Beneficiary

All it took was one text. 
One little text for my heart to do flipflops, 
and to feel nauseous. 
Anxiety, panic, and fear set in. 
All the voices from grief's terror chamber,
emerged. 

Earlier this morning ... 
"Hey Baby. I need your SS# so I can make you
my Emergency Contact, and make you the beneficiery
for life insurance, etc." 

My boyfriend of 15 months, my love, 
just started a new, full time job. 
I was going about my day, and he sent me that text. 
All the emotions flooded out. 
Every chaotic and paranoid thought
spun around inside me. 
The grief triggers came. 

Seven years later,
they still come. 
They come in unexpected places,
in unexpected ways. 
But they come. 

My body started to shake and I had to sit down,
trying to quiet the migraine and the hammering,
that my head was feeling. 
Pounding, pounding, pounding... 

Emergency Contact. 
After Don's death, for so long,
having nobody to call my emergency contact,
on those forms,
was so very painful and smacking of harsh reality. 
I am alone. 
I will die alone. 
They wont have anyone to call when I die. 
No husband. No kids. No anyone. 

Emergency Contact. 
The person who is supposed to be reached immediately,
should a true emergency arise,
such as someone of 46 yrs and healthy collapsing on a hard floor
of a PetSmart, as they are helping cats and dogs. 
But when you are 46 and healthy, 
and have no reason to think you might collapse and die, 
you keep your Emergency Contact card in your tennis bag, 
instead of in your wallet. 

My husband played some tennis with our neighbor,
the day before he died. 
It was 95 degrees outside. 
He usually moved his contact card from his wallet into his tennis bag,
just in case anything ever happened,
while playing sports or working out. 
He forgot to put it back into his wallet,
and so when he collapsed on that Wednesday in July, 
nobody knew to call me. 
His supervisors didnt know my contact info. 
And so, by the time I was reached, 
he was already dead. 
Those Emergency cards dont always work out the way you think they will. 

Beneficiery. 
The word makes me feel lots of things. 
All at once. 
I feel honored and happy that my guy is already thinking of us, 
in terms of "us." 
I feel great and secure and confirmed in his love for me,
that his instinct is to protect me. To look out for me. 
Then the terror comes. 
The harsh reality that he will die. 
Or I will die. 
Someone will die first,
and this horror will be lived all over again. 
Having a beneficiery means that death is coming. 
And we are preparing for it. 

Beneficiery. 
In my short time with Don,
this word didnt exist. 
We had no life insurance. 
We had no prepared anything. 
We were both equally blindsided by his death. 
I am reminded,
smacked in the face,
by this word, 
of how unfair it is that Don couldn't provide that for me. 
That , because he didnt know anything was wrong with him,
he didnt prepare. To think about him maybe knowing how much
I have struggled - after his death - it hurts me. Because it would hurt him 
so very much, knowing that he couldnt or didnt provide for me. 

Life insurance. Beneficiery. 
All these words, 
these prep words,
that come before death. 
They make me sad.
Sad, because more things like this will happen,
with my love and me. 
Things that we will experience,
that Don and I never got to do. 
It feels so unfair, that he never got there. 
Things like buying a house or looking for a place to live together. 
Living and realizing our dreams and passions together. 
These are things we are doing and will do, eventually. 
If life allows. 
And while I am insanely giddy with joy at the thought of
looking forward to my own future again, 
I feel sad and a bit guilty and filled with sorrow,
that I was robbed of these things with Don. 
That life I never lived - 
it will always feel unfinished. 
It will always feel like it was snatched away. 
I love what I am creating in my life today. 
AND - 
I grieve for the life that never was.

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