I must get something off my chest: There was a time I saw how much of an asset insurance was. If you said car insurance is an essential, I said, “learn how to drive you idiot”; If you said health insurance was a stress-reliever, I said, “eat a salad fatty”; If you said homeowner’s insurance is a must-have, I said, “Spoiler alert: God already flooded the Earth, your house isn’t going anywhere.” The fact of the matter was I thought insurance was nothing more than a product people bought out of fear for unreasonable circumstances as likely to occur as getting struck by lightning twice (its 1 in 921,600,000,000 in case you’re wondering).
Lord knows I was a naïve kid.
I vividly remember the moment my idiocy on the topic of insurance was flipped on its head: the day after the first major funeral in my lifetime. It was the day after my Dad’s father’s funeral and my family was in a full state of mourning. Tears from my Dad’s eyes fell from to the ground for the first time in my 17 years of existence; My mother was quiet and inactive for days, as if sent to a state of sedation; Even my sister and I were pulled out of school for 3 days- a considerable amount of time for use considering we both had only missed 5 days of school since kindergarten. These were truly the darkest of times, the feeling of self-pity and grief so heavy in the air you could bite into it. It couldn’t get worse than this.
Oh, what I fool I was.
My sister and I were in the living room, gloomy and wishing there was more we could do to comfort my parents. From their room down the hall, one could make out what sounded like a whispery conversation, and, being the curious guy I am, I decided to inconspicuously eavesdrop. Bits and pieces of the conversation were comprehensible: “Tell them…”, “They’ll find out…”, “deserve it…”. Instantly my over imaginative brain started moving like a piston: What could they be talking about? Was the funeral a cover-up for some secret Grandpa had? (He was such a quiet, shifty old man) Did Grandpa have a will and we were included in it? Maybe he had a secret stash of cash hidden in his house? Did Dad or one of the other relatives find it? Maybe it was just Dad and he had planned on keeping it all for himself? I wonder how much it was? I was already budgeting out the money when I heard my Mom scream for me and my sister to come to their room.
I walked into the room, doing my best to look like I wasn’t quite literally around the hall eavesdropping by eating a snickers bar and painting an impartial, completely ignorant look on my face. Secretly, I had already deduced what they were about to tell us. We were rich; I wanted to shout it out and jump in joy at the turn of events. Yet the room was not filled with the ecstatic glee of the inheritance of money, but an intensely foreboding sorrow and misery that only grew on the bad feelings felt. Mom and Dad looked at each other, my Dad looked away from her gaze with shame. She sighed and looked to us.
“I know it’s already been a hard week but I have more news,” she started. “I wanted to you two this for a while but your father demanded I wait for a better time.” She looked at him again and his body noticeably seemed smaller, less stoic than ever. “But now is that time. So, kids, you’re father…”
Just got a massive inheritance, I thought.
“…has cancer,” she finished.
The words were wrecking balls smashing into my eardrums. Cancer? It was a bad dream, a horrible bad dream. A dream that would only get worse.
The effects of the chemo were apparent from the get-go: My Dad’s already balding head had become sleek as ever, the energy of his persona had changed from rays of intense energy to clouds of exasperation. It seemed like the more chemo he received, the less of my Dad remained.
And on top of that, the bills. With every coming week, letters from the hospital came in dropping bombs on the family, each one finding new ways to tack on zeros next to each other. Some numbers were so high when I asked my mother how much, she replied, “Too much.” Frankly, we didn’t have the money to pay all if any of them. I considered helping my Mom with the payments with my own money. I even though about getting a second job to help in hopes maybe my extra $100 or so would be enough to relive her face of the growing anxiety wrinkles growing more and more prominent. But it was obvious: I, nor anyone else in the house had the income to pay for my Dad’s treatment and, for the first time in my life, I imagined a life with only a mother.
Until the savior that is insurance swooped in.
By a sure stroke of pure luck, only 2 weeks earlier, I had become good friends with someone who was mentoring me for a career in insurance sales. He convinced me to get my parents to sit down and talk about the benefit of having health and life insurance and how it could end up saving the day, whether it be with the care needed to beat an illness or, god forbid, the money to support the family after the loss of a parent. At first they declined, saying, with the cost of college and other fees coming up soon, there was no room in the budget for something as trivial as insurance. Still, he pushed it, practically shoving it down their throats. It wasn’t until I told them they should at least look at the pricing simply for the fact of helping me learn the ins-and-outs of how a transaction worked that they finally gave it a shot. Long story short, he showed them a great, affordable deal with great coverage and, after a bit of conferencing and my incessant coaching (whining), they finally decided to buy.
Now, less than a month later, that one simple transaction saved my Dad’s life.
Those couple thousand dollar bills turned into hardly hundred with each day as the insurance handled the bills; The desolate look of a future widow that had become a denizen to my Mom’s face was gone, replaced by the glowing rays of sunshine known as her gleeful smile; My Dad, though obviously suffering from the chemo, slowly grew stronger and stronger as the cancer infesting his body grew weaker and weaker. Finally, the family almost broken by disease was pieced back together by the simple monthly payment for health insurance.
And I owe it all to insurance; As Kevin Durant once said, you sare the real MVP.
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