MILWAUKEE, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert 'Reb' Rose and Ashlee met in high school and knew they were destined to be together. After many years of marriage, three daughters and a bright future ahead of them, the unthinkable happened and Reb didn't make it home.

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This is the story of how Ashlee and her daughters were able to move forward in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Reb and Ashlee had decided early on what the ideal framework of their family would be and they finally had it. They had three healthy daughters – Rylee, Macee and Preslee. Reb had a good job and Ashlee was able to be a stay-at-home mom to their girls. Life was good.

"Reb was such a loving person," remembers Ashlee. "He did everything big. He always had a huge smile and always made everybody laugh."

Reb worked hard so his family would never have to worry. So much so, that Ashlee relied on Reb to manage the finances and develop a financial plan on behalf of the family. Part of his plan included meeting with Mike Slabic, a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor based in Houston.

"Reb reached out to Northwestern Mutual to discuss his financial goals," said Mike. "He felt he was probably underinsured and outlined his fears that if anything happened to him, there was no plan in place to take care of his family."

December 1, 2008 started out just like any other day for Reb and Ashlee. Filled with the normal chaos of getting children off to school and Reb off to work, they had no idea it would be their last morning together as a family.

A few short hours later, life would never be the same for Ashlee and the girls.

"I kept calling and calling...I just knew something was wrong," recalls Ashlee. "I didn't know what to do next. I didn't even know what to do first."

"Out of all these what-ifs and uncertainties came Mike. He outlined what Reb had done for us. How he looked out for us," said Ashlee. "Mike provided answers and guidance, which gave us time to grieve and learn how to move forward in a world without Reb."

Today, Ashlee continues to work with Mike to carry on Reb's vision of financial planning. While Rylee, Macee and Preslee miss their father terribly, they honor him by remembering his love for them.

"We have pictures all over the house of Reb and the girls," said Ashlee. "We talk about him all the time and know that he is always with us."

Reb and Ashlee's story is part of Northwestern Mutual's ongoing Client Stories series, which shares the inspiring, first-hand accounts of clients that have faced seemingly overwhelming obstacles.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2013 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 156 years. As a mutual company with $1.4 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual