1 year ago today Kobe Bryant tragically passed away. Many of us watched the heart wrenching, but beautiful eulogy Vanessa Bryant gave in memory of her beloved husband and daughter and like many of you was absolutely heartbroken for her. Losing your spouse and child in such a tragic and sudden way is absolutely devastating. Sadly, the reality is that the death of a spouse happens to families every day across our world and country.

In 2012 I was a young wife focused on a new job and trying for our first child when I woke up to the news that a police officer had been shot and killed in our city. Not just killed but on a routine call that officers like my husband and every other Austin officer took nearly every week. The reality of the situation and the dangers of my husbands’ profession hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sad, I lashed out at people, and I was scared of everything.

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The thing that helped me with the reality of my husband’s job and our world in general was to be prepared. When you get married and especially when you have kids a lot of people tell you to make a will which is absolutely something you should do. However, growing up a preacher’s daughter I can tell you there is more to the end of life than just your will. The costs alone can be overwhelming. Today in Texas it costs on average over $6,000 for a funeral, and that is honestly probably a low number. The costs are so high because they are counting on the fact that you are grieving and willing to pay whatever the cost to hurry the process.

We created what we call an “In Case Of” folder on a flashdrive. It has a list of all our accounts, images he would want used in a slide show, things he would want read at his funeral, people he would want involved, a religious ceremony laid out, and links to our wills. We have updated it every year since 2012. It gave me peace of mind that even in the worst of times I could know that his wishes were being carried out.

Then three years ago, I nearly died in childbirth. This past year I added my own file, it wasn’t easy but I can’t imagine how much harder that situation would be on my spouse without me putting something together. This summer I am sitting down with both my parents to create their own. We are all human and as such we are mortal. Being prepared can save your family serious and painful decisions at a heartbreaking time in their lives.

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