Last Saturday evening, my younger brother called me to say our mother had died. She was 89. She had been ill, but was still at her home, and in fact she died there. I made arrangements to return to Vancouver from Ottawa and of course put aside regular business, with the exception of this blog. Readers here would not know that the regular daily entries were written in the backdrop of funeral preparations, the funeral, and family gatherings and grief. I chose then not to show this very private part of my life in public — and this blog has a daily schedule to keep.
Nevertheless, as I return home and to my “normal” life, I’m reminded how the life story evolves and how we as individual all have our own stories, families, personal experiences, and crises. These events influence our perceptions of ourselves, and our decisions. We don’t live in isolation.
The grief/shock of my mother’s death is much less dramatic than that of my father, who died in November, 1979, as I worked on the evening shift writing headlines at the Bulawayo Chronicle in Rhodesia turning into Zimbabwe. Communications between Vancouver and central Africa were not easy, in the pre-Internet era, and I didn’t know my father was critically ill until just a few hours before he died. I made it home just in time for that funeral — and in the months immediately following, experienced many dramatic changes in my personality and perspectives; which continue to influence me today.
There is a tendency in business to advocate for systems, processes, and procedures, and of course there are plenty of systems, processes and procedures with death, funerals, and family changes. Yet, underlying the stories are our own human, individual perspectives and memories, coupled with values and close relationships.
In this regard, I’m truly fortunate. I grew up in a home with love and now share that with my wife and son (who also attended the funeral, but have returned home on a separate flight.)
It is good to put things into perspective. It is wise to connect with and remember the people we love.