It's with a heavy and grieving heart I write the following on behalf of my entire family...
In the early morning of December 18th, 2020 my family and I unexpectedly lost our father, Frank R. Barlow. While the situation still feels incredibly surreal to us all, and we're very much in a time of great uncertainty, there are many things that are certain.
For anyone who knew Frank, it was as clear as the sun in the sky that he was a man of strength, honor, and integrity. If he considered you a friend or part of his family, you unequivocally had his love and his loyalty. Words like "Friend" and "Family" were something he took very seriously, so if you ever had a problem, and Frank had some kind of means to help, without even so much as a question he would always be there to provide aid and support. Whether or not it was at his own detriment.
That was just the kind of person Frank was. He was just that sort of guy you always enjoyed being around. Someone you could share a beer and a good laugh with. Someone you could play a game of pool or cards with for hours on end. Someone you could have a conversation with on just about any topic, and you knew he'd always sell it to you straight.
"Work hard and dedicate yourself to those you love." was one our father's biggest mottoes, and he lived that motto everyday. Frank worked a near thankless 12-14 hour work day, 6 days a week for decades, simply to provide for his wife (Darlene L. Barlow) and his five children. While there were many great years we all got to share together as a happy and loving family, life sometimes would come at us all fast and threw numerous curve-balls our way.
As all of these unforeseen rough spots were encountered, one after the other, they eventually accumulated throughout the years. Hard choices would have to be made, sacrifices would have to become common, and necessary loans would have to be taken to make sure we as a family had some degree of safety and security.
Sadly those loans were sizable burdens, so much so, that Frank knew he would work well into his elder years to pay them off, but it was a price he was willing to pay. Even while taking care of an ailing wife who's health had begun to fail her.
At the end of 2013, Darlene, the doting mother of his children, the love of his life, was tragically bedridden by consecutive strokes. Providing the 24/7 care she required became his soul task for the next six years, but after her passing in June of 2019, Frank endeavored to come to terms with his grief, while always trying to keep hope for a brighter future.
Taking care of his debts to make a better life for his children became Frank's new goal, and he once again assumed the role of being a pillar, and cornerstone to us all. If we were ever to have that vision of a better life that he wanted us to share, more work would have to be done, and so he fought on.
That is perhaps the biggest thing I want everyone to take away from this writing. At his core, Frank was a fighter through and through, and even though he ultimately lost his last great battle, I want everyone to know that he died with his hand clinched in a fist. Even though the Grim Reaper won out, he had to earn this victory, because I know for a fact Frank furiously fought until his final moments.
While dad did struggle for the greater part of a year with the depression of losing his wife, my siblings and I are absolutely certain that he did not want to leave us this soon.
Regardless, it was unfortunately his time to go.
Now it is up to us as Frank and Darlene's children to keep the fight going. We are their legacy, and to keep going forward, living life to the fullest, was exactly what they would have wanted us to do. They would not have wanted any one of us to stop living our life solely because they were no longer here to share in any of it.
Our mother used to say "You honor the life that was, by living in the life that is."
Unfortunately we're not in a good position to keep fighting on our own terms. Frank passed away before he could properly write a Last Will and Testament, so we now find ourselves in a predicament where we must act fast if we're to have a chance at keeping everything our parents painstakingly worked their entire lives to achieve.
I am the only member of my family with gainful employment, as my brothers abstained from regular work to assist my father in taking care of my mother for the past six years. My sister remains unemployed due to the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus that has spread wide across the nation. These factors have prevented all of them from gaining any kind of work at this time, but the issue of my father's debt still needs to be addressed.
My brothers currently reside at my father's home, and even though I work in medicine (I am a night-time ER worker at my local hospital) I do not personally possess the means, let alone the funds to effectively eliminate this debt to allow my brothers to stay at that residence.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I sacrificed spending time with my father, as I didn't want to take the risk of him contracting the illness. I know that I will always lament that lost time. There were so many activities and adventures Dad still wanted to do. Goals he was yet to achieve, and victories to share with those he held close, but matters are, simply as they are, and we can't change them despite how much we may desire to.
I can at the very least take some measure of solace that I got to know my father and my mother as people, and I'm ecstatic to say that they were all-around great people. In fact, they were two of the the best people I've ever had the privilege of knowing personally, as they weren't just my parents, they were also my friends, and I'm always going to miss the friendship they ceaselessly provided to me.
I'll forever be grateful to know that we had some damn cool parents who went well above and beyond the call of duty for us at all times. When it came to the friends I made over the years, Frank & Darlene welcomed each of them in with open arms, declaring that "If my son is watching out for you, we're going to watch out for you too!"
It's so hard to say goodbye to them, and a small part of me will probably never truly let go of them, but at least I can say that Frank & Darlene are finally reunited after such an arduous seven years...
My family and I (Justin Barlow, Nathan Barlow, Sarah Barlow, Christian Barlow, & Steven Barlow) humbly ask any and all who may be reading this GoFundMe campaign to help us in relieving the the debt that my father has left behind. To help us pay for his cremation, and to cover any foreseeable legal fees that are sure to come as this situation resolves.
We can never truly thank you all enough for the aid. Blessings be upon you all for taking the time to read not only Frank's story, but the story of the Barlow Family for the last several years.
From the bottom of our hearts... THANK YOU ALL!
$950.00 to pay for Frank's cremation services and Death Certificate
$13,000.00 to pay off the Home Equity Loan against Frank's home property.
$8,050.00 to pay for legal/lawyer's fees, as well as taxes/potential expenses etc.
Nathan Barlow (the campaign creator/curator) will be in charge of seeing that all funds from the GoFundMe will be spent accordingly towards these affairs. The sooner the goal is met, the sooner the Barlow family can move forward with the intent to sell Frank's home property, as to acquire the means of purchasing new lodgings for Justin, Christian, and Steven.
Again, I thank you all for your help with this. It has been incredibly difficult for my family and I to even entertain asking for the aid of others...