Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Hundred Grand!

$100,000....One hundred grand....wouldn't it be nice to go out to your mail box and open an envelope with a check for $100,000 (with no disclaimers of having to sit through a presentation on a time share or bring in a key to see if you're the lucky winner!)

Yesterday, I posted the question on my Eisenberger Insurance Agency Facebook page, "What would you do if I gave you $100,000?" LOVED the off the mortgage, take a vacation, donate to a worthy cause, support your child's education, take another can do so much with $100,000.

Danielle Cole - You're the winner of the $25 Meijer Gift Card!!!

Yet, what if I gave that money to your family after you passed away? Stick with me here.....death isn't fun, but it's real and always better to be prepared than would you change your answers?  Some of you may not change anything - the hundred grand could pay off debt so the family doesn't have to worry about it, or be put towards college educations for children. Others may say, well that's not enough if they don't have my income as well.

Whatever your answer, the point is.....if you were told today you have a terminal illness would your family be prepared? If you stopped at the same stop sign you've stopped at everyday since you started driving, but didn't see the car coming when you pulled out, would your family be prepared?

As I sorted through photos of my Aunt Casee to help make her slide show, I smiled when I saw photos of her at age 10 with big orange curly hair, "stylish" sunglasses and her huge smile as she posed for the camera. She didn't know then at a week shy of her 41st birthday, she'd leave behind two boys and a husband. I remember one photo she looked miserable...she was pregnant at Wyatt's birthday and just ready to have what I thought was a watermelon, later it would become Rayce....but she was at the point where she didn't care how it happened, she just wanted him out. (Mommas will understand what I mean here :)!) I still smile though, because what an awesome time in her life....the new little person that would be brought into this world for her to love. She didn't know she'd never see him graduate or marry. 

Now, I don't know if Casee had life insurance or how much, though I'm sure she was prepared with all the means possible to give her two boys the most amazing life, even if she couldn't be there to watch them herself. And wouldn't you? If you couldn't walk your daughter down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams, wouldn't you want her to buy the most beautiful dress possible. If you couldn't be there to watch your son graduate, wouldn't you want to have left behind enough so he could go to college without stressing about how he was going to pay?

Maybe you're not married or don't have kids....but are you healthy? Isn't that something worth insuring too?
I read somewhere how good health provides you with freedoms you take for granted until your good health has turned poor. When you're healthy and young, getting sick and preparing for death is the absolute last thing on your mind. You'd rather spend time and money on fun things to do with the people you love. You're also busy just keeping up with day to day decisions and tasks....but once you're told you have a terminal illness, it's too late. Which is ironic, because we all know we're going to die - it's a fact of the question isn't are you going to die? It's...when and will you be prepared?

I'm working on a series of blog posts to help us all work through life insurance and be prepared no matter what happens tomorrow. My husband and I have various life insurance policies (you can read about how we decided on what coverage to have here). We are also in the process of finishing up our wills, my friend has shared with me her "If I Die" document - all that important information someone needs to know,  and I've started thinking about what I want my funeral to look like.

Death is too real to me at the moment. When your world is rocked and you realize you're not immortal (pretty close to perfect, but not immortal LOL!), you start looking at what's important - showing and sharing love to your family, providing them safety and necessities, setting them up for the best possible future no matter what happens along their journey.....

I hope you follow the posts, comment, start discussion, add your thoughts and insights - it's how we learn, how we grow and how we heal....thank you for letting me use this blog to heal....

Post production note :) --- I was having a hard time Monday night, everything kinda just came down on my was the first time I could actually just let go and grieve.... I sent my cousins a text, "Anyone else wish you could text up to heaven?" My cousin Matthew responded saying she motivates him to keep studying for his HUGE dentist exam. He then sent me a text later saying, "You know as soon as I sent you the text "My Wish" came on the radio (the song played with her slide show at the funeral) and then as soon as I got out of the car I saw Dylan at the library (one of our other cousins). She's for sure looking out for us." I responded "If a margarita machine shows up at my front door I'm gonna freak :)!)"  Margarita machines welcome :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What A Beautiful Day

Several years ago, my dad and I were driving through Shepherd on a dark, dreary day. There was a funeral in progress, I turned to my dad and said "Crappy day for a funeral." Without missing a beat he said...."well not too sure there is ever a good day for a funeral." Point taken :)....

