I have been working for three weeks trying to finish many topics that have been in my mind for months. I am also currently working on a few book ideas, designing some coaching workshops and building programs to help people better themselves.
With all this on my mind, I was looking at my blog and I realized that my last post was in the beginning of December. It was a great idea at the time, but it seems like a very long time ago. Since that post, I went on two trips – one for business to the west coast and the other to Florida for a family visit to see my brother Ken get his college Diploma.
After all that, my plans were to be home in Texas until spring. My mom was going to stay with us through the winter and that was something I was looking forward to. After Christmas, we started those plans, preparing for Mom to arrive, getting one of our condos ready to rent, and starting renovation plans on another that was due to be empty at the end of the year.
So why in all of this did I forget to put together and keep some posts up on blog, little tidbits to keep those people like you, who are regular readers of my blog, motivated in life? Well, Mom arrived December 29th and for New Year’s Eve we were planning a great time of family at home playing board games and having a champagne toast to bring in the New Year. While on the way back from shopping with my mom late afternoon New Year’s Eve, we received a phone call that my Dad had passed away. This sent both my mom and me into shock.
Here my dad had been worried about Mom driving to Texas all by herself, while he headed back home to the Poconos of PA to work a part-time job he enjoyed for the winter. He had had a hard day and, feeling back pains, he went in for a massage, and just stopped breathing while trying to get help so his back felt better.
I know where my Dad is; we have a faith in Jesus as our Savior, and I know, because of that faith, where he is. He is far better off than you or I are in this not-so-perfect world. If you don’t have that faith, I will be glad to share that with you anytime in an email. That is not what this post is about, though.
The next few days were spent getting flights back to Pennsylvania for my mom and me and getting my brothers all together there, as well as other close family. Within three days we all arrived to the house my mom and dad have called home since 1988, when they built it. We all got to talk and cry and tell each other how much we love each other. As happens in close-knit communities, friends, family, and those around us all jumped in to bring food and make sure we had things taken care of. I was the first son to get here from afar, and 20 days later I’m still here, helping my mom clean up things around the house, and get her life back together.
In my own world back in Dallas, I have an ideal life, as you may have read in past blogs. But right now, I’m out of my ideal world, and it’s hard for me to write or think. So this is why it’s taken me so long to write to you, my blog readers, and lets you know why I have not kept up with you.
This blog is about some of the lessons that I have taken away this week while out moving things of my dad’s to help my mom move forward.
Yesterday I started to move a log splitter from the yard; it was left here a long time ago, and belonged to Dad’s friend up the road. I spend about two hours getting it ready to move, hooking it up to my dad’s truck and so I could take it up the road, not even a tenth of a mile. When stopping on the hill in front the friend’s house. I parked the truck and put on the brake. After getting out of the truck I then realized the brake didn’t hold and down the hill goes the truck, into the woods.
In all of the mess getting someone to pull the truck out, I got to meet a few of the people who live in the development where my parents have lived for 22 years. One gentleman I visited with asked if my dad is the one the passed away recently? I told him yes, and then we began to talk about what happened, as he is in the medical field. I told how my dad had heart problems, and had decided not to take his medication any more. Instead he took vitamins that made him feel good. I’d visited with my dad’s older sister last week and she told me she had recently lectured him on taking his meds. Not taking this medication caused his cholesterol to clog his arteries, just two years after he had a triple bypass.
So, back to the conversation on the roadside. I told Dad’s neighbor how Dad lived a full life, and how he did it his way. This is something I claim to do myself. I live my life on my terms, and write a lot in my blogs and books, as well as talking about it in seminars, speeches I give, etc. We need to live our lives like my dad did. He did it his way. While I am mad that he did not do what the doctor ordered, thus causing us to have a sudden loss, the life he lived was what I teach people to do all the time.
So my words of wisdom in all of this today are these: yes you need to live your life on your terms. But be prepared to accept the results of those choices, and think of how it affects others. There are three things I can think of right off to help those around you accept your choices.
1. Have a written plan for others to know your wishes, in case of things like sudden loss. In the house here, it’s been 20 days of working to put things together that Dad had let go. Most of us didn’t know how to work certain things he had. That’s why his truck got stuck in the woods and I had to get help to pull it out. It was because I didn’t know that the brakes did not hold the truck.
A neighbor of my dad built a lovely chalet that we stay in when visiting. It was built around the same time as my dad’s house. Charlie actually made written instructions of how to open and shut up the house when using it so you know each problem you will face and how to handle it when staying there. Charlie passed away about ten or so years ago but his kids still maintain this winter getaway for skiing – with all those same notes.
I could not tell you some of those same things about my mom and dad’s house. Like I always say, have a plan that extends past you. If the company or business you have has a plan on the table, chances are it will carry on when you are gone.
2. Be a giving person. There is no way I could have gotten a lot of the things done around here for my mom without the help of those great people who my dad spent years helping, teaching, coaching and mentoring. They all came to me and my mom and brothers as soon as they found out. The first words from their mouths were “I’m sorry about your dad, what can I do to help?”
If my dad had not been such a giving person do you think everyone would have jumped in to help? Most likely a few would be here, but they probably would have been those people who were just out to get something for themselves. That’s not how it is in this neighborhood. I used to say the people were so cold up here in the northeast, but after seeing all who came right out to help when I was in trouble, I have to revise my opinion. They might have been cold to a stranger, but my dad was always willing to help them, so they jumped to help me. So if you are a giving person yourself, it will show when you have gone.
3. Always be willing to say the words “I love you.” There are a lot of things that I still wish Dad could show me to help take care of his stuff. But the one thing that I will never have to worry about is my dad’s love. While I’m not the guy to run to the bar and tell everyone of my friends “I love you,” to my mom, my dad , my brothers, my daughter, cousins, to all of my family, “I love you” is usually the way I end the conversation. Do the people in your life know that you love them?
While this may not be a blog of great wisdom today, I wanted to share why I have not been posting much. In 2011 I will have a posting schedule up and I plan to be consistent with all that I do online. I want to me more like Steve Scott, who posts great content on his blog every day. We’ll start out working for once a week, with goals to post two or three times a week by yearend. We still post a small tidbit on Facebook each day, as well as personal growth tips on Twitter daily.
If you are not following us, look for Rocker Life Coach on Twitter and Facebook and friend up with us there.
One thing I look forward to this year is having guests posting on my blog occasionally. I have a great team of people who work with me to read these blogs, edit them, and keep me on track with the goals of my company. They will be posting some, but if you have a story that you would like to tell that you believe can help or motivate others to get through a situation in their lives, write us and we will review it to see if your idea fits into our goals and mission.
Make 2011 a great year in your life.