That’s a dumb question, when asked in the context from which I am speaking. None of us are ever ready to lose a spouse to the finality of death. I say finality because for the duration of our finite time on earth, that level of companionship is gone. Your marriage partner is a linked to you in spirit, but physically, he or she is no longer present in your daily life.
Are you prepared for the challenges you will face as a once married person who is suddenly widowed?
I knew the day my husband signed consent for his open heart surgery that it was high risk, yet his only option. Still, I was not prepared for the stark reality that as I held his hand and kissed him, asking for God’s will to be done and placing him in the competent hands of the surgical team,it would be our last moment together in this world.
The funeral is over and a million tears have flowed with a few million more waiting to be shed. Cards of thanks have been sent. Phone calls, texts, and emails from friends and family are not as frequent.
Shortly after my husband’s death, a friend’s husband passed away. Our situations were very different, and I’d like to share some of the basic and very practical things we wish we had known.
Are you entitled to survivor benefits of any kind, whether through your spouse’s military service, former employment, social security, life insurance?
Do you know who to contact to acquire these benefits?
Do you know where any required paperwork is located in order to claim these benefits?
Do you know what bills need to be paid, how they are paid (direct withdrawal, by check, cash), how to write a check, what bank accounts your spouse had?
Is property in both of your names? This includes not only a dwelling, but such items as vehicles and firearms
Are credit cards and utility, telephone, television, etc, accounts in your spouse’s name?
Do you know where keys are located for all areas of your home, including garage, outbuildings, cellar or crawl space, attic, vehicles?
Do you know how often filters should be changed in air conditioning/heating units and how to accomplish this?
Do you know how and where to shut off the water in an emergency?
Do you know where a fuse box or other electrical hub is located in your home?
Do you know where basic tools are located – hammer, nails, screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead of various sizes), wrenches, and pliers?
Do you know how to turn on and control the oven, stove, thermostat, vacuum cleaner?
Do you know how often the oven and washing machine and any other major appliances should be cleaned?
Do you know where to take your vehicle for maintenance?
Do you know who to call for plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, hot water heater, water softener, etc malfunctions?
Do you know how to reach medical providers, including those for dental and vision care?
These are only a few of the questions that have come up for my friend and I since our husbands’ passing. They may seem basic and simple, but when you are faced with them and don’t have the answers, they can seem monumental.
I was fortunate to be very knowledgeable in some of these areas, my friend not so much, and vice versa.
The emotional impact of losing your life partner is devastating and only God can predict when it is going to happen to each of us. Be ready and learn about the tasks he or she carries out on a routine basis and how to take over before it becomes a necessity.
Note: I would like to express my thanks to Cherie and the Putting on the New community for your condolences during this difficult time of grief and loss. Thank you for your prayers and your patience with my break from blogging! Bless you all!