Wow – another challenging week. I had finished some US client work and was visiting my parents when my father’s health significantly declined (he had been fighting liver cancer for 2 years). I was lucky to be with him and my mother to the end.
When someone is facing death you never know how they will be. Although he loved life, as he neared the end my father was incredible. He would joke around with the hospice staff and always be quick with a smile, even when he could not talk (and he still liked the banana popsicles that he could suck on!)
After celebrating his 52nd wedding anniversary with my mother, he said he was ready to go. A few days later we both held his hand and said our goodbyes whilst he took his last breath. It is a surreal experience and I am going to miss one of my best friends, but I am glad that he went so quickly and without pain.
The next morning I jumped into his car to run-up to the shops. As fate would have it, the car had a flat tyre. So with a few tears in my eyes, I changed the tyre, just the way he taught me so many years ago.
As my father, Larry Stein, was such a kind soul, many people appreciated his advice, I’d like to share some of the wisdom he shared with me:
- Be Kind and Smile. Sometimes we get so busy with work and other tasks that we can be a bit robotic and abrupt when dealing with other people (including our loved ones). Rather than getting upset with others, my father would just smile. You get a lot further with others when you smile and be kind.
- Put Family First. My father loved our family. He loved my mother and his grandkids and would do anything for them. When I was a kid he would work long hours to provide, but when he got home he would always have time for me. I also saw this when he was with his grandchildren how he spent time with them. This included having them ride on his John Deere ride-on-mower until they would fall asleep—he had such a big smile on his face. He showed me the importance of putting family first. Remember work is temporary, but family is forever (so don’t wait to let them know how much you love them!)
- Leave a Positive Legacy. This is something that he did not talk to me about, however, it is something that he has left. Once he passed I posted the news on Facebook and the comments that came back were incredible. High school friends from over three decades ago remembered him and his kindness. Many also mentioned that he was one of the best bosses they ever had and that the advice he provided made a massive impact on their lives. Legacy is about what you leave behind that others remember. Live your life to leave a positive legacy.
I am so thankful that I was with my father until the end. The wisdom that he has shared with me will guide me for the rest of my life. I love you Dad.