Critical events that change your life – a true story…

by Polly N on August 19, 2013

Guest post by Sheila West

When someone tells you that a family member has been diagnosed with a critical illness, it’s a shock. However, unless you’ve had direct experience it can be impossible to grasp the enormity of the situation and the impact that it has on all those involved. It changes lives forever.


I lost both of my parents at a young age.  My dad aged 56, died of a heart attack when I was 12.  Literally, I said goodbye to him at 9pm one night as he left in an ambulance and by 6am the next day he was gone forever.  My mum aged 59, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was 22, which resulted in 8 months of pain (mostly for her as she bravely fought) and the sadness that comes when you see someone fading away.  She lost her memory as her cancer spread, resulting in her not even recognising me at times. She spoke of future plans near the end, which we knew deep down she would never see.

The thing is, you’re not meant to lose anyone before their time. That’s the problem with a critical illness, it does not discriminate. Any age, any gender, any time – it really doesn’t care. It has no concern for who is left behind or the struggles they will face either.

When my dad died the shock was like being hit by a train.  However, there was worse to come.  My dad had no critical illness cover, which impacted us all emotionally. Why?  Because mum had to return to work for the first time in years. Without life cover she basically couldn’t afford to pay the bills without taking on a full-time job.

For my sister and I, this meant we’d not only lost the emotional security and presence of my dad, but we’d effectively lost mum too.

No amount of money can make loss any easier – we all know that. However, for us, it would have meant more time with mum.

What resonates even more is that I now know 10 years after my dad died, mum would follow with pancreatic cancer.  Had my dad had any kind of cover, we as a family might have been able to cherish the short 10 years mum had left so much more, rather than seeing her stressed out and tired all the time through work.

These days I know what I experienced has changed me and the way I view life itself.  I cherish all those people who are important to me and each day is a blessing, no matter what happens!

I also have critical illness cover. It has nothing to do with the financials either, but about being able to live life to the full should something happen. I like to think that should the worst happen, I won’t have to worry about work but can live the dreams we accumulate over time without worry and with those I love the most, while I can.

Don’t underestimate the value of critical illness cover as it really can make a difference to your family for years to come.  I bought my insurance through Talk to the Market who offered a friendly, straight-forward service and for a small cost.  A drop in the ocean for something that will make a difference to my family.

What are your thoughts? Considered taking out insurance?  Tell me in the comments below.

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