Genou: an injury, a day lily, and good company & a Chocolate workshop in France!
Thank you! + Pronunciation lesson by Benjamin Huoy

Mon Beau Pere: my step-father passed away

My one and only beau-père, John.

My step-father passed away on Sunday. We are all in shock and facing the reality of life without this tender and loving man who knew the power of gratitude.

"You and your sister are really nice," my mom said over the phone, as she tried to process the news. "But John--he was the kindest person I have ever met. He was an angel!" Mom's words hung in the air as another, familiar sound, began to fill my head.

Kristi, don't worry about a thing. I recognized John's voice, which was now echoing in my mind. Just enjoy life! How many times had my beau-père repeated this to me? 

John exemplified this trust-the-universe attitude. Day after day he got up, fed the neighborhood cats (which were lined up at his front door), then carefully combed his hair and dressed his best before taking the rickety bus across down town Puerto Vallarta to go to work. In a beautiful resort by the Bay of Banderas, John shared his experience and knowledge with a sales force of young Mexicans. He loved his job! He turned 74 on July 4th, and continued his feed-the-homeless-head-to-work schedule up until Thursday. He died of heart failure, days later, in Javier hospital. He must have shared his trust-the-universe attitude with the nurses, too, as my mom heard laughter each time John called her from room 107. He dialed her up one more time before falling to sleep, to tell her he loved her.

"He told me he loved me 50 times a day!" Mom shared, in one of many fragmented conversations we would have over the next 24 hours--until my sister, Heidi, could fly in from Colorado, to help Mom put one foot in front of the other. 


Before I went to Mexico, last March, I told my family that  yes, I was going to see my Mom. But that I was really making the trip to see my step-dad! I had a feeling I needed to get over there and spend time with John.

My father-in-law picked me up from the airport, then returned an hour later to pick up Heidi and my niece and nephew when they flew in, from Denver.  John cooked for us,  entertained us, and asked us, often, "How are you doing? Can I get you anything? Is everything alright?"

And he always had the same, from-the-heart response. "I'm glad to hear that. Don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy life." He would then disappear, in his neatly-ironed shorts and bright blue golf shirt (the color of his eyes) and leave us to spend time with our mother.

On the telephone with the hospital reception, Sunday, I tried to locate my mom, who had rushed to the hospital a few hours before. As I repeated to the secretary who I was looking for, a light went off and she said, "Oh, yes.  Mr. John."

Mr. John. I knew he had passed, but her words made it seem that he was present. And her adorable (accidental) name, "Mr John," let loose another flood of tender emotions and regrets. I could hear my beau-père's reassuring voice, once again. Don't worry about a thing! Enjoy life!

The day my father-in-law, "Mr John," passed away, I walked around in a haze until I found a better project. I hurried outside to rescue the neglected laurier, or bay leaf tree (bought months ago), and finally planted it--in honor of a man who loved to serve others and who was a great cook!

I knelt beside the little bay leaf tree and made a promise to a certain angel: "I will, once and for all, try my best not to worry about things! And I will enjoy life! Thank you. Thank you, Mr. John. I miss you so much."

My thoughts go out to John's family, and to my dear Mom who is lost right now and who has 50 stray cats pounding on her door each morning. And she is all out of cat food.

To leave a message for my Mom, click here.

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marika Ujvari

Dear Kristi,
Jules sent me an email and my heart goes out to her and the whole family. I am so sorry, but he is in Heaven now and we have to be happy for him. He will be missed but there are many beautiful memories to keep him close to you.
My love to you, your Mom and Heidi.
Big hugs to all of you!!!


My condolences. He was a shining star.


Oh I am so sorry for your loss! My best wishes to you and your sweet family. XO Sally


Words cannot ease the pain of losing a loved one/ I know your mom will miss him dearly as will you all but know people care and will be praying for the repose of his soul as well as those left behind that they find happiness in the near future.

Kristine Hendrickson

Please accept our sincere condolences for the loss of your Step-Father. I am sure he will leave a large hole in your life and especially in that of your mother. It is so hard when you are thousands of miles away.
Kris and Eric

Sue Lennox

Dear Jules:

Love and sympathy to you from very sorry for your loss

Leslie Hall

Sorry to hear about your step dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Thank you for writing about your dear beau pere, Kristi. It's good that you have such fond memories of him and his kind, inspiring ways. I'm so sorry for your loss. God bless.

