I was born in February so my birthday parties always incorporated hearts. A red heart cake, pink confetti hearts, heart-shaped balloons. My family has heart problems. Weak ones as it turns out.
- My dad died from his second heart attack—four days after his 47th birthday.
- My mom happily survived her second heart attack this summer.
- My paternal grandfather died of a heart attack.
- Six paternal great-uncles had heart attacks.
- Both my paternal uncles had heart attacks.
That is a lot of weak hearts. I pretty much know what health crisis I may be looking forward to in the future.
Even though both of my parents had physical problems with their hearts, they both had an everlasting capacity for loving and protecting their children. Both of my parents had created their will, healthcare documents, and powers of attorney.
If your family has never experienced a gut-wrenching sudden loss, or a terrifying health care crisis complete with a life flight, multiple trauma teams, and 21 days in the intensive care unit, you might not understand how deeply my sister and I appreciated these gifts.
These documents kept us out of court in a time of extreme chaos and high emotional stress. My dad left me personal mementos- items I still treasure- such as his baseball jacket, citation patches from his years in law enforcement, and a framed picture of him in his ball cap blowing a big huge bubblegum bubble. Not much, but everything at the same time.
The number one excuse I hear from people who think they do not need to create an estate plan is: “I don’t have much.” My reply is always the same, “You have a family and they are priceless.”
Estate planning documents are not for you. They are for your loved ones. Neither one of my parents owned much, but they both had very large hearts. In the end, it didn’t matter their hearts were weak. It was how they showed my sister and I they loved us while they were alive and well that mattered.
Will your heart be everlasting for your family?