And then I hear the ringing of our home telephone. We were not expecting the news we received. All we were doing was discussing the tragedy inflicted on the San Bernardino community over dinner. I remember I had just taken a bite of my barbecue chicken leg when I saw the horrid expression that gradually overtook my mother’s once gleaming face. My 17 year-old cousin had gotten in a car accident and was in critical condition. An endless stream of tears rolled down my mother’s cheeks as she uttered the words “Kimberly is in trouble. We need to go now.” Like soldiers called for command, my siblings and I automatically put our shoes on, grabbed our sweaters and followed my mom to the car. Once in the car, my mother struggled to tell us what was happening and how Kimberly was clinging on to dear life.
I could not believe it. Immediately, I began to remember some of our recent memories. How we had just had a sleepover last weekend at my house. We had snuck the Rocky Road ice-cream tub to my room and watched “Mean Girls” until 2 in the morning. How I had made fun of her when she made my aunt turn back because she forgot her phone at my house. How I had been texting her that same fateful morning asking if she could convince my mom to let me go over her house. And without fully realizing it, I found myself pulling my phone out of my pocket and texting her. All I wanted was her to reply and tell me that she was on a date or taking a quick nap. I gullibly sat there waiting for a reply that would never come.
Hours after arriving at Kaiser and hearing “everything will be okay” on replay, my cousin’s doctor came out and officially confirmed my darkest nightmares. Kimberly Gutierrez was pronounced dead. Chaos broke out.
Weeks after her death, my aunt secured herself and her love ones under life insurance. And so did my mom. After Kimberly’s sudden death, my family and I understood the importance of insurance. I remember the all too many car washes we had to do to obtain only a few hundred dollars for her burial. All the tubs we placed in markets, gas stations and and our schools to ask for simple change gathered only a few dollars. We spent hours raising and begging for our dear neighbors loose change, yet we continued to struggle to make ends meet. We had to push back Kimberly’s funeral two times before we were able to cover all the charges. I remember the frustration that came over us all after our hard work was not enough. How it was never enough. It took time before we understood that we needed to have a backup plan at all times.
I can now understand why insurance, any kind, is important and necessary to ensure that your loved ones do not have to worry about financial times while they are dealing with a loss. After such a traumatic experience, I can conclude that having life insurance is not what some may refer to as “a waste of money.”
Time and time again as my family and I drive through the streets of our neighboring city, we find families who have recently lost a loved one fundraising and holding car washes in hopes of raising enough money to cover the burial services. In the end, no one knows when they are going to die, so it is best that they prepare and have life insurance.
I hope that I, nor my family, will have to experience another death in the family any time soon, but I can be certain that we will not have to break our heads finding ways to pay for the bills. We will have time to ache for our loved one and not for the worry of making ends meet.
Life insurance does not only help relieve families of burial services, but of finding an immediate income replacement. In my situation, my cousin did not have any dependents, but for many who die suddenly, they do. The dependents of these deceased are faced with having to fend for themselves in time of sorrow and agony. Being protected under life insurance can help these dependents live in a semi-stable environment after such a sudden loss.
I understand that life insurance is more than an investment, but also a future financial relief for your loved ones. I understand the importance of being covered and protected financially. I understand that life insurance can have a large impact in dark moments. I have learned and understood through personal loss, that life insurance is one last way that you could use to help your family.
I thank my deceased cousin for her guidance and lessons that have and are still shaping me today.
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