Jay’s note: This week last year I came upon a horrific accident scene that I was certain involved my only son, thankfully we had the help from experts such as the Car Accident Lawyers Brisbane to get us a compensation which was needed to pay the medical bills CT DUI bail. Shortly after I wrote this someone, I can’t remember who now, said I should revisit it in a year. So here it is. “Personally, I’m going to make a concerted effort to stop taking things for granted. To appreciate life more. To not sweat the small stuff,” was a pledge made in this article. I’ve done OK with that. Certainly not perfect, but the memories of this day are still strong, and many times I’ve found myself getting spooled up over something that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I stop, think of the day this happened, and move ahead to focus on what really matters. So read on; think about it. Read some of the comments from others sharing similar stories — and try focusing on what really matters.
You are driving down the freeway at ten o’clock at night. Up ahead you see the flashing lights of multiple emergency vehicles and traffic slows.
“Great, an accident. All I want to do is get home” you may be thinking.
As you approach the scene, you see a flipped over and mangled car.
A car of the exact make, model and unusual color of what your 19 year old son drives.
By the time you can cross two lanes of traffic and pull over, you are well past the accident scene where they most definitely needed an expert like this personal injury lawyer or car wreck injury attorney near me. So you slam the car into reverse and drive faster in reverse that you’ve ever driven before. You get out of the car and run toward the accident.
The entire time, all sorts of thoughts are exploding in your brain. You’re praying like you never have before. As you get closer to the scene and see that yes, it looks exactly like your son’s car, you practically lose your mind.
Two police officers approach you – you the grown man who has been reduced to a blubbering incoherent pile of goo on the side of the road. Out of breath with your heart pounding you say something to the police. You’re not sure exactly what but it must have been some combination of “my son”, “his car”, and “dead” with a whole lot of “Please God no’s” in there.
The police offer puts his hands on your shoulders and all you hear is, “Your son? No, it’s a girl. It’s a girl’s car. Not your son. Not your son. There was no male in the car.”
“Are you sure?”
A cop walks you back to your car and takes your keys. “You can’t drive like this,” she says. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
So you sit in your car on the side of a road, thanking God and Jesus that your son isn’t injured in a new mexico car crash when it hits you that someone’s daughter is lying zipped up in a body bag 50 feet away. How can you be so happy, and so relieved, sitting so close to death? Guilt sets in.
And you really start to think about things.
Lots of things.
I sincerely hope you only have to imagine this scenario, and not actually experience it because believe me, it sucks. I know, because I went through it 20 hours ago.
It still disturbs me greatly.
An experience like this makes you think. It puts a lot of things in perspective. Life is fragile, and short. Too short to go around pissed-off at what really is, in the grand scheme of things, not-so-important. Hell, it’s practically immaterial.
We get mad about lawsuits. We get angry with the NAR. Maybe we’re frustrated by a client or fellow agents that don’t “get it”. We bitch and moan about having to work too hard. We get upset over a stupid social media “debate” at a conference. We yell at our kids, or our spouses. We fuel “blog wars”. We complain about the housing market, and the government, and how things “just aren’t fair.”
We need to stop and think. We need to put things in perspective. Well, at least I do. I can’t tell you what to do.
The bottom line is this: is all this crap really that important? Is it worth expending time, effort and energy?
I had a really shitty experience last night. For about two minutes (that felt more like two hours) I honestly thought my son was dead.
I wept. I cursed. I prayed. I think I might have thrown up. I don’t remember a lot of details as apparently my brain shut down in those adrenaline overdosed moments of shear terror and gut-wrenching panic. Shutting down was an instinctive reaction – and a good thing because I might have just lost my mind if I could remember everything during those moments. I had to take CBD oils from kushiebites.com to reduce my anxiety.
And I felt sorry for myself for having to go through this experience.
Sorry for myself? There are people out there right now who did know and love the young lady in that car last night. Those people are experiencing infinitely more pain than what I went through last night.
They have something to be pissed-off about. They have the right to feel that things “just aren’t fair.”
When you get right down to it, all the trials and tribulations most of us go through on a daily basis are nothing. They are inconsequential. People like the friends and family of the young lady involved in last night’s accident, people like Clint and Angela Miller who are undergoing a torturous battle against testicular cancer, those people have something worthy of complaining about.
I’m not trying to make light of anyone’s personal situation. I know times are tough out there for a lot of folks. I’m just suggesting that when you get upset, when you think the world is against you, when some person, some thing, some situation makes you angry, sad, bitter or hell-bent on vengeance, try taking a step back and putting things in perspective.
Personally, I’m going to make a concerted effort to stop taking things for granted. To appreciate life more. To not sweat the small stuff. I’ve also heard that Synchronicity Hemp Oil supplements can reduce stress and anxiety, maybe I’ll try that when life gets too stressful. I’m not saying that we should all join hands and sing Kumbaya, that’s not realistic, and perhaps not even healthy. It’s OK, good in fact, to be passionate about something. To be emotional. The world would be a pretty boring place if we all agreed with each other and no one voiced their opinions.
Maybe I’m being Pollyannaish, but it does seem like there is a lot of negative energy out there of late, a lot of bitterness, jealousy, and animosity. I know I am guilty as charged.
Perhaps it is time to step back and reassess priorities. Time to appreciate more fully all the goodness that life has to offer. To enjoy time with loved ones, or time alone.
