After successfully replacing her lost passport, my wife finally got to Tokyo, Japan to help her mother out with her mother's sister's estate issues.
At times, it felt like mission impossible coordinating the trip, booking the hotels, going to the countryside to place the urn, and meeting with another country's estate planning lawyers. Her mother lives in Virginia and isn't tech-savvy, so planning was challenging.
As her husband, I felt an uptick in my wife's stress level for several months. But in the end, she got it done! Since we are seldom apart, we decided to chat about our experiences while she was away from home.
What We Learned After Being A Part For A While
I know that being apart from family due to work may be common in many households. If I still had my old day job, I'd still be traveling at least twice a month for short trips and twice a year for long trips. However, for us, as dual spouse retirees who intentionally created a lifestyle of always being together, this was a new experience.
But life constantly throws us unexpected variables. As folks in the sandwich generation, supposedly the unhappiest period for many people, it's our responsibility to take care of both our parents and our children.
For my wife, this would be her first time away from our children since 2017, when our son was born. This was a mental challenge she had to overcome.
For me, I was worried about how I'd fare taking care of the two kiddos without mama for the week. For insurance, we hired childcare support.
For our children, they learned how to cope without mommy for a little while. As a result, maybe they will become more resilient and appreciative of her.
Some things we learned about ourselves after being apart:
- When there is no other choice, the work may actually get easier
- You will gain confidence if you face your fears and tackle the unknown
- When you have nobody to complain to or seek support from, you just get on with things and feel lighter
- We may rely on our partners more than we think, which may make us more burdensome than we realize
- It felt amazing to be the #1 parent who got all the love because the kids had no other choice
- To make the time go by quicker, we stayed busy
- Being alone is helpful for self-discovery and self-reflection
- Going back to work full time may be helpful for our relationship and balance
Question: I'm curious to know what are some of the things you've learned about yourself and your partner after being apart for a while?
Listen To The Latest Financial Samurai Episode
Resources And Recommendations
If you haven't done so already, please put together a death file and set up a revocable living trust to avoid probate court and save money. Having clear instructions on how to access various accounts and knowing where everything is important.
Finally, get an affordable life insurance policy. Shop around online through a site like PolicyGenius, which my wife and I used to get new matching term policies. The peace of mind alone is worth more than the cost of the monthly premiums. It will likely cost thousands of dollars and dozens of hours to settle a person's estate.
Join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. What We Learn Is A FS original post.