When you work in a service profession, you are called to do much more than the duties outlined in your job description.
The year was 1988. The place; a little town named Houma, Louisiana. The event, though transformative, would not make the national news or likely even be known by more than a dozen people over the thirty years that followed. However, for the four adults and three children in that little shotgun house; their lives would be forever changed.
The time was around four in the afternoon. A life insurance agent, new to the business, and his supervisor were making a routine annual review call on a long time client of the company which they worked for. These were strangers to the family. Upon entering the well kept three bedroom house they were greeted by the daughter of the client whom they were there to see. The woman’s three children were each sitting around the kitchen table, doing their homework and the client, a frail woman in her fifties, was sitting in a wheelchair by the side of the couch.
After introductions and pleasantries were exchanged the manager made the decision to conduct the review in the living room; since the kitchen table was occupied. Pulling up a chair beside the client, the agent, in a well planned and practiced manner, executed a flawless review of the contracts the client had on her life. The daughter, sitting toward the far side of the couch, away from the business being discussed, looked to be ill at ease about the material being covered. When the agent began to confirm with the client, the people named as beneficiary and the amounts she wanted each to receive the daughter quickly jumped from her seat and literally ran into the kitchen.
The manager noticed immediately that the client was emotionally affected by the daughter’s rushed exit from the room and the new agent seemed uncomfortable with the situation. In an attempt to comfort the woman, the manager rose from his seat opposite the couch and moved to sit down on the sofa at the edge of the wheelchair. Reaching for her hand, he looked into her tear filled eyes.
“My daughter is not taking my sickness well. She refuses to speak to me about anything having to do with my pending death. I want to make it easier for her and the kids but she does not see it like I do. We all die a little bit each day; the only difference between she and I is that I have the blessing of knowing mine will happen soon.” With a smile on her lips and tears in her eyes she whispered, “Preparation is not a bad thing when you are trying to get into heaven.”
With a tearful smile of his own he replied softly, “You are ready, aren’t you?”
Patting her hand, he slowly stands as he asks his partner to continue. He walks into the kitchen; hoping to find the daughter and he does.
“Maam, I know that what you are going through is hard. I am personally dealing with much of the same in my own family; my mother, who is about the same age as your mom, is fighting terminal cancer. I would like to help you if I can.”
“Can you stop my mother from dying?”
“No I can’t but neither can you and denying that truth is not going make your last days together any better for either of you. Your mother is at peace with the inevitable and she wants to leave you with that same sense of peace.”
Looking at her feet she begins to weep, “It is not fair, she is so young and I don’t want her to go.”
“I know. You are right, she is still young but you have all been blessed with the past, the present and the future…in her case the future seems short, so don’t waste any of the precious time that you have left. From my experiences, I can tell that she wants to talk to you about what she is going through mentally, what she is thinking spiritually and how she wants to be remembered. Please don’t deny any of you that opportunity.”
While they were talking, he noticed that the children had exited the kitchen to go in the living room. Taking the hand of the daughter, he led her to the entry way where they could see her three children gathered around their grandmother as she talked to them about heaven. They were all smiling, even the young agent.
“It will be okay…it won’t be easy but it will be okay.”
I would like to think that those two insurance representatives left that family a little better off that day. It was a little over three weeks later when the group was brought together again, this time in a church to say a final farewell and to begin the process of honoring a promise made many years before. The daughter, upon greeting the two men, gave them both a big hug and she whispered in the ear of the manager, “Thank you for giving us the best three weeks I could have asked for. I believe that you were heaven sent.”
Through the last thirty years, I have come to believe that we are all heaven sent.
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, Author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”