Family Emergency

On Saturday evening, my younger sister was showing me the engagement ring her new fiancée had given her. Early Monday morning, she called me sobbing: She’d woken up just a little while before, and he wasn’t breathing. In an instant, all of their hopes and dreams were shattered. Death is never an easy thing. But it’s definitely an unexpected shock when a healthy 25-year-old man passes away in his sleep.

I don’t know how the next few weeks will play out, or how much I’ll be around here. With everything just taking place yesterday, there are still a lot of unknowns. His family is from the south, so the only thing we know for certain right now is that his family is having him transported home, and the funeral will take place there. At this point, it looks like I’ll be heading south with her and my Mom in the next few days, and staying there through the weekend.

Since this is a blog about my financial life, I feel I should note here that I fully expect to have some big expenses in the next few months. Last minute plane tickets aren’t cheap. Include in that a hotel room, and food, and possibly a rental car… Things can add up pretty quickly. My sister isn’t in the best situation financially, so my Mom and I intend to split the expenses. This is definitely one of those times where whatever I spend, it’s definitely worth the money. I’ll still try to find us some deals.

The whole situation is also a reminder of how important it is to keep all of your information up to date, and to keep your family informed about your wishes. As a new fiancée, my sister’s rights in the situation are basically non-existent. And yet, since they were living together, she was instantly bombarded by requests and demands from various people. She’s the contact person on some information, his parents on others, which is making every step of the process more complicated. And there is a big question mark over who is the beneficiary on his life insurance policy; His parents were hopeful to use the life insurance to pay for his funeral expenses, but there’s a possibility that he never switched it out of his ex-girlfriend’s name. Let’s be honest, most parents don’t have a plan in place for needing to pay for a funeral for their 20-something child.

The whole situation is tragic. I can’t even imagine what my sister is going through right now.

– Cindy W.


  1. I’m very sorry for your sister and your family. Incredible how life goes. Those are the reasons why one needs an emergency fund. You never know… Sending you warm wishes and all the support of every kind you need.

    1. Thank you Anne! It’s definitely a good reminder about the importance of emergency funds. I’m so thankful I had one in place when all of this happened! I’ll be working hard to build it back up over the next few months.

  2. What an awful thing for your sister, her fiancee’s family, and you! I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope you all can be together a lot in the coming days/weeks.

    1. The first few days were terrible. It’s going to take a very long time for things to become more “normal”; I never thought of how many things there are to deal with when someone passes away. Every day gets a little bit better.

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