Tell Me About It: Boys’ similar history draws comparisons

Published April 15 2018

Q: My late husband died when our son was 18-months. We always had the basics, I made sure of that, but we both went without a lot of the extras. My son just started college and his random roommate assignment happens to be a boy whose father also died when he was young. We thought this was kind of good, since my son doesnít know that many people who this happened to.

Last week, my son brought up that his roommateís college is entirely paid for from life insurance and social security from his father. My husband didnít have life insurance, and I used most of the social security money for necessities.

My son didnít say this as an accusation, but just asked me why he doesnít have that money. I explained that I needed that money for expenses and such. I think he gets it.

His roommateís mother is a lawyer. Iím sure she was able to give him everything he wanted and banked the social security checks. Iím feeling guilty and defensive about this. What do you think?


A: I think itís totally understandable ó but youíre being unfairly tough on yourself. The unthinkable happened before you and your husband purchased life insurance. Thatís it.

The death of someone young (right ó your husband was 40 or under?) is still unusual enough that people arenít necessarily thinking of life insurance at 24 or 31 or whatever.

Be blunt with yourself ó "we got caught unprepared in this single but significant way" ó and with your son. "Yes, we got caught without life insurance. It hadnít occurred to us yet. Iím sorry you feel the impact of that still." And of course by the time you fully understood this, it was too late.

Then you need to leave it right there and get on with your life.

That mom did what she could given her difficult circumstances. You did what you could given your difficult circumstances. Different outcomes are just part of life. The only sure way to make it a debilitating part of life is to dwell on the differences.