My dad just died.
It is an odd way to start an email to you since you most likely asked to get my emails to learn about how to grow a business. But we are more than that right?
At least you are more than that to me.
And if you’ve been with me for a while then you know my heart is breaking right now. In case you were wondering where I disappeared to over the next week I wanted you to know what was going on because you are more to me than a client or a potential client.
You are “my people.” We do what we do because of the same reasons – we want to make a difference in the world, we want to help, we want freedom… especially the freedom to spend time with the people we love and care for them.
So for a little while, I need to spend all my time with my family.
I still owe you a few trainings … things like how to have a sales conversation and how to ask for speaking gigs. They will come. I just need a pause.
My dad at 90.
My dad was turning 90 this year. He lived on his own. Played poker twice a week with his buddies, ate cake for breakfast sometimes and was constantly on the hunt for a good joke.
He lived close so I got to see him often.
There were a few things that concerned me as we got closer to his birthday. At 90 he needed to renew his license. What if he couldn’t? What if they said he was no longer fit to drive? What then?
Or what if he fell and needed a rehabilitation center. Or worse, ended up in a Nursing Home.
My wish, deep in my heart was that when he died he would be in his bed, in his home moving from one type of freedom here on earth to a whole other one with my mom in heaven.
It was the wish that came from love. But now that it’s come true, the wish is bittersweet.
Funeral Sales and Free Glasses.
A few weeks ago my dad and I planned his funeral. It wasn’t done because he or I had some premonition he was going to pass.
He’d been asking me to do this for a while and then he saw the funeral home he wanted to use was running an event.
He called me up and told me when he attended a similar event 10 years ago they offered a $500 discount on your funeral if you “booked in advance.” He didn’t want to miss out on that discount this time.
This is my dad.
We took regular trips to furniture stores that opened in the area because if you went in during the grand opening you got a free set of glasses. I have 4 sets.
I was going to be at a business event during the big “funeral sale” but I knew it would bug him if he missed out on a discount. I called the funeral home and explained.
“Any chance we can have a private meeting and still get in on whatever discount you were planning to offer in the room at your upcoming event?”
I knew a “fast action bonus” when I saw it so I was pretty sure they’d be thrilled to lock in a sale. They were and we arranged a private meeting and secured his extra special discount. BONUS – it was $600 (not the $500 we expected)!!!
Maybe having those plans in place helped him release his human experience. I doubt it. That day I spoke with him about updating his health care proxy – seeing how we were dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s”.
I asked him if he wanted to put a DNR (“Do not resuscitate” directive) in place. He said no. In the past, he has refused it. He said “Do whatever it takes to keep me alive” with a silly grin on his face. He loved living.
That day he called me up and asked me to take him to the “funeral sale” I was pretty busy. It would have been so easy to say I was “too busy” to take him. Same with all the furniture store visits. Believe me, there were plenty of times I told him I was “too busy.” But I said “yes” enough that I struck some kind of balance.
Because I’m sitting here missing him today but knowing we had so many good moments together. My bank account of memories is full and that is helping with the grief.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because I know how hard you work to be there for your people. I know that no one understands the balancing act you live.
You may say I should be “further along” in my business but you know deep inside one of the reasons you can’t devote as much time to your business is because you devote it to the people you love.
It is important to take care of yourself and to set boundaries AND it is also important to be there for the people you love. I don’t think we get enough of that message out there in the entrepreneurial space. Actually, I’m not sure we get a lot of that message anywhere.
So if you just needed some encouragement to honor the life balance choices you are making, this is what I want you to know. A week ago I had a fourth set of free glasses sitting on a shelf that felt irrelevant. Today they are one of my most precious possessions.
Let love choose and you will always make the right choice.