The Loss of A Father

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My father passed away this week. Though an emotional time, I see so many things my Dad taught me in life. Dad, I love you!

We were eating a late dinner last Monday evening. The kids were in bed and we were winding down after a long day. Then, the text came from my youngest brother.

He wanted to know if I had heard from our Dad during the day. Our other brother was also unable to reach him for a better part of the afternoon – which was definitely not normal. The last I spoke with my father was the previous evening.

We had our normal Sunday evening chat – we talked about the kids, politics, the upcoming holidays and the weather – nothing too spectacular or to lead me to believe anything was wrong.

In the span of 20 minutes from that original text, the suspicions grew to fear and the fear to reality – my dad was gone. He was found at home by a family friend having died unexpectedly.

While he had health concerns, his passing was and still is a surprise not to mention horribly jarring. He visited us just 2 ½ weeks prior for Thanksgiving, a time I am now incredibly thankful for; little did I realize that would be the last time I’d see him or watch him enjoy his grandchildren.

The next few hours, and this week really, were a complete blur. I left for Bozeman, Montana (where he lived) at 5:00 a.m. the next morning, spent 11 hours at the airport in Kansas City thanks to a major winter storm in Denver, and arrived in Bozeman the next day. My brothers and I have spent the past week here in Montana handling his burial arrangements and taking care of all his matters.

As I wind down this week and head back home, the reality of my Father’s passing looms large. In short, it’s realizing my father is gone.

He was the first person I’d call when I had a question about pretty much anything.

He was the one who taught me that so much of life comes down to giving it your all and never giving up.

He was the one who showed me that your word is your bond and to stick by it.

He was the one who taught me that life comes down not to how much money you have but your relationships.

He was the one who helped me understand that mistakes can be a good thing when you use them to learn and grow.

He was the one who taught me that life is at its richest when you continue to learn new things.

He was the one who impressed upon me that anything worth having is worth working for.

He was and is the kind of father anyone would be blessed to have. He’s the kind of father I hope and desire to be to my children.

My father passed away this week. Though an emotional time, I see so many things my Dad taught me in life. Dad, I love you!

As we head into this holiday season, please take time to tell those who are special in your life how much you love them. Be intentional about it. Give them one extra hug. Turn off the TV or put down the smartphone and spend quality time with them. Simply let them know you care as so much truly comes down to that.

As I have learned again, we are only truly guaranteed today. Take today and tell your loved ones just how much they matter to you. With raw emotion I long to tell my Dad “I love you.” Since I can’t do that, I plan to remind  everyone I love by telling them as often as I can.


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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Brian @DebtDiscipline says:

    John so sorry for your loss. Never easy to lose a parent. I lost my dad a few years back, and miss my conversation with him too. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  • Brian@Luke1428 says:

    So sorry to hear this my friend. We went through this a few years ago with Kim’s father and it’s so tough, especially when it’s unexpected. We will be praying for you and the family.

  • Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I’m keeping you and your family in my prayers. If there’s anything with the blog that I can help with (or anything else for that matter), please let me know. I lost my grandpa this year and it was very difficult.

  • Money Beagle says:

    Sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you mean about the importance of your dad. I am 41 and my dad is still the first person I call when I need advice or am having problems, and I love just calling to talk even for no particular reason. It sounds like you had that and realized the importance while he was there, which helped keep you close and will make for many memories.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Oh, my dear friend – I am so sorry. We drove through Montana this summer and I thought a lot about what a blessing it would be to live there. Thanking God with you that you had that time at Thanksgiving to be with your dad. Many hugs to all of you, John.

  • Emily @ JohnJaneDoe says:

    My thoughts are with you. Losing a parent is hard any time, and losing a parent in December has got to be even harder. Be glad you got to spend time with him so recently, even if you didn’t know it was the last time.

  • Claudia says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! I know how difficult this. I lost my dad and he lost his dad this year and all I want to do is call them.

  • Thias @It Pays Dividends says:

    John, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing anyone is hard but especially so for a parent. Your family is in my thoughts.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    So sorry John. I’m glad that you got to spend time with him a couple weeks before. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts!

  • Kim says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to lose a parent. It sounds like he was a great man and you have many wonderful memories.

  • Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor says:

    Oh my, I’m so sorry to hear this, John. I imagine the unexpected nature and the time of year make it especially difficult. My prayers for you and your family.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Oh John. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing my father was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced and his passing was not unexpected. He sounds like an amazing man who will be deeply missed. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers and thoughts. Let me know if there is anything you need.

  • Denise says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I lost my dad suddenly a few years ago. Your dad sounds like a great man and you were so fortunate to have thanksgiving with him. I love the words someone said to me at the time of my loss. He is not gone he has just stepped into another room, I find that comforting.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss John. Losing my father was extremely difficult and it’s something I still think about every day.

    Will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Gary @ Super Saving Tips says:

    John, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I am glad you are able to keep in mind all the wonderful lessons he shared with you, and that you in turn are able to share them with your children, as well as all of us through this blog.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Oh John, I saw this and hoped it wasn’t true. I know how much your dad meant to you so I can imagine what this sudden loss has done to your psyche. We lost my husband’s 33 year old brother 12 years ago and the best lesson it taught me was just how precious life is. We never know how much time we get with the people that we love but thankfully you had great times with your dad when he was alive. My heart breaks for you now but please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Cat@BudgetBlonde says:

    So sorry for your loss John. I know you are a wonderful father because you had a wonderful example.

  • Robin McDaniel says:

    I’m so sad for you, John. I’m touched that you were so close to your dad and so happy that you had that last Thanksgiving visit and phone call in his final days.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m terribly sorry for your loss, John. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  • New Girl says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences for you and your family.

  • Prudence Debtfree says:

    What a blessing that you had talked with him the night before. What a blessing that you had seen him at Thanksgiving. Your father knew that you loved him and that he was important in your life. You give a great message to us all as you turn your grief into a renewed foundation for living – something your dad would be proud of.

  • Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    So sorry to hear that, John. Please accept my condolences to you and to your family.

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