Are You Prepared for A Personal Emergency?

Book Discussion

Seré Prince Halverson's debut novel The Underside of Joy is about what happens when the unthinkable occurs. One night you go to bed happy and thinking all is right with the world, and the next day the bottom drops out of your world when your husband dies. It made me think of not only the fragility of life itself, but the fragility of all those things we forget that we take for granted.

When Joe dies, Ella is largely unaware of their financial and legal situation. While they did have wills and Joe has a modest insurance policy, it wasn't enough. Ella didn't know just how poorly the company business was doing. Even after an insurance pay-out, once Ella paid all the bills she realized she wasn't going to have a lot of money to support their family. Adding to the complications: the fact that their children were from Joe's first marriage. While everyone in the family consider her their mother, she and Joe had never legalized her relationship with the children. They had never filed papers that made her the children's guardian in the event of his death, and when Joe's ex-wife shows up at his funeral, all kinds of questions are raised about the children's future.


legal documents sign here

Credit: Lars Ploughman on Flickr


It made me think of my own life, which really has little in common with Ella. We do not own a failing family business, and we don't have children. But are prepared for a personal emergency, such as death or serious illness? The short answer is no, we are not. We've taken measures, and we're on the right path, but at this moment? We're not there. What may be bothering me the most is the question of whether or not we've thought of everything we need to remember to do or set up.

Take Texasebeth's recent post about HIPPA and emergencies. Until that post, I hadn't even considered what I'd need in order to access my husband's health benefits at work if he was unable to do it. Naive? Probably. Stuff like that makes me really worried about what other "what ifs" we haven't considered.

My husband isn't a heavy social media user, but I am sure it's no surprise to any of you that I am. Yes, I have a plan for my social media death, though I prefer to think of it as my "If I get hit by a bus" file. I have a notebook with a list of my social media sites and passwords and people know what they are supposed to do with them. Before I pat myself too much on the back over that one, it probably needs to be updated. I'm also slightly skeptical that my husband really knows how to do what he needs to do once he's logged on to any of those sites.

Absolutely none of this is fun to think about, which I suspect is why we (and so many other people) put it off. I also know that every time we check something else off the list of things we need to do to be prepared, a weight lifts off my shoulders. It's time to make another list, to make more appointments with lawyers and bankers.

Are you prepared to deal with a personal emergency?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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