Sitting on the side of the road last night made me think.
Maybe this will make you think a little too…
Photo Credit: “Candle Smoke” by The Ewan on Flickr. CC Licensed.
Jason Blackburn via Facebook says
Best post you have ever written…I had to learn the hard way 5 years ago when I lost my sister…thank you for saying what we all need to hear…
Angie Mozilo says
This reduced me to tears. I am sorry you experienced that. I can not even put into words how much sorrow I feel for the family that is now mourning – and that type of sorrow is unfathomable. I said a prayer of comfort for them and a prayer of thanksgiving for you. Sometimes a prayer is all we can offer unless we have experienced the same ourselves. Your advice to not sweat the small stuff is good and wise.
Jason Crouch says
Jay – I felt vicariously anxious while reading this. This does put things in sharp perspective, and it helps us to understand what is truly important in life, and it’s not the stuff that most people whine or complain or worry about. I’m so happy to hear that your son is okay, but (like you) I can’t help but think that someone’s daughter or sister didn’t make it through that accident.
Thanks for this one. I will share it with my network.
My 70 year-old diabetic father who has had both legs amputated below the knees had a heart attack a six weeks ago. I thought I was going to lose him. It changed me. It’s kind of why I uplaoded a video about ten minutes about asking what Mike can do? I was too busy working and not really enjoying the moment, waiting for later.
Much like jumping in cold water but getting used to it until you move around, we unfortunately need these perspective moments to know we have it relatively good usualy. We just need the perspectives to last longer. Thanks for the reset
Can’t imagine your terror.
Our prayers for the young lady’s family.
Pat Harfst says
Jay, what a picture you painted! Thank you for sharing a sobering moment from your own life, so that (hopefully) we can learn, and appreciate what really matters!
Monica Schulik via Facebook says
Wow. On so many levels. Thanks Jay.
Drew Meyers - Virtual Results says
Re-assessing priorities every now and then is a good thing. Those kind of moments can change your life; I know from experience. A car accident (my fault) right before college changed mine life — for the better. Luckily, no one was hurt. If someone was…I know for a fact my life would be completely different than it is now. But being able to think back on that night makes me a better person. But the scary moments like that make you re-assess priorities, which i think is a good thing.
Hopefully that didn’t come across wrong, but I think you know what i mean.
Jim Marks says
You had TWO great things happen last night. You now share a common bond with anyone who has ever been diagnosed with a SERIOUS illness. Life Changes. Its the little things that matter.. EVERYTHING besides Love is minutia…
Love you Brotha and glad your son is good. I will say one for the other family.
Do me one favor… Put last nights event in your Google Calendar with a annual occuring date. You will forget too soon otherwise.
We all do.
Justin McHood says
“Everything besides Love is minutia…”
Wonderful in a horrific my heart stopped beating for at least 3 full sentences of this post kind of way…thank you for sharing Jay
Michael Wurzer says
Great perspective re-set, Jay, thanks. And God bless to the family who bore the loss.
Jana L. Knapp via Facebook says
Oh Jay. What a night for you. Glad your son is fine.
Jamie Geiger says
As you know, my son is dead, this is nothing you ever want to experience, everyday is a challenge, with no answers. Losing a child changes your life FOREVER, my life will never be the same. Hug you kids and tell them how much you love them everyday, regardless of what they do. I did that with my son, and it is the one thing I have that keeps me going.
Jim Zirbes says
Well said Jay!
I am sorry you went through that.
Thanks for helping us put it in (and keep it all in) perspective.
Wayne Harriman via Facebook says
Glad your son is ok; so very sorry for the family of that young girl. Now, to take a good, long look in the mirror…
Patrick McLeod via Facebook says
I felt kinda weepy reading that post and full of butterflies.
Michele Guss via Facebook says
Glad to hear your son is ok. Thanks for another great post Jay. A message I definitely needed to hear today.
Gail King says
Wow. The Journey of my mind is still pending”¦
Holly Mabery says
Thanks Jay for the gut check, a great reminder and a heart stopping 2 minutes.
Darin Persinger via Facebook says
I took the phone call that my nephew was killed in a car accident. He was only 11 years younger than me, we actually shared a bedroom for a couple years growing up. He was more my little brother than a nephew. I had to tell the rest of my family including his mom what had happened. If either my nieces calls me, I don’t care who you are or how much you are paying for my time, I take that call. I refuse to miss out on any opportunity to talk to my girls. Would have loved to have hung out with you, Nick and Dean more in Phoenix, but was hanging out with my parents, golfing with my Dad. Family is first in my world and I don’t apologize for it. And I give everyone the benefit of the doubt when it comes to negative statements or energy. But those that are chronic offenders, get unfriended and unfollowed.
Jay, I’m sorry and I’m glad you had the experience. It’s a horrible thing to go through and that is putting it lightly. as you know, I deal with similar situations regularly and know full well the immense weight of it. However it sounds as if the paradigm shift that occurred for you as a result is the kind that more people need to have. For most of us it really does take life and death to stare us in the face before we realize what is truly worth it and how much bullshit everything else is. Now it’s time to live, everything else is a distraction.
Charlene Kingston via Facebook says
I love that you are part of my world, Jay.