David Navarre

So sorry for your loss. Your post about him is simply beautiful and I am sure he's reveling in it now.

Mim (Richmond,VA, USA)

Big hugs for Jules and all of the family.


Kristi...Jules...Way too young to pass. So sorry to hear thismshocking news. Please take some comfort in knowing that your family and friends are thinking of you all in this sad time. My condolences to you and your entire family for mourning a life that was so full of life. Be thankful that he passed while still enjoying sickness, no suffering.

There is a saying....John: 1942-2016. What is the most important part of those dates? It is the "Dash" between. His "Dash" was full of life and love.

Take care, my friends...


Deepest sympathies - so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you all.


Dear Kristi and Jules, please accent my condolences. Sending my warmest wishes to you and your family!

Pam Wing

I am so sorry to hear that sad news. It's even harder when family is spread far and wide. My condolences to Jules and I hope she honors John by keeping that special sparkle she has, that joy in so many things. I think from what you have written, John would want that.

Ah, another of life's passages. Often they are difficult but there is still joy to be found. Enjoy every day and I agree, don't worry. I have wasted so many days filled with worry. John had the right way of living.


I am so sorry for your loss. You have my deepest sympathies.

Jacqueline Bucar

So sorry for your loss; I'm sure you are feeling helpless so far away. May the influence he had on you and others remind you that he is still present, just in another form.


Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved husband and stepfather. I pray that your fond memories will sustain you and your family during this time of bereavement. One day at a time!

Dear Jules,

I am so sorry to read of John's passing in Kristi's blog today. In this online world we share, you all seem familiar, warm & real & we will miss him here with you. He seemed (and I know he must have been in the real world) the loveliest of men. Now he is making his spiritual journey where there really are no worries. I send you my best thoughts & hopes for strength & a way to enjoy your life again. From North Carolina to you, love.


So very sorry to hear about your step-father. He must have been an amazing man! (And anyone who feeds stray cats is always a hero in my book). Condolences to your mother and to you.

So sorry for your loss. Some people are sent into our lives to be our guides and others our rewards. He sounds like he was both rolled into one lovely gentleman.



I am so very sorry for your loss. Peace to you, Jules and family.


I am a new reader of your blog, and your beautiful writing brings me in. Condolences to you, your mother, and all of John's acquaintances. -- Susan in Aix-en-Provence


I am so, so sorry for your and your Mom's loss. He will remain always in your heart and will be watching over your Mom from above.


Dear Jules, My heart aches for you that you have lost your angel. He must still be watching you and asking you to buy more cat food and telling you not to worry. It will be OK but it will take time. Sending you courage, strength and love, Judi Wallner
PS You have the best daughter anyone could have.


Toutes mes condoleances. Just remember, he is now telling the angels: "Don't worry about a thing!"


I am so sorry for your family. I will pray for all of you during this difficult time, but especially for your mother who must be lost without this dear man.


So sorry to hear this. My prayers and thoughts for all your famil

Annie Brixner

Dear Kristi, Jules and entire family,
Our deepest sympathy & HUGE love from Seattle for all of you. Thank you for sharing the spirit of incredible "Mr. John" with us. What a wonderful philosophy he had for all of us - "Don't worry - enjoy life!" We wrap you all in love, warmth, peace and blessings. Annie and Mike


How wonderful to have had such a man in your lives. I am sorry for your loss and celebrating the energy he shared with your family that will last among you.

Your beautiful family is in my prayers. I met Kristen and Jean-Marc this summer in St. Cyr. They are so lovely and special.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Kristi and Jules, I am SO sorry; losing John must still seem like a nightmare. John was way too young is leave this world, and obviously he will be missed by many, including the Mexicans he worked with. And the cats. Jules, I hope we can get together this next winter when we come to Sayulita. In the meantime take good care of yourself!

