Father’s Heartbreaking Message After Losing His Son

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A father in Portland, Oregon, has shared a deeply emotional message on LinkedIn following the tragic loss of his son during a work-related conference call. J.R. Storment, residing in Portland, Oregon, used his platform to urge parents to prioritize spending time with their children after experiencing the devastating death of his son.

via LinkedIn

In a heartfelt open letter on LinkedIn, which has garnered significant attention with over 26,000 likes and 2,700 comments, Storment recounts the passing of his son, Wiley, during his sleep due to complications related to mild epilepsy. He reflects on his regrets about not dedicating enough time to his son and encourages other parents to reconsider their work-life balance.

Storment begins by describing the day of his son’s passing as seemingly ordinary:

“Eight years ago, during the same month, I had twin boys and co-founded Cloudability. About three months ago, Cloudability was acquired. About three weeks ago, we lost one of our boys.”

“On that day, I was in a conference room with 12 colleagues at our Portland office discussing PTO policies. Shortly before, I had admitted to the group that in the past 8 years, I hadn’t taken more than a week off consecutively.”

The moment Storment received the devastating call from his wife is etched in his memory:

“My wife and I have an agreement that we always answer each other’s calls. So, when the phone rang, I immediately stood up and headed for the conference room door.”

J.R. Storment and his family

“I was still in transit when I answered with a casual ‘Hey, what’s up?'”

“Her response was abrupt and chilling: ‘J.R., Wiley is dead.'”

“‘What?’ I exclaimed in disbelief.”

“‘Wiley has died,’ she confirmed.”

“‘No, no!’ I shouted in denial.”

“‘I’m so sorry, I have to call 911.'”

Storment vividly recalls the frantic rush that followed:

“That was the extent of our conversation. Next thing I knew, I was sprinting out of the office building with my car keys, repeating ‘oh Fk. oh Fk. oh F**k.’ Midway down the block, I realized I didn’t have the garage opener. Rushing back inside, I practically pleaded, ‘Someone drive me! Somebody drive me!’ Fortunately, a kind colleague offered to drive.”

Upon reaching home, the situation was compounded by uncertainty as the authorities treated the house as a potential crime scene, preventing the grieving father from seeing his son for two and a half hours.

“After the medical examiner completed his examination, we were finally allowed into the room. A strange calm enveloped me. I lay beside him on the bed he cherished, holding his hand and repeatedly asking, ‘What happened, buddy? What happened?'”

“We stayed by his side for about 30 minutes, gently stroking his hair, before they arrived with a gurney to take him away. I walked alongside him, holding his hand and forehead through the body bag, as they wheeled him down our driveway. Then, one by one, the cars departed. The last one to leave carried Wiley in a black minivan.”

Storment then reflects on his son’s aspirations and the heartbreaking experience of completing his son’s death certificate:

“Wiley was passionate about entrepreneurship. One day it was a smoothie stand, the next a gallery, then a VR headset company, a ‘coder,’ and even a spaceship building venture. In each venture, he was the boss, assigning roles to his brother and sometimes us. It’s agonizing to see ‘Occupation: Never worked’ and ‘Marital Status: Never married’ on his death certificate. He yearned for both experiences. I feel a mix of gratitude and guilt for achieving these milestones while he couldn’t.”

Storment doesn’t shy away from criticizing himself for prioritizing work over family. He acknowledges that while Wiley had a rich life, he wishes he had spent more time with him.

“In the past three weeks, I’ve grappled with countless regrets falling into two categories: things I wish I had done differently and things I’m saddened to miss witnessing him do. My wife constantly reminds me of all that Wiley accomplished: he traveled to 10 countries, drove a car on a Hawaiian farm road, hiked in Greece, snorkeled in Fiji, attended a prestigious British prep school, rescued from a shark encounter, excelled in chess, wrote stories, and drew comics relentlessly.”

Storment’s regret deepens as he recalls the morning of the tragedy, realizing he hadn’t checked on the boys because of work commitments.

“The next morning around 5:40 am, I woke up for a series of meetings. I did a Peloton ride, took calls from home, on the drive, and at the office. None of it seems significant now. I left without saying goodbye or checking on the boys.”

His message to other parents is straightforward:

“Many ask how they can help. Hug your kids. Avoid overworking. Many things consuming your time now may become regrets later. Do you schedule one-on-one meetings with your kids as you do with colleagues? The lesson here is to not miss what truly matters.”

Storment wrestles with finding a balance between work and family. He contemplates not returning to work but also acknowledges the value of work as an expression of love. He emphasizes the need for a balance that doesn’t sacrifice self and family.

“While writing this, my surviving son, Oliver, asked for screen time. Instead of declining, I stopped and played with him. Small gestures matter. Despite this tragedy, one positive is the strengthened bond with Oliver.”

“Our family dynamics shifted from two units of two to a triangle of three. Oliver remarked, ‘But Papa, the triangle is the strongest shape.’ Through sorrow and irony, Oliver has encountered three sets of twins in our neighborhood since Wiley’s passing.”

Storment concludes with a poignant reflection on embracing life’s moments and regrets, sharing a touching memory of Wiley’s joy in music and dancing, encapsulating the essence of cherishing what truly matters.

Source: upworthy


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