Jack Lindberg says
Great post Jay. You’re so right. I just came from a gathering to celebrate the life of the husband of Coni Meyers (OnlineEd) who died a few days ago from liver cancer. Just a couple of months ago they had hope and now he’s gone, just after their 25th anniversary. Her perspective has certainly been altered…
Lisa Heindel via Facebook says
Remind me to hug you next week.
Pamela Vaughter via Facebook says
Great post Jay.
Bill Cole says
Your best post I’ve ever read. Heart pounding pictures in our heads. To those of us who have lost close friends, parents or faced a life threatening disease ourselves or of our spouse we know how petty and trivial tabloid life is. Thank you for the reminder of what is truly important. Beautifully written.
Chris Lee via Facebook says
Wow. Amazing post. I don’t know why we keep forgetting. Got a little glimpse when our next door neighbor passed away from an aneurysm with no warning at 40. Little kids & all. Definitely made us take a look at our priorities.
Heather L. Rankin says
Jay – 4.5 years ago I spent a month at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with my daughter, who was 12 at the time, after being life flighted from Page with a traumatic brain injury. I am blessed and happy to report she is, for all intents and purposes, fine today. However, in those days and hours following the flight, when we did not know if she would live or die, yes, perspective on EVERYTHING in our life set in.
She has written about it and writes a heck of a lot today. I need to write the story myself someday but, in a nutshell, it changed my life, and shifted me in a way nothing else had.
Oddly enough, it was one of the motivating factors for getting my RE license. To set some boundaries on times when I could work, and limit work at times like this week when we’ve had to have tests done in Salt Lake. Also to be able to stay in a place I love and do a heck of a lot of the work time at home.
Most of my children are grown and on their own but i never fail to say “I love you” when on the phone, or leaving a gathering because it very well could be the last. This is not to be grim, by any means of the word, but rather realistic.
Thank you for the post. Sometimes moments such as these are difficult to share but they need to be.
Katie Graham Lance via Facebook says
As a mom, I can only imagine how your heart just stopped. Great post Jay… thank you for the reminder. I needed to hear that. And to Darin, I knew there was a reason I liked you! 🙂 Family 1st… always!
Susie Blackmon via Facebook says
Love you Jay.
Sean Carpenter says
jay – well said. Thanks for reminding us something we always think at funerals or hospital visits; ” I should tell my loved ones I love them more often”.
Pat Harriman says
Your post touched my heart! I, too, experienced the same gut-wrenching emotions during the start of the Iraq war. My daughter was serving in the Army in the desert heading towards Baghdad. I heard on the news that a unit from Ft. Bliss was captured, which included one female soldier from Ft. Bliss. My daughter was with that unit! It took them a while to say a name but my heart was in my stomach until I heard that it wasn’t her. Yes, I felt relief after that but I couldn’t imagine the feelings from that point forward for the mother of the captured soldier. These are all emotions that bring you to reality and say cherish the moments. Thanks for your post Jay.
Bryant Tutas via Facebook says
Great article Jay. My priorities have certainly been adjusted over the last few years. I watched TLW almost bleed to death and was unable to stop it. Not a good experience. But it made us both netter. Life is good.
J. Philip Faranda says
Jay, right now there is a prominent news story out of Libya of a woman, running into a hotel filled with reporters that she had been raped by pro government forces, only to be DRAGGED AWAY again.
400,000 people have had their homes and loved one washed out to sea and are now exposed to massive radiation.
Last Saturday, the most important thing in my world last Saturday was my son’s Cub Scout Pinewood derby.
Yes, we do lose perspective. Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs comes to mind. We take an awful lot for granted because we have it so good.
I hope none of us ever have to experience a similar “wakeup call” and I really hope none of us ever have to be confronted by such a tragedy as that young lady’s loved ones will.
Count your blessings.
Alex Aguilar says
We all get so worked up over nothing in our day to day lives that it takes a gut wrenching experience like what you had to go through on the side of that road to put everything into perspective.
Great post Jay, thanks for sharing.
Dan DeMarchis says
What a great post and thanks for sharing. We all need a reminder and this one was good for me. The comment about the amount of negative energy out there really hit me as well. That’s something we can all take from this.
Debbie Kirkland via Facebook says
Living through loss, through the struggles that we sometimes win, and sometimes loose, observing from afar, and witnessing the unimaginable, all reminders that others are experiencing these things every day. Being mindful that what appears to be, is not always as shallow as words may seem, that what is evident deserves our empathy and support, that without each other, without our family, without our God, we are nothing. I am so sorry you had to live through this moment Jay, but thank you for the reminder for us all to hold close to the moments we have to be thankful for our family, and our friends.
Kathleen Buckley via Facebook says
Thank you Jay, thank you.
Joeann Fossland says
Thanks Jay! I can’t imagine anything scarier than losing a child…Your article is a powerful reminder that it’s people not things that are important. When we had the President come to Tucson after Gabby Gifford’s shooting, he said,”“What matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame ”“ but rather”¦.. how well we have loved? and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others?” I agree! Much love…
Bryan Kerrigan via Facebook says
Glad it turned out well for you; sad it did not for the accident victim and her family. I think it’s time for you to expand your writing resume from blogger to author
Bill Lublin via Facebook says
Life really does change in the blink of an eye sometimes – glad your didn’t –
Jay McGillicuddy via Facebook says
One of the best posts you’ve ever written. I felt like I was standing there with you. Life sure does have it’s twists and turns. You just never know what will happen next. So live each day to it’s fullest.
