The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences of our lives and moving through the grieving process can bring about a wide variety of emotions. On top of dealing with the immediate circumstances following a death, we must also look to the months and years ahead as we try to establish a new sense of normal. Coping with a loss not only brings about emotional stress but can lead to financial uncertainty as well.
To help ease financial worry after losing a loved one, many people look to life insurance to help pay for final expenses, replace income, and plan for the road ahead. Here is a closer look at how to cope when someone you love has died, and ways that life insurance can ease the burden during this difficult time.
Everyone’s grief journey is unique and there is no right or wrong way to process your loss. It is important to take care of yourself and seek help from family and friends or a professional if you feel you could use the support. To help process your loss, here are a few steps you can take
Holding your feelings inside can often cause more distress and hold you back from healthily processing your loss. If you feel comfortable, try talking with family or friends, a grief counselor, or a therapist. You can also journal about your experience or write a letter to your loved one who passed. Oftentimes, sharing your emotions can relieve some of the pain of this challenging time.
However your family, culture, or religion chooses to honor someone who has passed; taking part in this ritual can be a meaningful way to celebrate the life of your loved one and begin to come to terms with their departure. As time goes on, you may want to find ways to recognize this person every year; even if it’s a small ritual you do within your own family to keep their memory alive.
Beyond seeking emotional support, you may also need to turn to someone you trust to help with any immediate decisions. When dealing with grief, having to confront any challenges, especially financial ones, may just feel too overwhelming. Find a friend or family member who can help you map out the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and determine a necessary plan and timeframe. Creating a strategy may give you a little more time to get in a better headspace to make important decisions.
The immediate days and weeks following a loved one’s death can be an all-consuming experience. Along with feelings of sadness, fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, or doubt, you may also feel physically unwell, lose your appetite, and have difficulty sleeping. These are all completely normal reactions to loss and you should never feel ashamed for how you feel or your journey through grief. In the January 10, 2023 article “Coping with Grief and Loss: by Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson and Jeanne Segal, PH.D., they cite a study by psychiatrist Dr. Kubler-Ross who introduced the “five stages of grief” which has become a common framework for the feelings people experience following a loss. The five stages include:
Since grief is a very personal experience, you may go through all of these stages, only a few, or jump back and forth between them. Give yourself the space and time to process the way that’s best for you.
One way to help protect your family from financial hardship and having to make immediate decisions during a difficult time is through life insurance protection. Acting as a financial safety net, benefits from a policy can be used for a variety of purposes and allow surviving family members to focus on remembering their loved one instead of worrying about money. When coverage is in place, the beneficiary—typically a spouse, partner, or family member—will file a claim with the life insurance company following the loss of the insured. Typically paid in a lump sum benefit, this money can then be used to pay for a funeral, burial, and other final expenses.
Along with paying for a departed family member’s final expenses, life insurance benefits can be used to pay off debt, cover medical bills, pay day-to-day expenses like the rent or mortgage, create an emergency fund, or put funds toward retirement or a child’s education. Some policies even offer living benefits, where the insured can access a portion of the death benefit while they’re still alive and are diagnosed with a qualifying illness.
One of the most important benefits of having life insurance coverage is providing some comfort for those left behind. By alleviating some of the financial stress that can often follow the loss of a loved one, family members can spend less time worrying about paying bills or having to make an immediate decision, like moving or selling their house, and can spend more time processing their grief and making room to heal.
Life may change significantly after losing loved ones, but it’s important to remember that you can carry on their legacy by honoring their memory and living your life to the fullest. Whether someone close to you had a life insurance policy or you’re looking for ways to financially protect your family’s future, life insurance coverage can help lessen the stress of the grieving process and add security and stability to the road ahead.