Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shattered Lives

Nothing makes us think more than the death of someone we know.  It may be someone that we haven’t known more than a few weeks, and we may not have known him well at all.  But sometimes those losses weigh that much more on your mind, body, and soul.  Recently we lost a fellow father at en extremely young age, 20 to be exact, and it has opened my eyes even more when it comes to the well-being of my own family.

I work in a grocery warehouse as a Warehouse Trainer helping to train and oversee more than 150 people.  It is not easy to get to know everyone that I work with, but I’ve tried my best.  Jeffrey Kreitz, a selector that has been with our company for just over two months and had recently transferred to night shift, passed away in a car accident on his way home from work two weeks ago.  It’s taken me this long to wrap my brain around it.  We don’t know for sure, but it is suspected that he fell asleep at the wheel, as he crossed the center line and hit another car head-on.  I understand that these things happen for a reason, although the reason still eludes me.  I don’t claim to have known Jeff well, in fact, I only recently started to recognize him and know exactly who he was when I would see him.  But this situation hits me hard for another reason: he left behind a young wife and child.  As I said, Jeff was only 20, his wife, an even younger 19.  Together they brought into this world a son, 2 months old at the time of his father’s passing.  That is what is so difficult for me to understand.  Why take this young man from his son at such an early age? 

I ask myself now, because of this tragedy, what would Mama Bird do?  How would Little E handle this?  I see the look on her face when she comes into the bedroom to wake me up in the afternoon, and I can’t imagine how heart broken she would be if I weren’t there anymore.  Who would provide for them?  How would they survive?  We are all each other’s world and I just can’t fathom the void that would be left if anything happened to us.  You can’t prepare for this situation because you sure as heck can’t see it coming.  The best you can do is make sure that Life Insurance is a priority, just in case.  I thought about this briefly when I became eligible for benefits.  I had the presence of mind then to max out what I could get through my employer.  Jeff wasn’t so lucky, he hadn’t been here for 90 days and therefore wasn’t eligible.

This whole situation is eye-opening.  It’s affected me in a way that I never thought possible.  The fact that what turned out to be essentially an acquaintance, due to how little I knew him, could have such a profound and lasting affect on me is dumbfounding.  I’ve thought about it a lot the last two weeks and I think I’ve got it figured out.  I am a husband and father.  This tragic loss puts so many things into perspective and makes me think about a lot of “What ifs”.  For those of you who know me well (I know there aren’t many of you out there), you know this isn’t like me.  I live life in the moment.  I don’t like contingencies, relying on others, or thinking about what might happen.  God has a plan for all of us, and no matter what we do, He will follow through.  But why so soon for Jeff?  Why leave behind a young woman who was just starting out her life?  Why take a father from his son at such a young age?  Why should this child grow up without a father?  To teach what?  I’ve been wracking my brain about this for two weeks now and I can’t come up with an answer.

So now I start to plan.  I already have the life insurance for myself and a small plan for Mama Bird.  But the biggest question I have to ask is this: What will happen to Little E should, God forbid, something tragic happen to both Mama Bird and myself?  Where will she go?  It seems a contingency plan needs to be put in place.  There will be many discussions about this, I’m sure.  In the meantime, I’ll just add to my benefits during Open Enrollment, and hope for the best.  Be safe, everyone.

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