Marilina Santoro

Sorry to hear about your beau pere. What a wonderful man! He's still with your Mom and you in spirit so heed his words, enjoy life, the best advice in the world. Love, Marilina

Patricia Sands

I'm sending my deepest sympathy to you and your family, Kristi. Your posts about your step-father were always so filled with love. You truly shared with us his beautiful philosophy about life. He has has left a legacy of light, love and wonderful memories for all of you. "You will never forget someone who gave you so much to remember." Je t'embrasse.

Pam Burkhardt

I am so sorry for your loss. May you find peace in the love of your family.

Rachel LeBlanc

Dear Kristi and Jules,

So sorry to hear of John's passing but what an inspiration he was. Be grateful and thankful for the wonderful time spent with a wonderful human being.

Big hugs, Rachel

Linda R.

Dear Kristi,
My heart goes out to you, your mom and all your family in the loss of a beloved family member. May wonderful memories as well as the love and prayers of family and friends surround you and yours at this time.


So very sorry for your loss. How fortunate you are to have such kindness and love in your life. It does not end with death. The love and kindness continues as Kristi's post demonstrates. Her remarks about John and his impact on others touched me, and I am sure all of those who read the post. May your sadness not overwhelm you. May you find comfort and joy in the love that remains.


Kristi- I'm so sad to hear your news. I can tell that John touched so many people in his life. They remember him, too. Condolences to you and your mother.


I am so sorry to read of 'Mr. John's' passing. It sounds like he was a special person and will be missed by all who met him. I, too, lost my husband over 14 years ago. He will always be thought of and missed, but the pain lessens and just leaves the gratitude and appreciation for the time you did have. I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.


my lovely friend - a beautiful posting - you've done him proud & reminded us all at the same time of the importance of living in the current moment, because it's actually the only one we all have. Big hugs xoxox


So sorry to hear of John's passing. Be well. XOXO

Sue J.

my deepest sympathies with the loss of your John. wishing you courage and strength.

Barbara Blizzard

So sorry to hear of the loss of such a gentle giant - may all your family take some comfort in your wonderful memories

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Dear Kristi, Jules and family,

I'm so sorry to hear we have lost another "earth angel". I'm typing through tears, so very touched and saddened by your family's loss. Mr. John certainly lived with grace and a tenderness of heart, a precious gift to all.

Even through such sadness you manage to lift our spirits with your beautiful words, another precious gift. I'm sending prayers and lots of love your family's way, especially to dear Jules.

With love,


Joanne Ablan

Wishing you the peace and comfort of your memories of John's love and the hope that those memories will
keep you safe and comfort you in your bereavement. With the passage of healing time, may those memories
of the love you received from John be the model for the love you give to others. You have been blessed by
the daily love of an extraordinary human being. Count your blessings and make your blessings count!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Hoping that happy memories of John will help your family through this and sustain you all as you move forward. Such a loss is difficult enough, an unexpected loss is devastating.

And to Jules ~ John must have been the light of your life as Kristi has described him and the two of you together. Don't ever let that light go out, carry it with you forever. May he shine in your heart always. Wishing you strength and peace...


Very sad news for you and your family... John sounds like one of those people who are a blessing to the world. May you be comforted in your happy memories of him, Kristi.


So sorry to hear of the loss of such a bright and warm man in your family. He has just stepped into another room and is still with you. May God Bless

Sally Richter

my deepest sympathy. Shedding tears and thinking of your family

Sharon in N.C.

Dear Jules, I am so sorry. I know you will miss him. I am sending warm thoughts and prayers to you.


Dear Jules et Kristi:
I am sending you my condolences on the loss of your husband and beau-pere.
He will be forever remembered for the loving man he was and the light he brought into so many lives. Janine

Susan Carter

Dear Jules,
I know how your heart must be aching right now, but take some solace in the fact that he lived a wonderful giving life and died without pain and suffering. Hugs and prayers to all of you at this difficult time.


Kristen, may you be comforted in your loss by knowing you loved him deeply to the very end of his days...and THAT is worth a lot! That we should all share his admirable quality of compassion for "the other"!

Bonnie in Colorado


Kristi, Jules and family,
I am so very sorry to hear this sad news. What a blessing he must have been! Just seeing his picture you can tell he was a very kind man! Grateful that you have such wonderful memories to hold on to as you navigate life without him.
Offering up prayers for comfort now.

