Insurance allows young woman to die with dignity

On October 13, 1998, I received a call that changed my life forever.

“Stuart, am I ready to die?”

Her name was Juwita, however I used to call her “my sunshine” because she put a smile on my face every time we met. She was one month from her 26th birthday when she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

When I joined this business, I was a fresh graduate from the National University of Singapore and almost all of my clients were around Juwita’s age. I used a simple napkin presentation that instantly helped my prospects visualize the potential effects of an “economical death” on their lives and the lives of the loved ones around them. Juwita had purchased a policy with me.

Now Juwita was eligible for a claim on her life insurance policy, which accelerates the death benefits upon diagnosis of a critical illness.

A few days later, when I delivered the claim check to Juwita, I became emotional. She gently wrapped her two hands around mine and said, “Stuart, don’t cry for me. What you have done for me no one else in the world can do, and I really want to thank you for that.”

From that moment on, I knew I could no longer look upon this profession as a job. I knew there and then that this had become a mission to empower people to take charge of their lives by taking financial responsibility.

I embraced and printed this statement on the back of my business card. It eventually also became the statement of purpose for my agency.

Everyone loves fairy tales because the characters always live happily ever after. However, that was not the case for Juwita. I received a call from her sister on February 13, 2000, saying that Juwita would like to meet with me. She wasn’t doing well.

Round the Table magazine

This article first appeared in the January/February “Round the Table.”

With mixed emotions, I arrived to find her lying in a bed with oxygen tanks beside her and a mask over her face. Her brother took off her oxygen mask and bent down to listen to what she wanted to say to me.

With tears in his eyes, he said, “Juwita would like to sit up one more time to thank you for allowing her to die here and not at the hospital or at a charitable home.”

All I could do was to tap her hand gently and tell her not to say anything anymore and that everything was going to be OK, although I knew it was the end. Moments later, she was gone, and I will never forget her.

Life insurance allowed her to die with dignity, surrounded by her family.

Stuart Shee Yew Kuen is a 22-year MDRT member from Singapore. He spoke at the 2020 MDRT Annual Meeting and Global Conference.  MDRT members can watch the video.

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