52 Goals Week 42: Have a Worst-Case Scenario Conversation


On Christmas Eve 2012, my husband, his cousins and their kids wanted to go to the mall to ride the carousel. We were in Connecticut and it was just a few weeks after Sandy Hook had happened. I was absolutely against going. Totally the odd man out, we went against my better judgement, but not without me coming up with an active shooter plan once we got inside the mall. My poor, sweet husband was mortified while I was briefing our group, while one of the cousins was nodding his head in solidarity as we discussed what exits we’d use depending on where the shooter came in.


I realized then that there are 2 kinds of people in the world: the worst-case scenario thinkers (raises fist in solidarity) and the rest of you.

Are you a sunshine-and-rainbows kind of military spouse or a doom-and-gloom one?

A perpetual worrier or a perpetual optimist?

You can really see this play out on the Washington, D.C./ metro at 9 a.m. There are the tourists talking excitedly about what they’ll see next, the people that think public transportation is amazing and the people reading their books nonchalantly on their commute to work.

Then, there’s the other group. The ones convinced there could be a mass casualty attack at any moment. They sit near the exits. They’re scanning the crowd for a backpack out of place or any suspicious activity.

And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter if it’s the metro in D.C., a mall in Connecticut or a quiet street in Kansas: these poor peeps are worst-case scenario thinkers regardless of where they are.

For those of you that live in the land of “football games are for football and not an active shooter,” those of you who base your travels on where you want to go, not what area isn’t due for an earthquake, I applaud you.

This week’s challenge is going to be a tough one for you. And for those of you on team “what’s the next thing that could kill my family?” like yours truly, you’ve probably already thought through all these worse-case scenarios anyhow, so the challenge shouldn’t be too hard.


Week 42 Challenge: Talk about, review and update your worst-case scenario paperwork

Challenge Details: Pour yourself a drink of choice and have the conversation with your spouse about ALL the “what ifs.” Your assignment is to update your wills, review page 2 and SGLI elections, and talk through all the horrible scenarios that come with military life. Not super uplifting, but super important.

Your Deadline: October 24

Here are a few tips for having a worse-case scenario conversation with your spouse.

Topics to talk through:

Who will notify you if something happens?

Who will notify his parents and your parents?

Where does your spouse want to be buried? Where do you want to be buried? Do you want your body to be cremated? What are your wishes for your ashes?

Does your spouse have a DNR or want preventative measures? Do you have a living will?

And don’t stop there.

What if something happens to you?

How do you feel about disability insurance? Do you think you need it?

Do you have a life insurance policy that will cover all the things you do?

So many military spouses make the mistake that if they don’t work, they don’t need life insurance. Wrong-o.

Funerals are expensive. And so is child care. Child care, after-school care, cooking, cleaning, all those things that you might do that your spouse may have to outsource come with a cost.

And if you’re working outside the home? Make sure your salary is covered too.

Finally, talk through the real doozie: what happens if you both die?

Does someone know the code to the safe where you’re keeping the wills? Does someone have a copy of the wills? Do you have a plan for your kids? What about where you’ll both be buried? Update everything from your casualty assistance forms to your health directives.

I know it’s hard.

Whether you’re a doomsday prepper or all daffodils and daisies, it’s never easy to imagine losing your loved one. Leave nothing to chance, because having to figure out that stuff in the wake of true tragedy is the real worst-case scenario.

How often do you and your spouse have a worse-case scenario conversation? 



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