Trish Nickell

I am so sorry to read about the loss of Mr. John. Sounds like he was a truly loving, sincere man. Thank you for sharing this painfully sad, but full of joy, story, Kristi.

Susan Stafford

Kristi, Jules, and family,

Please accept my condolences to you all for the loss of such a wonderful man. He seems to have known how to fill the world with kindness and joy.



Very sorry for your loss, my condolences .


I lost my father-in-law last year. It was such a blessing to know him. Some people accept you for who you are and he was one of them. It sounds like John was one of those people too. Je vous adresse mes sincères condoléances.

Kathryn Duchene

My condolences to you, your mother and your stepfather's near and dear. He looks and sounds like he was a lovely person. Thank you for sharing him and his words of wisdom with us.

Jo-Anne Yurosko

So sorry to hear of the passing of someone who enriched every life he touched. You were blessed to have his love and share his life. Live the message he gave to you- do not worry, let your light shine for others, so his love lives on through your life. What a delight it must have been to know him. Jo-Anne

Sue Kelly

Praying for you. God is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help. Sue

Sandra Alderson

Dear Kristi and family: So sorry to hear of 'Mr John's' passing, You will all remember him for the lovely man he was, don't be afraid to be reminded of him, embrace remembering and talking about him, that way he lives in your hearts forever and his goodness can be passed on to others.


Prayers for comfort and peace for you all. I'm a bit confused though. Is he your step dad or father in law?


Oh, Kristi, I am so sorry for your loss! It's so hard on those left behind when someone leaves so suddenly but a comfort to know he didn't suffer. And he got to tell your mom one last time that he loved her. What a blessing to have such wonderful memories of a loving and generous man. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.


Sending loving hugs your way......

faye lafleur

My deepest condolences to you, your mom, and his family...I feel how much you loved him and how much he loved all of you. Love is such a powerful thing. Another reminder of how short life is and how quickly it goes by. I will look up at the starry sky tonight and think of him and all of you.


What a terribly sad thing to have happened. Please know that I will pray for "Mr. John", for you and for your family as you work through the sadness. May God's choicest blessings be with you all.

Kate and Bill

What a perfectly lovely tribute, Kristi, starting with the ebullient, so-very-alive portrait. Much sympathy to all of you as you deal with this enormous loss. Kate and Bill in Vermont


Dear Kristi, dear Jules, toutes mes condoleances. Very beautiful, touching writing.
Rest in peace, Mr. John: I'll follow your advice and I'll make my best to worry less and enjoy life more.


Our dear Kristi,
Psalm 33:22. "Lord,be upon us,just as we hope in you".
There are no words to convey our very deepest sympathy to dear Jules,to you,and to Heidi.
You honor John by trying to follow his words in not worrying about anything and enjoying life.And!You have given all of us a precious gift in knowing this man,and his wisdom, shared with us through your beautiful words and,always, inspiration.
We send courage and strenth.
Natalia. xo

Phil Anderson

Dear Kristi,

Very sorry to hear of your loss; life seems so fleeting now as we all age. I was confused at first in reading of your loss in re of 'my father in law' but believe John, being the husband of your mother, is actually your 'step father' and not your 'father in law' but loss is loss and pain is pain so we grieve with you.

Phil & Sharon in California

D.L. Mitchell

Please accept my deepest condolences. We are only what we are remembered by others. And by that account, your father in law he was a man much loved. Take comfort in the fact that both you and he were lucky to have been in this life together. Peace be with you and with his spirit.

Constance LaJoie

So sorry for your loss - my condolences to you and your family. May you find comfort in your memories.

joy wood


Kristine, Dallas

Kristi- I am sovery sorry to hear this. May you all find peace as you move forward without your sweet John.


He said "I love you" 50 times a! must be wonderful to be the recipient of that. We can all step-up our games to follow in John's loving ways.

So sorry for you and your mom and all of your family.


I was so sorry to read about the loss of your beau-pere. He will surely live on in your heart. My deepest sympathy to your mother, especially, because the sudden losses pierce us so. Your whole family is in my thoughts. Sending you wishes of comfort, release of tears, arms around each other, and finally laughter and gratitude that he was in all of your lives.


