Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 - The Year of Hard Conversations


Let's talk honestly about Air Force life, shall we?

Last week we had an information night for spouses that I helped organize.  Among many other speakers, we had someone come in and talk about surviver benefits.  So, with my husband sitting beside me, I learned what would happen if he died.  I learned how much money I would receive, I learned how long I could stay in base housing, I learned how long my son and I would have medical coverage.

It was weird.

I've dubbed 2014 "the year of hard conversations" for our family.  Being in the Air Force, they strongly encourage families to plan for difficult situations.  And we've actually talked about death and the future on many occasions.  But we've decided that this year we need to discuss it all in depth, record our decisions and make sure everything is in order from a legal perspective (will, power of attorney, etc).

I am pretty pragmatic about all of this and, thankfully, so is my husband.  We both recognize that at any time either of us could be injured or killed so we want to make sure things are taken care of.  Perhaps this is part of my natural tendency to over-plan everything, but if something were to happen to my husband, I would want a list.  I would want to go to a notebook and remember that we discussed and know exactly what my next steps should be.  Where he should be buried, what he would like at the funeral, where I should move with our son, how I should invest the money.  And I want him to have the same for me.  It just seems too great a burden to bear to have to make those decisions alone in moments of unfathomable grief and mourning.

It's hard, too, to think of the future.  If we were unable to raise our son, who would we trust to do it for us?  If we were to remarry and that person wanted to adopt our son, would we want his last name to change?

I truly hope that I'll never need these contingency plans, but I feel safety in knowing that I could honor my husband by following the decisions that we had made together.

Have you had these conversations with your spouse?  Or do you want to?  I have friends who swear they could never talk about this with their husbands because they can't possibly imagine him dying, but my husband and I both think it's important and we are able to have these discussions fairly calmly, which I appreciate.


2 comments:

  1. It's so important to have that talk. My husband and I did just after we got married (and before he left for his first deployment), and it felt so strange writing that will. I remember we picked guardians for a child we wouldn't have for another three years. We really need to update everything and have another talk now that we actually have a child. This post actually goes hand in hand with my post for tomorrow...

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    Replies
    1. It IS so strange, but, like you said, so important. The man who presented to us about surviver benefits briefly mentioned a few "horror stories" of couples who weren't prepared and it ended up being a huge mess because the surviving spouse didn't get any of the benefits. I guess to me it's a way to make sure our family is taken care of correctly.

      I'm really looking forward to reading your post tomorrow! Even though we have talked about most of this, I could definitely use advice from people who have done it before!

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