I had limited time with my father before he died.
Ours was a fragmented relationship, one I remember only bits and pieces of. They flash at me at the oddest times like an unexpected slap to the face that comes with a sting and a reminder,
“Life is too short. Value the things that are really important.”
I had a distinct flashback this evening at dinner and shared it with my wife. She had noticed a temporary look of anguish and prompted me to explain.
My father was a doctor and he owned a hospital so he did pretty well for himself, but he didn’t believe in banks. Living in a developing country, he found it difficult to trust the government, so he would stock up bags of money in the rooms of his house. It’s one of a few memories imprinted in my mind.
We didn’t see him much but on the occasional summer break we would see more bags in his secret rooms.
While I hate to repeat history, the anguish of the flashback comes from the knowledge that my oldest daughter might have a similar experience as I had, since we’re both from a broken home. She might grow up to see only fragments of a non existent relationship with her father as I do, and if she does I will deserve the blame.
I was reminded through that brief flashback that if I do not invest in what is truly of value, I will lose things more important than money. If I chase the next shiny product, business, or opportunity without focusing on providing real value to family, and community I lose on relationships.
The bags in the rooms were burned in a fire, and like all things that perish they didn’t last.