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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The final lesson my father taught me


by Kevin Scott Collier
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On a late July weekend, I was at my parent's house on Silver Lake, near Hart, Michigan, on the dock loading up our fishing boat to venture out. My father made his way down to boat, no pole in hand, and asked to join me.

"Want me to get you a fishing pole?" I inquired.

"No, I just thought you'd like some company," he responded.

So, off we went. Father and son.

My father inspired me to draw at a young age, and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Retired, and ready to enjoy life, he wanted to spend more quality time with his grown children. I can't recall if I caught any fish that day, but I do recall catching what was said.

Dad was worried about his retirement, and making ends meet. His mind was focused on what could go wrong in his future, not what could go right. I stopped him, and said, "Dad, don't worry about all those things, you could be dead next week."

And, he was. He suffered a stroke and was gone 6 days later.

Everything he was anxious, nervous and concerned about was "up the road." The one thing that never crossed his mind, was that his journey might soon end. Everything he worried about on that beautiful Saturday afternoon would never occur. On that final day I spoke with my father, he was worried about life, instead of enjoying it.

From the moment of his stroke, he was in a coma, so we never were able to exchange another word. He died with his family surrounding him in a hospital room. I said goodbye while holding his hand.

He departed this world to a place where worry does not exist. He left me behind to miss him each and every day and to recall the final lesson he inadvertently taught me.

Don't always worry about the future. It steals the life out of today.

4 comments:

Jennifer Gladen said...

Kevin,

That story brought tears to my eyes. What a final lesson your father taught you.

Millions of people get caught up on worrying what lies ahead or worrying about frivilous things.
Thank you for blogging about this. It could help so many people, for those of us who are paying attention.

Debra A. said...

Given that my husband and I are doing some early retirement planning, this is a good lesson to keep in mind. Thank you.

I LOVE the picture you have at the top of the blog of the father with the young son.

Deb Bailey

Fun and Games said...

Kevin,
What a touching story. We all should enjoy life to the fullest every day becuase we never know what will happen tomorrow. My father also worried about finances until he passed away and I know it robbed him of many wonerful moments.

Joy aka Zebee or is it the other way around?

Carol Brooke said...

Kevin,
Thank you for blogging this story. Tears welled in my eyes as I read it. When my little sister passed away I was given her belongings from her dorm room. I looked through her schedule book. In it she had a timeline for paying off her debt. She had just graduated, was planning to do the speech for her graduating class and was on a vacation... and then she was gone. God, I miss her so much. Her daughter was my daughter's age when she died. Your story reminds me to not stress out about money and to just have fun with the people we love.