Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reports and recommendations are always independent and objective. Within four years, I have lost both my mother and father. After my mother died, my father made me a beneficiary of his life insurance policy. At the time of my father's death, I could afford the ticket to greet him, but not much else. The payment of his life insurance allowed me to buy my first home and it completely changed my life. When I saw what life insurance could do, I purchased my policy to protect my wife. Do you need a life insurance policy? Protect your loved ones today with a quote from Policygenius »On Halloween morning 2013, I received the first of a series of three calls that would change my life forever. It was early, around 7 in the morning, and receiving calls from family members at that time is never good news, unless it's your birthday. This was not my birthday. This was the morning I found out that my mom was dead. I had missed the call, but when I checked my phone and saw a voice message from the contact voice with the label Mom and Dad, my stomach fell. My body could hear the news I was about to learn, well before I answered that call. Delaying the transition from living a life that included a mom to one without a little longer, I went to the kitchen to smoke a cigarette before calling my dad back. Five minutes later, I felt that she had died of heart failure, mainly caused by a lifelong smoker. Still, I haven't regretted even a little of that cigarette: I had spent the time necessary to inhale it thinking about her and the way my little family was going to be much smaller. That answering machine was saved on my phone for four years, until mom and dad were no longer an applicable voice in my contacts. Losing my father On December 2, 2017, I received an answering machine from my father's sister-in-law, who lived the street by him. My father had spent a lot of time with my aunt and uncle since my mother's death, and I was glad that he had people who looked after him in such close proximity. I have experienced many different places in my life: California, Chicago, New York, Washington state, but currently resides in New Orleans. The morning I received this call, my wife and I were getting ready to go get our Christmas tree. I listened to the message: "Kelly, it's an imperative that you call us back immediately", and we became fraught with formality. The cold tone. As an only child, my mom, dad and grandparents from my mother were the main focus of what I considered my family. I had other family members, of course, but they weren't the type to leave messages using words like "imperative." "This is a word that would use a banknote collector, not someone on your family tree, regardless of whether you shared DNA with them. My father's body had been found by his younger brother, a kind of guy he had lived with for a while, while trying to change his life. When I got home a few days later, I was alone in my father's bedroom, putting together clues, breathing in the smell of him and the residual smell of my mother, even after all those years. His cause of death was described to me by coroner of the small town where he lived as a serious heart attack. His true phrasing was "the creator of the widow." Since no one was widowed, in my mind I renamed him as "the orphan producer." He collapsed in the bathroom. My uncle said the noise was so loud that it shook the whole house, making it run to see what had happened. Standing in the bathroom, I saw the intimacy of death. The humility of it all: he had a pair of clean underpants folded on the bench next to the sink and a pair of socks. He was probably going to cool off for bed. I took the underwear and threw them in the kitchen trash. Half annoyed by the constant absence of garbage cans in men's bathrooms, but above all worried about wanting to preserve the dignity of my father. There was not much I could do at that moment, frozen in pain and staring at a daunting list of immediate tasks that I had no idea how to complete, but I would have been damned if someone had seen my father's underpants. The payment of my father's life insurance was more than I could imagine. My father was a planner, an organizer until the minute of a certain day. Shortly after my mother died, he had prepared for me a handwritten list of instructions, very simple, very similar to a dad. Who to call when he dies. Where he wants to be buried. What to do with his things. And how to apply for your life insurance. It had made me the only beneficiary, immediately after my mother's death, but I wasn't aware of what amount it could be. I thought it would be bad to ask, so I didn't. When I called the insurance company to begin the process of filing the claim, I found that the payment would not only cover the full cost of his burial, but would also provide a rest that I later bought for my first home. The careful planning of my father not only made a tragic event a little more manageable, but it created a sense of security in my life that I never imagined I could have at the time of my death father, I could afford the plane ticket there, but not much else. If he hadn't had life insurance, and if he hadn't told me directly about how to apply for it, I don't know what I would have done. His ashes would probably be in a can of coffee on my desk and would not have been buried in a beautiful mausoleum near my mother. Getting My Life Insurance Policy From my example, I bought my own policy and talked to my wife about it. For $ 44 a month, I'm covered until I'm 95 and my wife will get $ 77,000 when I die – enough to make the loss just a little easier. These are never pleasant conversations to have, but a much less pleasant scenario would be trying to understand everything during a tragedy, when all you have energy for is crying. My father was a rock when I was growing up. Support at every step. And it remained so until the day of his death. Stick it.