I was 4 years old when my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April of 2000. He died two months later on July 10th. My life would be forever changed.
I only remember bits and pieces of my dad, not as much as I would like, but there are pictures of him in our house and in family albums, and my mom’s heartfelt stories, which help with my memories….
My mom never remarried, and I am an only child, so it has been just the two of us for the last thirteen years. She never let me feel sorry for myself, but instead, we celebrated my dad’s life. Watching my mom work so hard to give us a good life has taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome and soar.
My dad didn’t have life insurance, and life after his death was a major financial struggle for my mom and me. My mom worked all the time just to pay the bills and hold on to the house that my dad built for us. Life was tough, and there was the constant threat of losing the house.
From an early age I learned to do without, and this soon became the norm. I worked hard in school and around the house to help alleviate some of the tremendous stress and burden on my mom. Even when I was very young, I could see how stressful and difficult life was for my mom, and I didn’t want her to have to worry about me too.
“My dad didn’t have life insurance, and life after his death was a major financial struggle for my mom and me.”
Life insurance certainly would have helped us get back on our feet after my dad’s death. It could have helped pay for my mom to go back to school and helped with the mounting bills. It would have eased the stress that comes with worrying about how to pay for groceries and bills. Life insurance would have been a godsend. I’ve learned that unexpected, and sometimes life altering, things happen in life, and life insurance can equal security and peace of mind. It’s a necessity!
My mom hated working such long hours because that meant that I would be raised in daycare and eventually become a latchkey kid. She couldn’t stand the thought of that! She soon made the painful decision to spend our life savings to go back to school and get a teaching degree and has been teaching every since. However, teacher pay is low and hasn’t kept up with the cost of living, so we still live pay-check to pay-check, often having to go without.
“We could never get caught up financially.”
If my dad had purchased life insurance, things would have been very different for my mom and me. Because there was no life insurance, we could never get caught up financially. For all these years, after paying the bills every month, there was nothing left over to save for college, or anything else for that matter. Now college is staring me straight in the face, but there is no money for it.
My mother taught me the value of an education through example, and I have worked hard to overcome tough times and excel in school. I have been accepted to one of the best engineering schools in the country, Texas A&M. I hope that you will consider me for a Life Lessons scholarship, and if I am chosen, I will continue to work hard to be successful in life. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.
[2015 Update from John: A lot has happened since I received the Life Lessons Scholarship a year ago. I am just finishing up my first year as an engineering student at one of the best engineering schools in the country, Texas A&M University. My future is bright, and I’m excited about life! The Life Lessons Scholarship played a big role in putting me on the path to realizing my dreams of becoming a petroleum engineer, and I am forever grateful. I’m now 19 years old, and it’s been 15 years since I lost my dad to cancer. It was hard enough losing my dad, but because he had no life insurance, financial struggles affected my life in ways I never imagined. Life insurance is only important if you need to use it, but the kicker is, you never know when that time will come. My dad was young and healthy and didn’t think he needed life insurance; however, life could have been very different had he thought to purchase life insurance.]