Pam Dent says
It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget the things that matter in life. Thanks for writing a post that makes us stop and think. I know I need to take more time to approach life with gratitude every day even if it is only being grateful for waking up.
Pam Dent via Facebook says
Jay – What an emotional experience. Thanks for making us think about what is important in our own lives. Very moving blog.
Ken Cook says
Well written Jay. When I went through losing “my empire” it affected me so much that I thought every day would be my last on earth. I thought one of those anxious moments of dizziness, rapid pulse and strange physical pains would put me down for the last time. It lasted nearly 2 years and nobody, except Jason Crouch and Mike Mueller, outside of my wife knew it. But it did transform me in an amazing way – it made me value something I had never valued before: Every morning I woke up and saw my beautiful wife laying next to me. I would lay there and look at every tiny detail on her face, hands, arms … like I was drinking it in.
The panic and anxiety attacks are gone, finally, but my appreciation of small things that may not matter at all to anyone else remains. People: Live life! Stop the pettiness and fighting over things that just don’t matter. Love with all you have and tell people how much they mean to you. “Living life” doesn’t just mean travelling around the world and sucking all the gusto you can (though there’s nothing wrong with that) it also means going to a yard sale with your spouse, planting their favorite flower in a strange object, picking up the phone and calling a friend …
Well related Jay, awesome job.
Whitney Pannell via Facebook says
your blog was the first thing I read this morning when I woke up. It stopped me in my tracks. Relieved it wasn’t your son but heartbroken for the parents of that young lady.
Bill Holt says
Jay, I felt your struggle… wow… what a relief and an awakening! I am with a few others… what a piece you shared. We all need to look and feel as if we can let most of the chaf slide on by us. Thanks for sharing this heart/gut renching story and Praise God it wasn’t any more complicated. Thought you were going to share that it ended up being your son’s car and he loaned it out. Peace be with… on this fine Sunday. The rain and wind don’t matter any more… Thanks for sharing again! Bill… On The Outer Banks, NC
Chris Shouse says
Jay, wow that is powerful and I feel my heart just pounding in my chest as I sit here and ponder on your words. As day by day I watch my mother become the child and I the parent, instead of being angry at what is I need to hug her more times a day and talk about the things she does remember and make what is left of our time together the happiest it can be for both of us.
Monika McGillicuddy says
As a mother I can relate to the terror you felt seeing that. Something very similar happened to me a few years back and like you I was one of the lucky parents but I will never ever forget that feeling of total terror and yes getting sick to my stomach and being out of control.
Excellent post Jay and thankfully we are one of the lucky ones but I know that can change any moment!
Amy Smythe Harris says
Jay-thank you for this post! Reading this reminds me to realize and practice what is important! To stop working soooo hard and enjoy my blessings around me! I am so glad your son was ok. My heart is hurting for that girls family!
Amy Smythe-Harris via Facebook says
My heart is hurting for that family! Thank you for reminding us to take a minute to realize what is important!
Penelope Santiago says
Happy for you but sad for the family of the girl.
Mary Pope-Handy says
Jay, you may have been miserabe in those long moments but I believe you had more personal growth as a result of it than you could have had in 20 normal or pleasant years in your life.
In recent weeks when everyone in the real estate blogosphere went positively nuts about the whole zebra lawsuit, I kept saying “this is NOT that important” to people who were getting obscessed about it or about how other people reacted to it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through a few real crises in recent year. You know, the kind where people actually die. It does give perspective.
Everytime I pass an accident, I try to stop myself from feeling annoyed. I do remind myself that someone is having a far worse day of it than I am. And then I do what my mom taught me to do – I send up a prayer for whoever’s in the wreck. I highly recommend this practice because it usually corrects the self pity attitude that can sink in when there’s a delay.
Linda Davis via Facebook says
Thank you Jay! A good reminder to all of us who take everyday crap way too seriously.
Candace Robinson says
May I just say, this post is the most heart felt, most sincere and truly endearing of all your 1000’s of writings to date. I think so many can relate, even though not as a parent but in the fact that we all need to slow down and re-evaluate our lives. Life is precious and its not pleasant to hear of a childs life taken all too soon, let alone anyone for that matter. I have to believe it’s part of a greater plan. I’m sorry you had to experience those emotions, the scare…my heart goes out to the family/parents of this young woman. May they be blessed and comforted.
Thank you for sharing a very hard lesson for many of us through your experience. What a great read for the start of my Sunday morning… Life is precious, Life is short and you’re spot on with suggesting, “To appreciate life more. To not sweat the small stuff.” – Thank you friend. ~ Candace
Lori Bee says
Having had to be on a ventilator for nearly a week last year, and actually an even more scary close call less than a month ago, where my best friend was told I only had 2 hours to live (yes it was that close, even though I haven’t really talked about it much), I treasure EVERY moment I have.
Those incidents are blessings to me, making the economy and my financial crisis(aka divorce to a builder & medical bills) seem like small potatoes to me. I am grateful for each breath, and each moment of time I spend with my children and friends. Definitely puts life in perspective.
Very thankful your son is ok, and praying for the family of the young girl.
