In today’s busy and competitive world, many working mothers & fathers are struggling for time.
Even though we love our kids more than anything in this world, sometimes in the fast-paced world, we often lose sight of things that truly matter – family, health, happiness, and mental peace.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a heart-breaking awakening that forces us to adjust our focus on the things that really matter.
One of such unexpected incident struck a senior business leader J.R. Sorment when he was informed about the sudden death of his 8-year-old son, Wiley.
Losing a child is never easy.
While Sorment lost his son, he wrote a LinkedIn post to help parents learn from his mistakes before its too late.
On the day he lost his son, he had left early to work because he had back-to-back meetings. He was in a conference room with 12 other people, when a call from his wife changed everything. He shared:
“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.
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!””
When 12 minutes later he reached the house, it was all crowded with paramedics and police officers, who didn’t let him see his son.
After an hour of waiting in shock, he was finally allowed to see his son lying in his bed. Talking about the heart-wrenching moment, he shared:
“He lay in his bed, covers neatly on, looking peacefully asleep.”
“When the medical examiner finally finished his work, we were allowed in the room. An eerie calm came over me.
I laid down next to him in the bed that he loved, held his hand and kept repeating, “What happened, buddy? What happened?”
We stayed next to him for maybe 30 minutes and stroked his hair before they returned with a gurney to take him away. I walked him out, holding his hand and his forehead through the body bag as he was wheeled down our driveway. Then all the cars drove away. The last one to leave was the black minivan with Wiley in it.”
Sorment further shared how he constantly thinks about the things Wiley wanted to achieve.
His son always wanted to start a business and even had plans to get married to his girlfriend as an adult. He shared a snapshot of the journal of Wiley’s that the family found the day after he died.
In the end, he shares a few lessons that every parent could learn from his mistakes:
“Many have asked what they can do to help. 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.
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.”
He further added how he is struggling to go back to the work as he doesn’t want to have the same regrets later in his life.
To conclude, he shares his two cents that we feel are invaluable:
“…Work needs to have a balance that I have rarely lived. It’s a balance that lets us offer our gifts to the world but not at the cost of self and family.”
At I FOR HER, we are mourning Wiley’s death and hope the family gathers enough courage to bear the loss.
We hope this post serves as an early reminder for parents to shift focus away from the things that don’t matter, to the things that do.