I have a best friend that has the same name as me. She parents almost exactly like me, even has her kids on nearly the same diet as mine. We shopped for maternity clothes together and when it came time to have our sons baptized, she stood in front of the church and led the congregation in prayer over my son and then I did the same for hers. I spent last Christmas with her side of the family and Halloween with her husband’s side. I feel more a part of their extended families than I have ever felt with my own family. Our schedules are different, our lives are hectic, I don’t see her as often as I would like, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about her. I trust her with my life and above that, I trust her with my children’s lives.
There are no two things more certain about me than the fact that I love my children and that I trust almost no one.
Last week I finalized my will and in the event of my death I left her the custody of my children.
Just weeks after my ex left, she came to me and I will never forget what she said. She said “Eden, I know this is weird and I don’t want to put you in a strange position and if you want to say no I will completely understand and this won’t change anything between us (she was rambling), but I wanted you to know that XXX (her husband) and I have been praying about this, we have talked to both of our families, and I want you to know, and you can say no and I won’t be offended, but if anything were to happen to you we would love to take your children.”
It was so awkward that I made some sort of joke about the fact that I have cute children and if I said “yes” was she going to kill me?
We both awkwardly laughed and she continued on to tell me that her family loves me, her husband’s family loves me, and that they not only understand that they would be taking on the care of my children, but that there might first be a court battle between them and my family to even be granted those rights.
“Eden you have so much too worry about" she said. "We just want you to know that you never have to worry about them not being cared for. We know it would be a process but our families would help and Eden, we love you and we love them enough to fight for them.”
Wow, just WOW.
It was if the entire weight of an impending tragedy had been lifted off my shoulders. I said yes of course, a yes that was as easy as blinking, for I know, with all my heart and more, that she will do right by them.
Yet it’s been two years and I just now got around to finalizing my will.
I’m a planner. I’m organized to a fault, I plan everything in advance, and procrastination is not even in my vocabulary, but thinking about not being here for my kids, ugh I’m starting to cry even as I type this.
I had a will done soon after I said “yes” to my friend, but it had a few flaws that would have made its legal standing in court open for debate, but because it hurt so much to think about not being here I just never had it fixed. Because of some recent things that have been going on with my ex, I have felt an extra push to get my affairs in order lately.
Last week I went to Mr. Attorney Man’s office and in a meeting that took less than five minutes, his boss jokingly and at the same time very seriously asked me if I was of sound mind, if I was under the influence of any mind altering drugs, and then myself, Mr. Attorney Man, Mr. Attorney Man’s Boss, and a paralegal finalized the future of my children in the event of my death.
It felt so weird.
It felt like getting engaged with a touch of tragedy.
It felt like getting engaged with a touch of tragedy.
I was choking back tears but no one noticed (thankfully) as Mr. Attorney Man hurried around making copies. His boss made jokes about the bad weather outside and said that if I got struck by lightning when I left his office (the laws of irony), to make sure that I rolled my charred body into the neighboring parking lot and off his property before I took my last breath.
I took my copies, hurried off to a meeting, mailed a copy off to my friend when I got home, and the next day I stuck a copy in my safety deposit box.
I signed my children over to someone else in the event that I am no longer here.
I hope that moment never comes, I pray to God it doesn’t, but if my time comes, there is no amount of rebellion and resistance on my part that will change the fact that my children are going to need someone to take care of them.
My friend is thinking about that as well, the me not being here part.
I know this to be trued because last night she called me and said that her and her husband were reconfiguring their future financial plan and asked about my life insurance. "Husband and I have been planning for our financial future and I know you don't have a lot of money, but do you have life insurance? If not that's totally fine, but we would like to take out a policy on you in case we were providing for your children, we would want them to be well taken care of."
I assured her that I do have life insurance and thanked God that her and her husband are not taking this commitment lightly. They truly are making plans for a future with my children without me, and as much as it hurts to think about, I know that they will be well taken care of.
In life we tend to avoid things that are too painful to think about and the irony of the situation is that many of the situations we avoid thinking about are the most are life altering.
It’s the doctor appointment you never make because you don’t know if you can handle the bad news and then find out you have stage four cancer because you waited to long. It’s the person you want to reconcile with, but don’t know how to go about it so you just avoid it completely, and then they die. It’s the habit you want to quit, but it seems so hard that you just ignore the potential outcomes of that habit. You never make the change, because you don’t let yourself think about what might happen if you don’t.
It’s the will you never write, because you don’t want to think about not being here.
The thing is, in life things are going to happen whether we acknowledge them or not; just because we refuse to acknowledge them doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to happen. I very well could die. My ex could kill me or I could be an occupant in a tragic car accident, it really could happen. Not wanting to think about it doesn’t change the fact that it might and very well could happen.
It’s like several smokers that I know. I won’t say all of them because I can’t speak for everyone, but for at least these few, they want to quit. They want to quit but they can’t imagine dealing with it on top of everything else going on in their lives so they smoke day after day and just choose to not to think about the fact that it very much could kill them.
I see it in the other single moms I know. Most don’t have wills and most don’t want to think about it because they can’t imagine not being here for their kids. They don’t want to imagine it.
The same discomforts cause people to avoid dealing with their finances or making a necessary change in their diets. They simply ignore things and hope they go away.
We all, in every realm of life, in every corner of the world, want to avoid discomfort. Why wouldn’t we?
Acknowledgement of uncomfortable things is hard. Dealing with them, it’s hard, but you know what? Life doesn’t care. Sickness doesn’t care, tragedy doesn’t care, and death doesn’t care.
If none of those things care about us and at the same time we choose not to acknowledge something that has no vested interest in us, we are willingly allowing destruction to choose for us by choosing temporary comfort over our lasting desires.
We are trading the future for the moment.
If the potential outcome of a situation is so scary that we want to avoid thinking about it, doesn’t it make sense that we should put a little effort into preparing to avoid that situation or at least limit the fallout? Yet day after day many of us go around not thinking about our health, our finances, our last wishes, etc because it is so scary to think of the uncomfortable potential outcomes, that we just refuse to acknowledge the future of that situation at all.
Does that make sense to anyone?
Choosing to avoid an uncomfortable situation doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to not have to engage in the situation, it just means that we are allowing the situation to choose the end result for us.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed, the only thing you have for certain is this moment right now. What you do with this moment will determine your future.
If you don’t want to willingly walk right into the exact thing that you fear, then it’s up to you to use the moments you have to determine your future.
Right at this very second you are living one of those moments.