Paula Henry says
Jay – My heart was pounding as I read this, even before I knew it was you. I remember once a call I got from the Peoria police station saying my family was in an accident and could I please contact them. Every imaginable outcome was racing through my head as I dialed the number. My husband had taken the family out while I was working and my oldest daughter was driving (on her permit). Luckily, they were all okay and just needed a ride home.
The blessing we count when these things happen should be kept before us daily. In the midst of life and work, we have much to be thankful for. I am so glad you are writing this was not your son, but my heart aches for the parents of that young girl.
Carol Smith via Facebook says
Having worked in emergency services for a long time I had to witness the pain, angst and loss of the families of these kids. It’s heartbreaking, eye-opening and gut wrenching. I am so very thankful your son is fine, and my heart goes out to the parents of the young girl that perished that night. Their lives will be forever changed – as is yours. I learned long ago that it’s the little things that comprise a full life. Not a series of BIG things. Stop and smell the roses. They are infinitely sweeter than you could ever imagine.
Marc Brodeur says
Excellent blog. Life is fragile and nothing is as important as family & God. Its that simple. The people killed in earthquakes and Tsunami’s this decade, here one minute, gone the next, puts this into perspective. My neighbor growing up was killed by someone driving down the wrong side of a controlled access double highway. He had just come back from Australia after a year and was going to see his parents, and obviously never made it. What was to be a day of reunion and joy turned into tragedy. I’m glad your son was safe but saddened someone else lost a light in their life.
Gay Potter says
Sorry you had to go through this. I can relate as I have 19 year old boy and a 21, NAU student who is driving home as I write this. Anytime they are not tucked safely behind the bedroom door that I can open to peek inside and catch a glance of them sleeping, the fear of the possible harm exists. I have had to learn to live in a state of “everything is ok” until I hear that it is not. My husband Dave is a 27 year career firefighter. If he does not walk through the door the next morning at the normal time following a 24 hour shift, finding his where abouts take high priority. He has told many a story of touching a dad or mom on the shoulder and delivering news that no parent wants to hear. Two quotes I live by is….”Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “Life is fragile, live it to the fullest”! Happy your son can be found tucked safely behind the bedroom door!
My friend puts this at the bottom of all of his emails. I think it fits when thinking about how we get stuck in our thinking or worrying about the things we realize later weren’t worth it.
“I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” – Frances Willard
Candice A Donofrio via Facebook says
Oh yeah. Life sends us these reminders on occasion. Got the reminder of a lifetime a year ago tomorrow when my little sis was murdered. You will never forget how precious life is and how irrelevant the tiny stuff is until you are smacked upside the head with the knowledge that it can all end in an instant and it doesn’t matter how rich, adored, beautiful or brilliant you are. God and nature are blind to all that. Love your loved ones out loud and forgive your enemies silently. And do what makes you happy every day! 🙂
Sara Bonert says
Echo everyone in saying great post. We only have to look to what is happening in other countries right now to be reminded that every day we wake up warm and safe in the company of loved ones is indeed a gift.
I love Jim Mark’s suggestion above to add it as a recurring annual event to remind yourself of a particular life-changing situation.
Peter Simonsen says
Jay – GREAT post. I hope the rest of us can learn from your experience. Prayers to the girl and her family.
Jerry Reed says
One of your best articles. Many years ago almost the same thing happened to me. I was first at the scene of an accident. Me and one other man. He tried to lift a jeep while I pulled a young man out from under it. Earlier in the day I had seem my soon with a friend in a jeep and the young man I was trying to help had blonde hair and what looked like the same jacket my son was wearing when I had seen him. Like you this wasn’t my Son. I stayed until emergency services arrived. Yes I was thankful it wasn’t my son and yes I was sad for this young man and his friends. You are so correct in that we need reassess what we think is so important and find what really is and make an attitude adjustment. Thank you for writing this. It has got a lot of us thinking.
Jonathan Dalton says
a) Very happy the boy is okay
b) Very sad for the girl’s parents as they’ll be experiencing our worst nightmares
c) You’ve described in far more dramatic detail why I’ve largely unplugged from most things online real estate. Too many things were leaving me on the verge of a trip to the hospital … and that was before the real trip to the hospital’s cardiac ICU last summer.
What NAR does, what others do in the online world, none of it means a damn thing in real life.
Jennifer Klaussen says
wow Jay – you are speaking to so many of us on so many levels that you can’t imagine. And you are dead on – enjoy today – enjoy tomorrow – and every day we have!!! If you want to check it out, there’s a great book called The Unmistakable Touch of Grace – amazing and along these same lines. Enjoy!!
Linda Aaron says
Jay, we haven’t met yet but some day I hope that we do, I feel as though I know you from reading your blog for the last couple of years.
Thank you for sharing your life-altering moment, as I parent I can’t even begin to imagine losing one of mine and wish that no parent had to have the experience. We all have reminders to stop sweating the small stuff, if only we could sustain that everyday of our lives, the world would be much improved. I for one want to remember daily to tell the people closest to me, how much I love and appreciate them.
Thank you Jay,
Steve Mattison says
Jay, I did lose my only son 17 years ago and am glad you did not, the pain never ends.
