•  What would your life look like if you were  suddenly not here tomorrow?
  • Would you be able to pick up the financial pieces should your spouse die unexpectedly?
  • Do you know where to start?
  •  If something happened to you and your spouse, would someone be able to get their arms around all your financial needs and final arrangements?
  • What about your surviving children?
  • What about your surviving spouse?
  • Who will pick up the pieces in your absence?
  • Is all of your vital information centralized to ensure that the people left behind are able to minimize their stress as they are in the midst of       devastating grief?
  • Are you insured? Do you have sufficient coverage?
  • Does your spouse know who your insurance agent is? Where your policies  located?

My Plan B Handbook

The “My Plan B Handbook” was written as a result of my own experience with sudden loss.  I realized my husband and I had filed in our brains the necessary day-to-day information such as pass codes, financial information, final wishes and more but we hadn’t recorded and stored anything in one place. When I suddenly found myself as a single parent, I realized no one else had  access to this information. I saw a need to put my important information in writing and keep in a central location for others to use right away in the case of my unexpected death.

Who would know all the details of my life in case something happened to me? How would they understand what needed to be done and pick up the pieces with as little stress as possible?

I learned early on in this experience that many people have not started down the path of preparedness and discussion. My sudden loss was a wake-up call to those around me. I was fortunate because we had a plan. However, even with a plan, it took months of effort to handle all that was required, and I found it overwhelming. Despite our plans, the piece I didn’t have was a central location for the information.

Everyone needs a personal ‘Plan B’.  The “My Plan B Handbook” will get you started.  It will provide a roadmap for putting together a back- up plan for researching and purchasing life insurance, gathering medical and financial records, and arranging for guardianship. This book breaks down each step so people feel empowered, not overwhelmed.  With this handbook, I hope to prompt discussions that are necessary, but not always easy. It is my wish for you to have a plan, and then to live fully in every moment.


How Insured Are You? Unexpected Expenses in the Event of Death:

• Medical/Hospital
• Funeral
• Leave of absence from work
• Psychological for yourself, children, or both
• Health care
• Child care

Sudden Child Care Needs:

If your spouse that died was a stay at home parent, you will need to pay out-of-pocket child care. Do you know what the average cost is?

If you are the surviving spouse and full-time childcare, you will need help (regular sitter, nanny, childcare).

Perhaps you will have to go back to work?

Did you know for women who have left the job force, for every year away from your career it will take an average 4-5 years to earn what you were originally making.

Insurance Worksheet:


Monthly payments

•debt payments eg. credit cards
•car payments
•outstanding loans
•child care
•school tuition
•health care premiums

Quarterly Payments

•Car Insurance(s)
•Property Taxes
•Mortgage Insurance

Payoff Amounts



My story could be anyone’s story and is the story of many people I have met through this experience. I encourage you to read the stories of previous Embrace Life honorees, which you’ll find on the “Media”.  This will give you a better insight into the lives of many young, vibrant individuals who also experienced sudden and unexpected losses of loved ones.

When you remove the stress caused by not being prepared financially and not having a ”Plan B”  for the unexpected, you remove the weight that causes you to feel like you are drowning. Imagine the feeling of trying to walk through deep fine sand (grief) which comes up to your knees. Now imagine trying to walk through that same deep, fine sand but now it is well above your knees (financial stress) and you no longer feel as if you can even move through the sand. The difference between someone with a plan and someone unprepared is this: When you have a plan and life insurance, the partner that is left behind is still able to make choices. You still control financial decisions for you and your family. This means a great deal when you feel like your control and hope are taken away in a split second.

A roadmap for the future…

The surviving partner needs a road map. The sudden death of a partner is like losing control of your car and plummeting off the side of a cliff. You have no way to comprehend what just happened, no idea how or where to get back on the road. Having a “Plan B” in place provides an invaluable starting point, should your family be blindsided by sudden tragedy.

Your children…

Imagine your children’s grief if they lose everything they know because of the loss of a parent(s). In addition to the sorrow of losing a parent(s), children may be forced to move and leave their schools, friends, and home. They are left with the insecurity and stress of not knowing what the future holds. Children need stability, especially during a time of loss. They need to know that there is a plan. A plan provides some stability in a devastating time.

One step at a time…

The emotional part of your journey will be different when you remove the financial stress and instead focus on healing yourself and your family. The grieving process requires all your strength, putting one foot in front of the other and making it through one more day. Eventually, it will get easier and your burden will lessen.


My goal is to bring awareness, inspire and motivate individuals to have a ‘Plan B’ in place in case of the unthinkable loss of a spouse, yourself, or both.” – Jeannine McCurrie, Embrace Life Award Honoree, 2010

My brother was murdered at the age of 33, leaving behind a wife and three children, all under the age of 7. Two years later my father died at the age of 64 from health issues which were a result of being a smoker for over 45 years. He suffered from influenza, hypertension, strokes and dementia.  I hoped that if there was a grief score card that existed, perhaps mine had reached its limit.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

September 18, 2008, my husband Darin was admitted to emergency as a result of being treated for Bronchitis and he was rapidly getting worse. It was in the emergency room that he was diagnosed with fluid around his heart and blood clots in his legs and lungs. He had portions of his lung that was no longer functioning and a CT scan which indicated suspicion of cancer. On September 19, 2008, while in surgery, a blood clot took his life. My husband was 37 years old, our daughter was 4 and our son, just 8 months.