Title: Embracing Life In Difficult Times Word Count: 408 Summary: Preparing for death is not something we're instinctively ready to do, but every family faces loss. With that, there are emotional and financial steps we must take to ensure that we continue living out our hopes and dreams. It's what our loved ones want most for us. Keywords: Embracing Life In Difficult Times Article Body: It was in April of 2003 that I lost my husband, David. He was the love of my life and a devoted father. Since his passing, I've realized there are many ways to embrace life before and after the unthinkable happens. Preparing for death is not something we're instinctively ready to do, but every family faces loss. With that, there are emotional and financial steps we must take to ensure that we continue living out our hopes and dreams. It's what our loved ones want most for us. I'm partnering with State Farm Life Insurance Companies to share my life lessons with others and honor everyday women who have persevered and embraced life after the deaths of their spouses. * Live life to the fullest. While they're healthy, couples should develop a "plan for life" with joint and individual, short- and long-term goals. You'll have peace knowing that you're doing everything you can to enjoy life and each other. * Balance your support system. Friends and family gave me strength after David passed away. Everyone has different needs. Don't be afraid to reach out to other people and ask for help. * Champion the legacy. I found it cathartic to get involved in helping others. Through the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis, I hope to prevent another family from suffering the same tragedy my family experienced. I'm encouraging couples to make time for "tough conversations" and plan ahead. I wish David and I would have planned more for our future. Like many families, we got immersed in everyday life and assumed we could discuss it later. It's much easier to talk about difficult topics beforehand than trying to deal with them during a family tragedy. One of the best ways to strengthen your family's financial security is to consider life insurance for both parents. Without it, families risk having to change their lifestyles to replace lost income or the responsibilities handled by a stay-at-home parent. When it comes to organ donation and life-sustaining measures, get your preferences down on paper. Also, preparing a living will and power of attorney can help ensure your wishes are followed and avoid potentially painful family disputes. Losing a loved one is never easy. But you can take steps now - as difficult or uncomfortable as they may be - to help ease your burden later. That's why I'm working with State Farm to urge families to embrace life today and prepare for tomorrow.