Thesa Chambers says
Jay – I know what you went through – and the guilt of being happy it is not your child – it sucks – this post made me remember the day it happened to me – and i thank you for bringing it all back to center for me…. my heart goes out to the family that endured the loss –
Heather Tawes Nelson says
What a sad and horrific story. I know that feeling of panic and nausea and helplessness and my heart is breaking for that girl’s family.
I read your post just before I went for a hike with my own family (3 generations) and it made me appreciate even more how precious life is and how the little things just don’t matter.
Jay Thompson says
Thanks everyone for the kind words about this post, the re-tweets, the Facebook shares, etc.
And for those that shared similar (or even far more heartbreaking) stories, bless you all. It’s hard to understand sometimes why bad things happen to good people. And there really isn’t anything that can take away your pain.
But each of you, and the stories you shared, may help anyone who happens to stumble across this post to step back, re-assess and put what life hands us into perspective.
And that is a good thing.
Adele Coffman says
Jay…Thanks so much for sharing…I am sure hard to do. I am super emotional right now as I my BFF has lost her battle with breast cancer and we are just hoping to keep her “comfortable”. ..whatever the hell that means… for her last month, weeks or even days…so when reading this I had BIG tears and even more. My hubby saw my angst and came over to comfort me. We ended up just holding each other and remembering how grateful we really are just to be ABLE to hold each other. Thanks for the reminder Jay….and glad you shared this experience.
Sharon Paxson says
Jay – what a horrific story, and it does cause you to reflect in your life about what is important.
Erica Ramus says
Amen Jay. There is A LOT Of negative energy out there right now. A lot of whining and crying — many many times over little shit. I sometimes want to shake someone — a buyer, a seller, an agent — and tell them this is MINOR STUFF. Get over it. Move on.
I had a seller angry over a very very small item a few weeks ago and I wanted to scream at him: Your kid is healthy. Your wife is by your side. You are not coming to the table short. Nobody is dying or has cancer right now. It is a minor inconvenience in your life to handle this one little thing. Please let us move on.
And I have been in your spot. 14 years ago I had a struggling business. I was working 60-70 hrs with 2 young children and trying to keep my company alive. Then my 1 year old was diagnosed with a terrible disease (You met him, Jay, last summer — Brandon). My world stopped. I decided to throw in the towel with the business and let it all go because suddenly my son was #1. Yeah, he should have been #1 all along. But it took a major issue to discover that. I let it all go. Sold it for a loss and concentrated on my family for a while.
We do important things. We help buyers/sellers with what may be the biggest purchase or sale in their entire lives. But nothing compares to the health of our family.
Valasie August says
Thanks Jay, for painting this visual picture of what perspective looks like. I lost my Dad when I was 15 and learned perspective earlier than I wanted to yet even after 45 years I have to remind myself regularly to keep ALL things in perspective not just some…V
Z.W. Brown says
Wow. Jay, thank you for the reality check. I found myself challenged to re-examine where I assign my emotion and the actions they drive on a daily basis. So many incredibly small and frankly ridiculous things can change the trajectory of a day which turns into a week, maybe a month, and before you know it the things that don’t matter hurt the ones that do. Sharing your experience put a new spin on how I will charge into tomorrow. Thanks!
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden says
Jay, I read your post, put down my computer, walked upstairs and wept as I held my 17 year old daughter telling her HOW much I love her. I’m ashamed of myself. I’ve been giving this kid hell since Saturday morning when she walked in from a sleepover, sporting a new hair color. It has been hell around here since. In the big scheme of things, I don’t give a flip that her hair is now dark, dark brown. Whatever. She’s a good kid, trying to show her independence. It’s not like I found a crack pipe in her pants pocket. She’s a band nerd and rarely even goes anywhere. She is a good kid.
I know better than to be angry for long. We lost her best friend of 10 years, Becky, Thanksgiving weekend. I sat with Becky’s parents as they were going through something none of us ever deserve. They call and can barely speak, between their gasps for air. I held them as their daughter was lowered into the ground. I held them after everyone left the gravesite. These poor parents have seen it all. Their oldest daughter has cancer, their home burned to the ground and now, they have lost their youngest child to a tragic car accident. Her boyfriend was driving her car and pulled in front of an 18 wheeler, killing her instantly. They didn’t get to say goodbye. They thought she was spending the night with a friend….These folks are both janitors at Sams in Nashville. They didn’t even have the money to bury their own child. Thankfully, people are very giving and Becky had the most beautiful service you’ve ever seen. The funeral procession was nearly a mile long. They were proud knowing the love that surrouned them and Becky.
My husband continually tells me to lay off the small stuff with our daughter. He knows…he lost his 6 year old son to Leukemia years ago. He knows what is important and NEVER gets upset over small things. Ever.
Thank you for sharing your story Jay. I’m thankful that it wasn’t your son, and saddened that someone is grieving over the loss of their child.
Rita Burke says
This brought back a vivid memory of a moment after I heard from the police that my parents had both died in an accident. I was 18. My friend was with me and she called her relatives (not parents) in shock, to tell them the news. The relatives thought her parents had died. They rushed to my home and blurted out once they realized they were not the ones deceased “Thank God it’s not your parents!” to my friend. Yes, but they were mine. Having to go to my grandmother’s house and tell her was unbelievable hard and painful on to of everything else. My body completely shut down also. A few years later I worked at the medical examiners in Florida for 5 years witnessing grief and sudden loss, maybe I needed it.
