A ‘workaholic’ father in the US has posted a heartbreaking open letter after learning of his son’s sudden, tragic death while sitting in a conference room.
JR Storment’s eight-year-old son Wiley, a twin, passed away in his sleep three weeks ago with little warning.
The death was later put down to a rare complication of his mild childhood epilepsy.
Tech executive Storment learnt of the tragedy while in a meeting at work, not long after confessing to never taking more than a week off work, via a curt phone call from his wife.
“My wife and I have an agreement that when one of us calls, the other answers. So when the phone rang I stood up and walked to the conference room door immediately,” he wrote.
“I was still walking through the door when I answered with ‘Hey, what’s up?’
“Her reply was icy and immediate: ‘J.R., Wiley is dead.’
“What?’ I responded incredulously. ‘Wiley has died’ she reiterated. “What?! No.’ I yelled out, ‘No!’
“I’m so sorry, I have to call 911.’
“That was the entire conversation.
After rushing home, he was unable to see his son’s body for more than 21/2 hours while emergency services and police investigated the scene.
In a letter posted on LinkedIn, the shattered father wrote about how the shock loss had made him re-evaluate his priorities in life.
“Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time,” he wrote.
“I’m guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with. Do you have them regularly scheduled with your 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.
“If you are a parent and have any capacity to spend more time with your kids, do. When it ends, there’s just photos and left over things and time is no longer available to you. 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.”