My husband and I never talked about his possibly dying. Never, not once did we have such a conversation after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We continued to live life just as we always had with the chemo, radiation and stem cell transplant just taken as matter-of-fact details to be faced and dealt with. Except for the grueling medical aspects of his illness, our life was pretty much the same. We both worked, volunteered and were extremely hands-on parents. About a year into my husband's illness, he did bring up that he had been rejected for trying to obtain more life insurance for us. I did not make a big deal about this - just admitted that it was what it was.
I knew my husband very well and understood that this was how he needed to face his illness. He carried on with such strength and courage never even thinking of the possiblity of dying. That was perhaps a mistake for both of us because I went along with my husband's way of coping. I always considered it my gift to him - avoiding "Having the talk." If we had, I would have realized that the mortgage payment was just $200.00 less than the pension benefit we would receive. There may have been time to refinance or somehow reorganize the finances to have made our economic situation less challenging.
I am pretty sure that my husband truly believed that if he died, his mother may have provided something for us, or that we would make it financially. I do not even think that he knew what our actual pension benefit would be for us upon his death. It was just never looked into.
Looking back on the widowhood road, I have regrets over not talking about the what ifs. My husband died without ever knowing he was actually dying. That was a great blessing for him - that he was spared that. But that blessing has been a great hindrance to me. And I am the one who had to carry on raising the boys, his sons. So, in the end it would have been far better to have had the strength and courage to keep on living and fighting the illness, as well as facing the situation fully. I wish I had brought up the subject we so tried to hide from.