Thanks for the post Jay.
This was such a sobering article. Thank you for putting our daily lives, sometimes mundane, in perspective.
Drive safely and obey the speed limits.
Larry Brewer says
I agree with several people, this is the best you have ever written. I’ve had one of those life altering moments myself when I thought my son was going to die before I could get him to the hospital. It’s one of the reasons people think I’m so calm when everyone else is blowing a gasket. Most of the time it’s not that important. We miss deadlines sometimes, closings get delayed, negotiations don’t work out like you want, and customers have no loyalty. But the sun still comes up tomorrow,enjoy life while you can.
Jason Farris says
Jason Farris says
Thanks for sharing such a personal moment Jay. I just finished reading it to my family (while in tears). Blessings!
Geri Doyle says
This does make you put everything into perspective……great post. Thanks for the eye opener.
Renee Burrows says
What a sobering experience! I had some sort of life changing experience in January (couldn’t tell you what it is/was) where I am not working as long as I used to and am enjoying life more.
Taking time to get out on beautiful days like today to spend the wonderful day smelling the roses and enjoying the company of the ones I love has been amazing. I have been a workaholic my whole adult life so odd enough this has been a different road with great scenery for me!
Cindy Marchant says
Powerful (I am too emotional to write anymore)
Dan Statlander says
Thanks a lot for reminding us of this perspective.
(Real estate experts in Boca Raton Florida)
Carmen Brodeur says
That was the most powerful post you have ever written. I feel so sad for that girl’s family…
Shar Rundio says
Wow, Jay…so glad that you and James are both alright. Prayers for the family of the girl involved. Thinking of you. <3
Sage Dillon says
Yesterday was the 30th birthday of my sister-in-law, Shannon. She died in a car accident when she was just 20, so we had dinner in her honor instead of spending it with her. This was a tough post to read today.
Janet Korte says
Thank you for such a powerful reminder to stop, breathe, and appreciate.
Tiffany Cloud says
tears… everyday so precious and a gift…
Christianne Gordon says
I just posted this article on my husband’s Facebook Group Drive4Teens, a program to help teens learn about the perils of distracted driving, not just the practical side of driving…and then I posted it on my on FB page too. Other than that, I am speechless. Very moving article.
john glynn says
wow. i believe wholeheartedly that these events – whether hitting home, or very close to home – serve to provide us perspective and balance; reorient us down life’s path. you have to take a moment to just sit with them, and let them provide that direction. these are gifts, do not deny them, do not let them be wasted.
but the way you retell this, frame the story to share with others, and transfer that experience is really freakin cool. not easy to do, well done. i feel you, man. thanks.
Alan May says
I’m printing out your story, and posting it on the kitchen door in our office.
Jeff Buettner - Scottsdale Shortsale says
As our prayers are with the family of the young lady killed, we must remember that life is to precious to live angry at the little things.
Harry Dutch Alton says
As time has gone on I have found that you only have yesterday once that’s it dont wast it remeber just once that all you get of yesterdays
Geri Sonkin says
My breath caught in my throat, tears stinging my eyes as I read your spellbinding story. I can’t imagine the terror you experienced, thinking you’d never again see someone you love so much, yet so many have lived that horror, as witnessed by the comments here. My prayers go out to that girl’s parents as they face a nightmare beyond endurance.
After reading all the comments, tears roll down my face, a striking reminder of what is truly important in this world. It certainly does put all the nonsense we deal with on a daily basis in perspective. You’re right. In the end, it’s just not that important.
dan schuman says
Wow, what a post. It’s a shame that it sometimes takes a life altering event to help put things in perspective. I am so sorry that you had to go through this and my prayers go out to the family of the young girl in the accident. Just the thought of those parents having to say goodbye to their little girl forever makes it difficult for me to type right now. Thanks so much for sharing this.
Clint Miller says
Being a father of 5, I can completely understand the terror that you experienced in that moment. I would have been a freaking basket case. So, I can’t fault you for that in any way.
Unlike most, I dont have a horror story of losing anyone close to me due to a dramatic accident or a horrific disease. Unfortunately, it looks like Im the one destined to head down that road. I was diagnosed with stage 3c testicular cancer that spread to my liver, lymph nodes, lungs, and pretty much every where else on February 12, 2010. As you know, since that time, I have done chemo and a battery of tests. Ive lost close to 200 lbs in a year…
But, according to my last set of CT scans, Im winning my war. Tumors are smaller…blood counts all look good. Things appear to be going the way we want them to go.
As far as my outlook on life — Completely changed. I used to be a bit aggressive…even angry at times…at things that I could not control. Picking fights to prove Im right…that type of thing. Ive learned that life is completely wasted when you head down that path. It’s dark, cold, and lonely. Unfortunately, it took nearly dieing (I went into full respatory arrest — it took a team of 6 doctors and nurses 7 hours to stablize me — and was in ICU on a ventelator for 6 days — to show me the error in my ways.
Please…learn from my experience. What Jay is saying here is gospel. And, I cant thank him enough for including me in this post…and for showing the courage needed to write it. Excellent post, Jay. One of your best.
Jay Thompson says
Clint – thanks so much for stopping by.
Keep fighting the good fight, and kick cancer’s ass!
Hugs to you, Angela and the kiddos!
