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Contingency Plan

July 1, 2007

There aren’t very many topics my husband and I don’t discuss. Intensely personal or intentionally broad, we have worked our way through a gadzillion of them.

One of those topics is the “what do you do in the event of the untimely demise of one or the other of us”?

We spent a 6 hour drive to the coast one February and hashed out the details of our discussion.

Firstly, given our ages and the medical histories of our respective families, the odds are not in his favor. So, practically speaking, it makes more sense to focus on how to live without him than for us to spend a great deal of time thinking about him living without me. I also have spent the vast majority of my adult years as a well-kept home maker, wife and teacher of children. No degree. No job history. I am the one who needs a plan. Him? Not the same.

Macabre?

Maybe. As I have from the very beginning had the deepest, most irrational and undying fear of him dying, this actually is very comforting for me.

We have talked about the plans he has for the boys, what kind of men he would like them to be and how he wants to see them raised. We’ve discussed qualifications for any man who would be willing to step into the role of parenting them with me and how I should behave in the event G-d brings a second Mr. into my life. Some of these discussions have gotten intense and there are many which have left us both quiet and me holding onto him tightly with a lump in my throat. He has quite a bit more faith than I in this area. He thinks we should grieve for a reasonable time (6 months to a year) and then just get back out there, realize he’s in a better place and get on with living.

Um… Sure.

He also insists I should earnestly seek the Lord about providing another earthly father for the boys. I have insisted he do the same and hope my boys would have a second chance at a mother. 🙂

Cold? Pragmatic? Not romantic?

Well, in the event of such an atrocity and heaven forbid one of us goes there won’t be the opportunity for these conversations, will there?

We plan for the financial and educational future of our children and our spouses. We spend hours writing wills, estate planning and doing what we can to insure the even distribution of assets. Why would we spend any less time talking about the emotional, relational and spiritual ramifications of grief, living beyond loss and rebuilding?

For the record, I’ve decided I would be most pleased with a retired gentleman, widowed, strong believer. I realize that may mean he is quite a bit my senior. But I have found, in my experience, the men close to me in age are jaded, cynical and have far more “life experience” than would be beneficial or conducive to a solid marriage and the rearing of young men. Also, there would be no more children as I am not able to have any more. Young men often want to build their own “legacy” and if that is their desire, by all means! My sons would, in this fictitious scenario, be the legacy of their biological father with the influence of another.

A lady or gentleman who happened to be a divorcee would be hard pressed to make our A-list. The pain, restoration and subsequent cynicism is extremely hard to compensate for and a burden I wouldn’t want to see placed on my children. If that were, indeed G-d’s will, He would be speaking plainly, loudly and possibly using large objects thrown at our heads.

These are the barest bones of our contingency plans. We have dealt with trust fund issues for the distribution of life insurance policies so as to avoid the temptation on the part of any new spouse and to continue the provision for the children regardless of foolish fiscal finagling on the part of those who control the purse strings. We have allocated family members to take our boys should it be they who are left on this mortal coil. We have also allocated different people to be in control of the distribution of assets, life insurance policies and educational goals.

A plan. A focus. A future. Whether or not we anticipate, tomorrow will come and events will happen beyond our control. Or nothing will happen and we will both live long full lives enjoying each other every moment.

That’s my hope, that’s my deepest desire. If that’s G-d’s will, I would be completely ok with that. The whole “find somebody” scenario scares the hell out of me.

I’d rather stay single.