The Back-Up Plan in Times of Tragedy
When Bruce Felier was diagnosed with bone cancer, his thoughts immediately turned to his young daughters. They had a mother but who would step in to the father figure role? He came up with theidea of a Council of Dads, asking six of his friends each to fill a certain role in his daughters’ lives.
Bruce Feiler got the opportunity to minutely plan who would be the male role models in his daughters lives after his death. But the death didn’t happen, and Feiler was left with an artificial leg but also a strong idea of who he wanted to surround his daughters should he indeed die. One of the best things that happened, he said, was that these men also reached out to his daughters while he was ill, building a supportive network that continues to enrich all their lives. He said that telling his friends how he felt about them resulted in much closer bonds kind of like being “friend-married”. (He also got a book contract, but I digress)
It is a lovely story and spurs one to think about what would I do in that situation? Who in my life could be an inspiration to my kids? Who could be a role model? Who could be the memory keeper? Who would act as a mother, when there was none.
And these are sad, poignant questions to ask. But here are the important ones: Do you have a will? Have you decided guardianship questions? Do you and your partner have life insurance?
The answers to these questions will lay the groundwork of your child’s life if anything happens to you and/or your partner. Without these important documents, the next questions about who fills in the colour of your children’s lives have no value.
So don’t be maudlin about your passing, get active and make sure your papers are all in order.
Thanks to my husband, our wills and insurance are all up-to-date. Our views on guardianship and executor and where the money goes have all been answered. We know that my sister and her husband would be wonderful and caring guardians, if anything happened to us.
And I know that I don’t even have to ask my sister or my best friend to be the memory keepers, and the role models for our kids. I couldn’t ask for two better people to be involved with my kids lives should anything terrible ever happen to me.
And this is going to sound morbid but I have also given my husband an OK to marry again. He needs to be married and as much as the second wife would, obviously, be in my shadow, I would want him to have a fresh start and be happy. And since he picked me, I think I can depend on him to do well the second time around. But of course, there won’t be a second time (knock on wood, fingers crossed, etc etc etc).
It is difficult to ask these hard questions but just as Feiler found out, asking them may make you a better parent and may clarify who in your life is important to you and your family.