Grieving father’s warning to workaholic parents goes viral

A tech executive in Portland in a LinkedIn post shared how the death of his 8-year-old son forced him to rethink how he has oriented his life around work, and he urged other parents to do the same.

In the viral post J.R. Storment detailed how his days had been dominated by work since he co-founded the Portland cloud management start-up Cloudability in 2011, the same month he had twin boys.

He wrote about the regret he felt about things he wished he had done differently with his son Wiley, who died unexpectedly in his sleep last month of complications from epilepsy.

“A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time,” Storment wrote.

Parents frequently schedule one-on-one meetings with co-workers, but do they schedule them with their kids? “If there’s any lesson to take away from this, it’s to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter,” he said in his essay.

The post struck a chord with working parents trying to juggle children and jobs in an age when technology dictates that work begins the moment you pick up your phone in the morning and stops only when you force yourself to put it down.

On the morning Storment would learn that his son had died, he rose early for back-to-back meetings and left without saying goodbye, completing two work calls before arriving at the office.

When the call came from his wife, Storment was in a meeting with employees in his Portland office regarding paid time off. He had just told them he hadn’t taken more than a contiguous week off in eight years.

Storment hasn’t worked since Wiley died, and he said he’s struggling with how to return “in a way that won’t leave me again with the regrets I have now.”

“To be honest, I’ve considered not going back,” Storment wrote. “But I believe in the words of Kahlil Gibran who said, ‘Work is love made visible.’ To me, that line is a testament to how much we gain, grow and offer through the work we do. But that work needs to have a balance that I have rarely lived.”

In the post, Storment described a happy memory that has taken on a sorrowful significance now: dancing with Wiley years earlier at the Oregon Country Fair, while the band performed “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”

“We wish a lot of things were different, but mostly we wish we’d had more time. If you are a parent and have any capacity to spend more time with your kids, do … It is priceless and should not be squandered. Take your vacation days and sabbaticals and go be with them. You will not regret the emails you forgot to send,” Jessica Brandes, Wiley’s mother and Storment’s wife, wrote in her own LinkedIn post.

Source : Various

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