Seven years ago today was literally the hardest day of my life.
I lost my father that morning to a massive heart attack. How could someone with the biggest heart have a bad one?
The days after my father’s passing taught me more about life and my father than I ever knew, and I carry that with me every single day. I knew my dad was a remarkable man, but I had no clue how many lives he touched on a daily basis.
At calling hours we stood and met many wonderful people and heard amazing stories. My father was a courier, was a blue collar worker his entire life, but he had an impact on others because of his kindness and huge heart. He was humble and kind.
As the line wrapped around the building of the funeral home, my family was amazed at what we heard.
We met two ladies who were dressed in hijabs, and were custodians where my dad delivered packages. They said “Mr Jim” was the ONLY person that spoke to them every day. He gave them his newspaper so they could practice English and learn more about the United States. My dad cared about them.
We met Mohammed, a young man, who just moved to Ohio away from family and friends. My dad had talked to us about training this young man, but there was more to this friendship than we knew. At the calling hours Mohammed handed my mother an card. She accepted it thinking it was a sympathy card. That night we opened the card. In the card was money. My dad helped Mohammed buy his first truck so he could start working and delivering packages. Mohammed wasn’t finished paying off his debt before my father passed, so he found money to give to us. My dad was invested in making Mohammed’s dream come true.
As we stood in the receiving line talking and hearing stories about my father I realized that life isn’t about fame or notoriety. It isn’t about being rich or showing off what you have. It’s about being humble, being genuinely kind and giving all that you have to others.
My father’s service showed who he was. To me, he was my dad. To others he was the man they looked up to, respected, honored and loved.
As I move forward in my life and career I always think about my father (I do every day). I don’t need to be known for what I do. I don’t need to have a recognizable name. I just want others to know I care, that I am invested, that I am there wherever and whenever I’m needed.
Always be humble.
Always be kind.