I'm really sorry to heart that - he looked like a beautiful man. Kim

Faye in Glenden Beach, OR

Dear Jules,

I am so sorry for your loss. I have followed you on FB and enjoyed your posts & comments. Please take care of yourself, and remember he will always be in your heart.


Chère Kristi I am terribly terribly sorry to hear this sad news. Please give Jules my love. Tell her she is in my thoughts and my prayers. God bless. Cindy

Bruce in Northwest Connecticut

Kristi —

I'm so, so sorry. My deepest condolences to you and to Jules.


Dear Jules, I am so sorry to hear about John. I have been to PV a million times and if I were not going to Paris for the month of September I would come to PV TO help you with whatever. Even to sit with you in silence in remembrance of your dearly beloved John and of course to feed the cats. My thoughts are with you. Jennie Quinn San Francisco

JoDell Montoya

Wow what a beautiful tribute to your Father in Law and how very blessed you were to have him in your life. We look to the heavens often to talk to God and the Angels and sometimes we are walking amongst them - how grateful you must be.
Blessings and Peace to you and your loved ones


Kristi, I'm sure your Mom realizes what a treasure she attracted when she met John. But it's in reading your story today about how YOU felt about him -- and a stepdad to boot -- that his gentle soul is mirrored. Great stepdads are God's angels sent to give you a hand. How lucky were you all to have him in your life. I offer my condolences but in fact, he'll stay with you always.

Lee & Maureen Adams

Cher Kristi et Jules, our hearts and prayers go out. To you, your sister and especially Jules. Mr John sounds like a wonderful gentleman with a great attitude toward life.
Our time here is so very short and fragile so we try to "make the most of everyday"!!
When you speak to your mom again give her our love and prayers, from the "crazy Americans" that disturbed her nap back during her visit to Provence in 2008.
Lots of hugs,
Lee & Maureen

Kristin Espinasse

John is my step-father. I made a mistake,  writing father-in-law (though beau-père is the translation for both)


I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. John! Hugs and prayers for all of you!

Jan R.

Mes condoleances, So very sorry for the loss of your dear beau-pere,

Anne Umphrey

My sympathies to you and your family. May you be comforted by your memories.

Judith Dunn

... Derar Kristi and extended family...Mr. John certainly sounded like a very special man to each and everyone he came in contact with. Apparently he lived life to the fullest every day with all of his caring and giving to others. Losing someone you care about is just about the hardest event we all have to go thru on this earth. Your Mom will need all the love and support you and your family can summon up and give to her. She seems to be another special person from all we have seen and read about her. It is time to focus deep inside of yourselves and find the courage you will need to help her thru this time of sorrow. My sincere condolences to you Mom and your family. Bon courage, Judi Dunn, tallahassee, Fl.

Linda D.

I'm so sorry to hear of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. <3

KP Gallant

What an elegant, distinguished looking man. Your life and the world, is much better for having known him and his love. My sincere condolences.

Diane Scott

Dearest Jules,

Words cannot express the heartache, no, the heart-loss -- the complete emptiness -- you must be feeling right now. No salve for your pain. John must have been an extraordinary gentleman and gentle man. You must call yourself rich for having had the privilege of holding his love in your hands. I grieve for you.

My love to you,
Diane Scott


So sorry for your loss.

Bettye Dew

Your vivid depiction of your step-father brought tears to my eyes, Kristi. I felt I could see and hear Mr. John myself, his encouragement exhorting us all to be positive and savor life. Each day is precious, he might say. My sympathy is with you, your mom, your sister,and his other loved ones during this sad time. May your memories of his cheerful and caring ways bring comfort.

Beth Bright

Oh so enjoyed reading your story but sorry to learn of your loss. Yes your step daddy taught you well, don't worry and to live life. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of loss.
Beth /Okoboji Iowa

Alison Kroon

Toutes mes condoléances from here in New Zealand.

Vance Anderson-Inks

I had a cup of coffee almost every morning at Victors with John. He took such wonderful care of Jules, and loved her so much. I lost another best friend on Sunday. I Had known him since I was 14. Oh Dear, so many memories and feelings. Bless you and your family, especially sweet Jules.

Mary and Rod Neely

So sorry for your loss. What beautiful words from Mr John you have shared with us


Blessings to all of the family.

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