Yet, on Sunday, July 8th it was a beautiful day....a tealish, blue sky was filled with white comfy clouds...the sun was bright but at times hidden and a slight breeze made the summer heat warm but bearable. It was the best day I would ever hope for to celebrate my amazing Aunt Casee...the day she passed away.

I said in my last post, that on Sundays the entire family would come over and have dinner at Grandpa and Grandma' was just what we did. My grandparents would get up early and fix amazing food....and if you didn't eat Grandpa would ask you if you were sick because there was just something wrong about not eating two helpings of his homemade noodles, baked beans and freezer corn. And thankfully, we weren't to the point of running the roads to practices or games, because our bellies were so full we wouldn't have been very productive. Sunday's were days to just be with each other, reconnect and focus for the week ahead.

How fitting for our family - a Sunday - of all days....a Sunday where the entire family was at Grandpa and Grandmas with no place to run off to, but to just be with each other, reconnect and focus for the week ahead. This Sunday though, not much was said, not much needed to be....

And as we watched the food start filling the refrigerator and counter area, our family started to see how many other people also share their love through food. :) ... At one point, my Uncle Tim and I laughed because we were asked about five or six times if we had ate anything for lunch - at about the eighth time, I looked at him and told him - "please just eat a damn sandwich" :)...but so many took time out of their busy lives to pick up food, water, paper products, munchies and then did it again for the funeral dinner...

And on Wednesday, July 11th it was a beautiful day....a tealish, blue sky was filled with white comfy clouds...the sun was bright but at times hidden and a slight breeze made the summer heat warm but bearable. It was the best day I would ever hope for to celebrate my amazing Aunt Casee...the day we said our final good byes.

A week ago, I wrote a blog after we found out she had two weeks to a month to was a blog from my heart, a blog many would I would read at her funeral, one I'll carry with me to read over and over again....I honestly don't know if Casee ever read it or had it read to her - I couldn't do it myself, but I know she knows how I feel about her.

And now I know how so many others feel about her. I still haven't been able to make it through all her friends' Facebook posts on her wall because I just start crying. Listening to the stories bounce off the walls at the funeral home and while sorting photos for her slide show - oh so much laughter, so many memories to write down and have forever.

Yet, I feel like the funeral was the easy part - we were able to laugh and cry and be together with so many for four days straight...but what about now? When we go back to work, head to the grocery store, sit at a baseball game, celebrate her birthday this Sunday, the list goes on....I feel like there are a lot of dark and dreary days ahead....

But then my five year old Gunner gives me a fresh perspective...After trying to figure out how to tell him what was happening, I told him the truth, that Aunt Casee had died and she was going to meet God....his eyes got so big and he had a huge smile come across his face. Without missing a beat he said "That is so cool Mom."....... It took all I had at that moment to hold back tears and just give him a big hug while saying... "Yeah, buddy it is."  Point taken.

I'm going to miss you so much - Sending you my love.
A balloon send off on a beautiful day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Aunt...

