It is funny, I did not know the name of Sheryl Sandberg's husband until this weekend when the news of his sudden passing hit my news feed on twitter. Up to that point, all I knew of him is Ms. Sandberg's recounting of how important his support of her had been in her career and how her advice of choosing the right partner had been a key to her ability to lean in.
His passing at such a young age made me think about a few items which I think are important for all women who are married, especially with children.
First, I want to reiterate Ms. Sandberg's position on having a supportive mate. My husband, Steve, is my second biggest supporter. (Sorry, hon, my mom is still number one.) All kidding aside, Steve's mindset of sharing child rearing and home responsibilities has allowed me to pursue my career aspirations. He has also supported my career choices, varied as they have been. We have both made sacrifices, and trust me, it has not always been easy raising two children with two working parents, but his support has given me the opportunity for choices.
But here are some points that will not be discussed when recounting Mr. Goldberg's death and how it will effect Ms. Sandberg's future - we can be positively certain she will not need to worry about money and her financial future. This may be crass to discuss at this time, but tactfulness has never been a part of my upbringing.
So take this opportunity to discuss frankly with your partner about life without them. Do you have a will? And if you have one, does it reflect changes that may have occurred since you first put it together? When was the last time you looked at your insurance policies? Do you have have enough replacement income to maintain your current lifestyle, not to mention to pay for your kids' college tuition? Have you looked at your spouse's benefits at their work and are you named as the beneficiary?
And there are probably items I have not even thought about myself. Trust me, I have put calling my lawyer and insurance agent on my to do list this week. Since I live with my accountant, I will ask him when I get home.
Discussing death is not a topic we want to think about. It is scary and hopefully we will all be celebrating our 50th Anniversaries with our spouses while our children and grandchildren. But, there are some items that are not worth putting off.