Joleen Mainz spent her whole life caring for others. In her darkest hour, she needed to trust others to care for her.

On the morning of November 14, 2014, Joleen Mainz found her husband Paul sitting in a chair in the living room, unresponsive—he wasn’t breathing, and nothing could revive him. He had suffered an aortic aneurysm.

“My life turned upside down in the blink of an eye,” said Joleen.

The sudden death of a husband, friend, father and business partner left Joleen in shock and feeling overwhelmed. It became hard to think straight or even remember conversations she’d just had. The holidays were approaching, and she and her sons were going to have to manage a normally happy time of year without Paul.

Joleen knew it would be tough, but she didn’t know how tough.

On Christmas Day, just six weeks after Paul passed away, Joleen’s son Elliot was driving the family—Joleen, her son Erik and his girlfriend Rachel, and their aunt—home from Joleen’s parents’ house when a car crossed the center line and hit them head-on at highway speed. The driver had no license and no insurance. Two weeks later, Joleen’s aunt died from her injuries.

Miraculously, Erik, Elliot and Rachel survived with just bruises, but Joleen was not so fortunate. The impact from the accident broke several ribs and her ankle, displaced her tailbone, fractured her spine, and crushed her foot, leading to a syndrome that makes even the simplest physical tasks excruciatingly painful. In just two months, Joleen lost two of the people she loved most in the world and suffered a debilitating disability.

Months later, she tried to go back to work again, but found it impossible as she continued to suffer pain. The memory loss and trouble thinking made things worse. She had to go on permanent disability.

Those who thrive by caring for others often find the simple act of receiving help in times of need a not-so-simple challenge. Perhaps no one knows that test of trust better than Joleen.

Joleen lives in Rochester, Minnesota, in the home where she raised her two sons with Paul. She has spent her life looking after the well-being of others. First as a cardiac care nurse and later, along with Paul, as a Guardian Financial Representative, dedicating herself to financially preparing others for the unpredictability of life. As committed advisors, Joleen and Paul purchased every product they ever recommended to any of their clients.

“We had done everything we possibly could to take care of our family, and we felt a sense of peace,” said Joleen.

Joleen’s journey through grief and pain was, and continues to be, long and hard. But she’s not on that journey alone. Joleen is surrounded by a loving group of friends and family, and she doesn’t have to worry about how she’ll make ends meet while she can’t work. In their years as Guardian representatives, Joleen and Paul had always done their own financial planning, so Joleen was financially prepared with life and disability insurance. She trusted Guardian to protect her, and she was not let down.

When Joleen’s son Erik asked her, “Mom, you’re going to be ok, right? Dad had life insurance, right?” Joleen knew that ultimately, yes, she was going to be fine. She wasn’t going to lose her house or car. She wasn’t going to have to tap into her retirement funds to take care of her monthly bills. By having Paul’s life insurance and her own disability insurance, she has been given confidence, financial security and freedom.

As Joleen says, “Resilience is learned and means that you bounce back and adjust. Having trusting relationships is the most useful thing you can have to bounce back … Guardian Financial Representatives help people be prepared. That’s why we do what we do.”  To view more stories like Joleen's, see our 2018 Annual Report.