One of my favorite photos :)
My aunt has two weeks to live….at best a month…If my Aunt Casee was 89 and had watched her third grader and seventh grader develop into successful, loving men with lives a mother could be proud of then it makes the next month a little easier. Yet, Casee is only ten years older than me and at 40 it seems to be cut way too short.
She has battled cancer….not just battled but kicked it’s ass time and time again….she’s done it because of her will power and some would say her stubbornness….but cancer seems to never back down….it’s hid for a while, making life manageable and at times close to normal, but the last six months it’s come back to a point that draws her earthly presence to a close.
Ms. Josie and her momma...a fine companion.
As the favorite niece (she would chime in here…”Honey, for 29 years you were the only niece so I didn’t have many options.”) and not being that much older than me….Aunt Casee serves as the go-between …..She is the adult, young and cool enough, whom I needed to help explain my mother’s good intentions. I think I speak for my cousins and brother on this…you can always call her, text her, instant message her, email her, or stop in and just chat with her for a good conversation and discussion about important life decisions without feeling parented, but accepted and loved just as much as our parents do. You have no idea how much I'm going to miss that. 
The annual Christmas family photos
will never look the same.
She also was the aunt at every baseball game. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, hundreds of miles away or out the backdoor of Grandpa Bums she had her lawn chair, pop and respective school shirt on. She knew every kid on every team, she cheered them on, laughed with parents, high fived coaches and joked with umps. She was the smile you needed after a bad play or the loudest cheer you heard after one of the boys struck someone out. Talk about having a number one fan…she was it and then some. And no matter what happens within our family regarding baseball whether there will be a major league game in our future or while her boys play catch outside Grandpa Bum’s backyard  – I know she’ll have the best seat in the house.

Now, most people know how close our family is…to a point a little scary J…but growing up, we’d spend Sunday afternoons having dinner at Grandpa Bum’s house. Casee still lived at home when I was little. She’d come downstairs, just rolling out of bed at noon to have lunch and be teased by the uncles about the previous night’s festivities. I also remember going with my mom to take pictures of her at her senior prom, watching her in the band, talking about boyfriends and even once bringing a boy to Christmas…poor guy never stood a chance J See it takes something special to make it in our family – you either need to be able to give it right back when crap is given to you or loud enough so people will hear you. You stand the best chance if you’re both– it seems we all have pretty loud voices and are a tad sarcastic with an odd humor. But together, we get each other. Our family calendar this year has the slogan. “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”
We often tease each other about having friends that aren’t family…”You what? You’re going shopping with someone you’re not related to? Are you okay??” – see a tad sarcastic and oddly humorous J Yet, thanks to Facebook – we, as a family, can see how blessed Casee’s life and journey has been with the many hundreds of Facebook messages and posts and how much impact she’s had on so many friends inside and outside our family.

Casee with Uncle Trent and Wyatt
during the Cancer Survivor Walk

And as we celebrate Casee, please continue to pray for her that the next two weeks or however long she has is peaceful and filled with love. Pray for her two boys Wyatt and Rayce who will need reminders throughout their life that God never makes life fair, He just makes it worth it so I pray they always find peace, love and kindness and that they show others how to do the same just as their Mommy did. And pray for my Uncle Tim as he moves forward to be the mom and dad of these two little guys. Give him the strength and patience of two people and show him the love he needs through this all. Also say prayers for my family – my Grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my mom and dad and all my cousins and my brother…. this is the first loss we’ve had within our immediate Loomis family and just thinking about not having someone there seems so foreign….I’ll miss her Hamburger Helper dish to pass and not being able to draw her name for Christmas gifts or sharing the latest gossip… I’m just gonna miss her so much.
At times like this I hear people say, "don’t let this test your faith or this really makes one question their relationship with God"….well that’s far from the truth. The reality is we all die, death does not test faith – it just provides us with another reason to grow and trust in God. The crappy part about being human though, is that God doesn’t usually tell us when our time to join Him is coming.  And there could be discussion on if you’d really want God to tell you or not.
For some, like Casee, He’s shown a little peak of His timeline and we all know it’s close….and what an amazing opportunity for so many to celebrate the awesome aunt, mom, sister, daughter, cousin, wife, friend that she is, while she’s still here and can read Facebook posts and texts, while she can see you at the lake and hold your hand, while she can watch her sons run around and smile knowing they will be surrounded not only by God’s hands, but by a whole community who will see to it that as she looks down, sitting next to God’s side, she can watch them grow and develop into successful, loving men with lives a mother will always be proud of.

A family photo to cherish forever.