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An Instant- That’s All It Took

Published by: Tim Eichhorn Date: January 10, 2020

Blake, my twenty-three-year-old son, told me that the cruise control was set on 72-mph in a 65-mph zone as he came west out of Asheville late Monday night before Thanksgiving.  A bear had crossed the other lanes of traffic, climbed over the short median, apparently stepping into his passing lane.  The last memory he has before impact is a millisecond of the bear staring straight at him. The next thing he recalls is pushing the airbags out of his face as the vehicle slowly rolled to a stop along I-40.

An instant-that’s all that it took.  One minute, clipping along headed home to mom and dad for Thanksgiving with his young family, and the next instant he was assessing everyone, calling 911 while calming his wife Kaci, himself, and the three kids while also trying to get the vehicle off the highway.

We like to think that we have planned for the long-term life changes that we know are down the road, like retirement, a home purchase, college tuition, or even our own eventual passing.  Time is on our side with these known changes and we can make course corrections as we move towards them. However, many unforeseen events enter our lives that change things in an instant, giving us little time to react; a diagnosis from the doctor, the missed red light, or the house fire that changes our normal to a “new normal”. My military friends are fond of saying that every battle plan is good until the bullets fly.

How can you prepare for the unexpected?   Anticipation without the fear of what is to come is important.  Preparation during normal times can be the best practical way to help us handle any “new normal” that comes our way.

  • Have a plan that includes an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
  • Review all areas of insurance coverage throughout your life.
  • Have life affairs in order, such as wills and healthcare directives to name a few.
  • Assess where you are investing your time, money and energy on a regular basis to see if you are impacting family and friends as you desire.
  • Have important conversations regarding thoughts and plans with your life mates, families, friends, and make sure your trusted advisors know what you want should an “instant change” happen in your life.


These items are general, but important, and would help in any situation.  It would also leave your significant others in as good standing physically, spiritually or financially as you can control.

Blake and Kaci wound up with a small loss on the total of their vehicle that they were able to absorb with an emergency fund they had already put into place.  Long before the accident, they had chosen the right insurance that covered their towing, rental car and other services to help them make a smart decision without the stress of replacing their vehicle or having to absorb some of those unexpected costs.  They were as prepared as they could be for the scenario they were faced with that night.  They had the scare of their young lives on that dark lonely road through the mountains of North Carolina. My wife, Beth, and I woke to that late-night phone call that every parent dreads where your child is in trouble and you are hours away. In the end, their family came out of this crisis 100% safe and sound asleep in a warm hotel with the promise of a family Thanksgiving after sunrise.