
A family meeting was called to discuss my grandfather’s health. My aunt Mia, her husband, my uncle Dave, my grandmother, and of course, my mother and father all gathered at my grandparent’s home. They agreed it was time to obtain life insurance for my grandfather. At that moment, he was in the hospital for a long time and the medical bills kept tallying up. On top of that, it was predicted that he would eventually have to be put into a nursing home for constant medical attention. The fear for my grandmother’s financial state was pliable and not to mention her mental state if he were to pass away. After signing up for the best fitting insurance plan for her, the monthly cost was divided up three ways. My aunt and her husband had one share, my uncle Dave another, and my parents had the last.
When he was able to leave the hospital, he went back home to live with his family. His wife took constant care of his medical needs as best she could. He continued to spend 15 years at his home under his family’s care. Life was a struggle back then and money was tight. He couldn’t work and neither did my grandmother because she never wanted to leave him alone. In 2002, the worst case scenario happened. My grandmother got breast cancer. It changed everything for her. She has always been the type to put others in front of her but that was very hard to do as she was going through chemo. The family pitched in all their time to help in any way possible. Everyone came to the decision that they needed professional help. Although the workers in the nursing home would always check on him, they couldn’t achieve the amount of time my grandmother and the rest of my family spent with him. She went to him every second that she could. Before and after her chemo appointments, she would check on him to see if he needed anything and confirm he was okay. Even with the softest foods, he was having trouble moving his jaw and chewing. He needed extra care just to eat properly. On several occasions, he began chocking and was rushed to the emergency room due to his inability to properly swallow.
My earliest memory of my grandfather was seeing him in a bed at the nursing home. I do not remember much, only peering around the curtain and seeing him asleep. I was only five at the time and I had no idea what was going on even though my mom tried her best to explain. He spent 19 years suffering and two and a half years at the nursing home before he passed away. Insurance is important to me because it saved my family a tremendous amount of money and stress. Without it, my grandmother would have had more on her shoulders than she could handle. She also had more options to honor his life because of the insurance. One lesson I learned is that it is never too early to prepare. Anything can happen at any moment. I’m grateful that my family shared this story with me because it inspired me to start saving early and look into difference insurance plans.
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