The topic of this blog post has been on my mind for a while. About 2-3 months ago my wife and I thought about remodeling the first floor of our house. We researched different types of hardwood floors, new kitchen designs and furniture. When we first started to look at all of this, we thought it was a good idea. Now keep in mind that I am an engineer and my wife use to be an engineer (she is now a special education teacher), so nothing is easy. I am also a real estate broker and I see things I like and don’t like in a house all of the time. This task was not easy, every little detail had to be thought through and designed.
We pretty much had everything nailed down except the kitchen cabinets. We kept going back and forth on whether to refinish the existing cabinets or completely replace them. I was always skeptical if refinished cabinets could look good until I recently saw a kitchen project that done just that. The results were great.
I decided to call a contractor to come over and give me an estimate to refurbish. I wanted to see how big of a cost savings it would be versus buying new cabinets. We made small talk with the guy while he was taking all of his measurements and discussing different finishes. After he had taken all of the measurements he needed we took a seat at the kitchen table. He sat at the end of the table and my wife and I sat across from each other. We continued with our small talk and then I mentioned to him that I had just written a book. He responded with, “Really? What is it about?” I responded with “It’s a heavy topic; it’s about men that have lost a child”. My wife spoke up and said “we have lost two children”. As I looked back towards him expecting him to change the subject, I noticed he was looking down at his notes and was not making eye contact or saying anything. I then realized he was weeping. I ask him “Have you lost a child?” he responded with “Yes, I lost a son about two years ago in a single car accident, he was driving and lost control. I am sorry about crying, you took me off guard with the topic of the book.” Of course my wife and I said “We were sorry for his loss and not to worry about showing his emotion.” He and I stood out in the driveway for a while just talking about the pain of losing a child. I gave him a copy of the book, but have yet to hear back from him. I didn’t expect too, but of course I offered my time to help him if he ever needed another dad to speak with when he was having a bad day.
You never know what kind of pain someone else is carrying around with them. I have tried to learn to be less critical towards others. We all have our burdens to carry, some are perceived to be heavier than others, but they are still heavy burdens to the person carrying it. I always try to squeeze into the conversation about my book. I do it to let other know there is a resource if they know someone that has lost a child. However, almost everyone I mention it to says they know a grieving dad that could use some support. We all know someone, even before we were bereaved parents, we always now a friend or family member that has lost a child. Even though we feel like we are the only ones carrying that burden at times, we are not.
We never did do anything with the first floor. Nothing. We decided we didn’t have the energy to take on such a project. We use to, but ever since losing Katie and Noah, we have big ideas, but often decide not to do anything with the ideas. Although excited at first, our energy levels often fade quickly. Not to mention, our house is ok the way it is, it’s comfortable, clean, safe and simple. I am all about trying to live my life simply. However, there are times when I do things that would complicate it, but then catch myself and then take a different path.
How about any of you, have you changed your life to live simply?
Does the pursuit of material items seem “too much” for things that do not matter?
Has your energy levels dropped since losing your child?
Does the value of “peace” far outweigh the value of anything you can buy?