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This week, I went to a car dealership with our daughter to buy her first new car. As an aside, her first and only car was a used one that my husband and I had purchased eleven years (and 100,000+ miles) ago when she was a senior in high school. Since this was her first big purchase (outside of six years of college tuition), my son and I went with to support her through the process.
My son had just purchased a car from this same dealership so he had called to set us up to meet with a sales rep prior to going to the dealership. We were introduced to a curly-haired young man named Adam. Adam was super nice, super cute and extremely sociable as he asked questions in a “getting to know you” conversation while he sat at his computer to begin the car buying process.
I am generally a very social and chatty person in these situations, but on this day I was in a hurry. I told Adam that we needed “to move this along” because I needed to be on a conference call in an hour. I probably could have had a little softer tone and I definitely could have stopped standing over his shoulder gesturing with my hands to keep the process moving…
I imagine my children were a bit mortified that I went into my “I am in a hurry mode”, trying to run the show efficiently and effectively!
Adam typed a little bit more and then asked me, “what do you do“? My daughter smiles and immediately answered, “she is a corporate executive by day and a coach by night!” Adam then asked who I coached “for” (probably thinking I was a sports coach), so I told him I am a coach for people who are grieving loss in their lives. My answer was short and to the point… no fluff… still in my “hurry up” mode.
I was continuing to be a wee bit pushy, wanting to get the paperwork moved along so I could get to my conference call on time, but Adam just didn’t seem to be understanding my urgency…
He started asking me questions, for goodness sake, like “do you mean (coaching) people who have had someone die?” I again answered with minimal response, “yes, I coach people who have had someone die or who have suffered other loss in their lives.” Adam looks back down at his computer and continues to type a bit more, and then he looks at me and says “I am asking because my son died two years ago… sometimes people need someone to talk to about the death...”
BAM…WAKE UP CALL PAT!
Here I was, being pushy and trying not to engage in conversation because I was in a hurry… then this incredibly nice young guy is telling me he is a grieving father…
Yes, another defining moment shows up in my life, and I can tell you that I immediately knew that I was placed at this specific car dealership with this particular sales person for a specific purpose…
I immediately touched his arm and told him I was sorry… sorry for his loss (and a non-spoken apology for being in a hurry). I began to ask him a few questions about his son and I soon learned more about some of the chapters from The Book of Adam. He share with me the chapters about the loving father and his baby boy who died. The baby boy with a twin brother. The baby boy who died at six months of age. The baby boy whose death was listed as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but his dad thinks otherwise…
Adam was amazingly open and talked about his child’s death, and he also shared a great deal about his life after the death. He was divorced over a year ago and when I asked if it was due to the death of his child, he said “yes“. Here in front of me was a young adult with full legal custody, and the majority of physical custody for his other children (ages ten, five and the three year old surviving twin).
Here in front of me, an incredibly loving daddy. A daddy who suffered the greatest heartbreak of any parent’s life, yet what flowed out of him was a wonderful spirit… a spirit who made other people, like his customers, feel comfortable and important to him. One would have never expected that this young man was a survivor… a survivor from the worst nightmare of his life… the death of his child.
As soon as Adam told me his child died, I knew it was my time to give back to him. To give him honor because he honored me by allowing me to hear his story. My gift was to share information with him about the non-profit organization that I volunteer at… Children’s Grief Connection and its Hearts of Hope Camp for school age kids.
How many customers of Adam’s walk in the door and have a connection to a Grief Camp? How many customers of his walk into his showroom who are coaches who help people who grieve? Pure coincidence? I think not…
I invited Adam to bring his older kids to camp as a way to help his kids connect with other children who have had a sibling die. I also let him know that I thought he would be a powerful energy at the Family (Adult) camp where he would get great support for himself and connect with other grieving parents.
As I reflected on the interaction with Adam, a few thoughts came to mind:
- Everyone has a story and it is important for us to allow them to share their story… to be heard.
- Sometimes we need a wake up call to remind us to take time to listen.
- As we receive service from others, we are being given a gift that is greater than any material one.
- When we give service to others, we are able to share our gifts, providing kindness and support to those in need.
- It is clear that my purpose in life is to be a healing light for those who grieve…
My thoughts this morning are for Adam and his young family as I send healing,comforting, and loving energy their way… as they move through the transitions in their lives that come from their journey through grief and loss… loss from death and loss of a family unit that once was.
My prayers are flowing not only to this family, but to all who have suffered the death of a child, or the death of a marriage, that they may find joy and a true sense of purpose going forward in their lives.
I would love to hear your stories of how you have been able to honor someone going through grief and/or life transitions. Please share your comments below.
If you would like more information about the Children’s Grief Connection, please visit their website at: http://www.childrensgriefconnection.com.
If you would like more information about coaching for grief and life transitions, please contact me at: