June 23

International Widows Day

 

The representative of the insurance company arrived in person to deliver the news.

Lois Styles was hoping for a check, but she’d prepared herself for another delay.  Insurance companies would say how much they cared as they pocketed your monthly payments…but then would fall back on obscure, corporate policies when it came time to pay up.

Lois really needed the money from her husband’s insurance policy.  Now that he wasn’t around, she was in danger of losing the house.   The family was slipping into poverty; the children might starve to death.

“We can’t take another delay,” Lois said.  “They’ve threatened to cut off our electricity.  We’re living off canned beans and powdered milk.”

“No more delays.”

For a moment, Lois felt hopeful — but the representative’s face looked sour.

“I’m here to tell you that the claim has been denied,” the representative said.  “We’ve closed the file.  I’m sorry.”

Denied?  Completely?  Lois hadn’t prepared herself for the possibility.  “But…he’s dead.  You can’t deny that.”

“Our company considers your husband’s death an act of god.  All of us, we lost so many husbands.  We can’t honor any of those claims.”

“But you’re a woman, too,” Lois said.  “How can you be so cruel?”  She’d been expecting, in this newly widowed world, that business decisions would be more compassionate, more favorable to the gender that had so often been discriminated against.  The idea had been a faint glimmer of hope within her grief — a hope now stolen so abruptly.

“We have to think about the future of the company,” the representative said, “which is the other reason I’m here.”

She then proceeded to pitch a fresh policy that would provide benefits to Lois’ surviving daughters, in the case of their mother’s untimely death.