I got the call around 2:30 on Friday, it was expected. My Great Uncle Guy had passed away, and the funeral was to be Sunday. So here I am blogging on my way back from New York City on the late Vermonter.
They say the measure of a man is how many people come to his funeral. Wow, what a packed funeral. It was so sad, but at the same time so touching. A very successful businessman, a clothier, Guy made it in the 50s and 60s. But his story was not one of business, but one of love. It was after retiring that Guy made his biggest impact.
One after another they all came up and talked about Guy the man, and his incredible happiness and ability to love all aspects of life, art, theater, opera, clothes, and in particular his wife of 61 years, Marie Helene, my grandfather’s sister. It was amazing. His last words were to the family before passing, “Marie Helene, Je t’aime.”
I remember they all said the same thing, “Guy made me feel important.” This was coming from family, friend and business acquaintances alike. Talking with family afterwards, it was true that Guy could be a tough, shrewd businessman, harnessing his drive and making great decisions, but in the end it was his care for other people in his life that made the most impact. Even my own memory of him reflects that he always paid attention to me, was willing to engage in conversation, no matter my age or the subject matter.
What’s the lesson to be learned for my business? It matters, yes! But in the end it matters little compared to my life, and the people in it. It was good to be there for my family members, to simply comfort them and listen. My thoughts were drawn to my wife, to watching the Devil Wears Prada with her, and how much I squirmed during the movie. But today I’m glad that we went so I could see her smile and giggle with joy. She loved it, and because she did, I, too, enjoyed the two hours.
After the funeral I could not help but text message Caitlin, “Je t’aime.” I look forward to our little break from business this weekend, and a complete focus on us for a few precious days. It’s a taste of the future.
I did like Prada from a business perspective. Really Meryl Streep was phenomenal. Too bad most young power hungry types don’t wake up and smell the coffee like the heroine, but it was cute and a valid point: Don’t sell your soul to get ahead. I have seen too many people take out the dagger for power and prestige in my day. How hard is to go to work and deal with the power hungry politics everyday, in addition to actually doing your job?
But now that it’s my ship, I can steer it without these types of distractions. Now the market is my validation and final judge. And that in a way is very comforting.
“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
“Join the company of lions rather than assume the lead among foxes.”
- The Talmud