Nannette Turner says
I was that mom praying it was not my son and indeed it was my son in that automobile accident about seven years ago. He lived through it, thankfully. I stayed with him every day in the hospital for weeks on end praying over his bed.
Yeah, this is ONE of the times I have been reminded how things get out of perspective in our lives. How we all get caught up in the rat race.
As I get older I am finding I need to be reminded less often. However, as soon as I think I’ve got this… than it is not long and I’m humbled and reminded again.
Thanks for sharing this Jay. My heart still stops when I see an auto accident, even if the car is not one I’d recognize as someone’s I love. Because I know how that feels. I’m grateful I had a reprieve and my son is alive and I am able to spend time with him.
Debe Maxwell says
Thanks to Elizabeth and Clint for directing me here tonight. After witnessing a fuel-driven major blogger fiasco this past week, I believe all parties involved need to read this and realize just what’s truly important in this life. Certainly not bickering about something that won’t matter in the next 12-months. Faith, family and friends always come first…the rest, well, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter.
As for Pollyanna…hubby says that’s my middle name and I’m proud to now share it with you!
See you in ATL on Wednesday.
Kate Elim says
Jay…I’ve always been Pollyannish. It’s my nature although I am also manage to gripe more than I should but I tend to think about those that have so much less, that have greater health issues, fewer opportunities, etc. For many, many years now I have felt that I am very fortunate. Most of us are compared to others.
Thankfully the accident did not involve your son. Another family has a burden that’s almost to much to bear. Many do, including Clint’s.
Victoria Stankard says
Jay, Such a great and moving article. After being involved in the fuel driven major blogging fiasco that Debe Maxwell mentioned, this article really hit home. I admit, I wept a few times. We sometimes get so wrapped up in the stupid stuff that goes on that we forget what is truly important. Life is too short to waste on the petty small stuff.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful article!
Doug Francis says
Over the years, some of my fellow real estate agents have given me a hard time for taking a two week vacation with my wife & kids, or how coaching my son’s lacrosse team must take up so much time.
Time? Time is all we have!
Appreciating what we have, right now, is what’s important.
Anita Clark says
Such a sad and sobering story…life is precious so enjoy each and every moment with loved ones!
Rich Bailey says
Jay, I sometimes picture myself at that moment, the precise instant when I “Get the news”. And I can’t complete the thought. It’s too painful to think of life without my wife or baby girl. I find myself praying to keep them safe. Bad things happen to great people every day, and all we can do is hope we aren’t unfortunate enough to be one of the unlucky ones, and cherish the time we have, as you so eloquently pointed out.
Doug Francis says
My father, one night when it was just the two of us, told me the story of when the New Hampshire State Police called him to tell him that his mother had been in a fatal car accident.
In shock he asked the trooper, “is she okay?”
It had been 30+ years and he was still shaken when he told me this story.
Barrie Real Estate says
Nice post. I said wow! A relief experience you shared to us. Good for you, but what about for the girl family? It is sad to think of the girl, it really hurts for the girls’ family.
I can’t even imagine that feeling and honestly i hope i never have to go through it. Live each day like it’s your last and always remind friends and family that they are loved.
Cliff Stevenson says
Holy crap Jay. I don’t really know what to say after reading this.
Going to go home and hug my kids tonight.
I guess I have one thing to say…thank you for the reminder. A reminder of what is really and truly important in life.
Michelle Gibson says
Jay – About two years ago my husband called me and said that someone rear ended him a few minutes away from our house. I immediately packed up the kids, jumped in the car and pulling up to the accident was one of the worse things I’ve ever experienced even though I know my husband was alive. I didn’t know what his injuries were at the time, but I did know that he survived and everyone said he shouldn’t of. This we as a life changing event for me.
Debra Parisi says
OMG, so happy that your son was not involved and so sorry about the young girl and her family and friends. I always try to not sweat the small stuff and I learned how fragile life is while I held my Dad’s hand as he passed away. It definitely changed me as life goes way to fast and we all have to live our best life!
You’re suppose to be this good guy Francy brags on, and my future RE guy.
Now I have to get my wife and extended family to see “how you are”.
That was chilling, heartwarming and way too real dude. Bless us one and all.
Karen Batson says
Why is that every accident I see, my heart starts beating and thinking it’s my own 19-year-old son? What about all of the accidents I don’t see? My son thinks it’s cute when I text him after I see an accident to make sure he’s okay. You wrote this so well. Like Stephen King, you have the gift to put to paper what the rest of us can only think about.
Brad Rachielles says
Jay, How sobering. We think we are living life as it was meant to be, and then a tragedy hits to change our perspective. I think that it was so important that you shared this…. for you and for me. Thank you.
Such a great post.
The modern day life makes us busier than ever and sometimes we lose focus on important things like spending time with the loved ones. Thank you for posting your experience and valuable thoughts.
From a long time reader and first time commenter.
Scott Bingham says
Wow- double barreled timely for me.
We just lost a 18 year old kid in a Sunday night youth group I help with. My son hangs out with him a couple times a week. Blood clot in his leg broke loose, went to his lungs, he collapsed in front of his mother, a nurse, ambulance there within minutes, but he’s gone.
I tried imagining what his mother was going through, but I had to stop. It was too intense. I don’t even know what to say to Danielle, his mother. I guess we just sit with her, and listen, thank God for the mercy He has shown us with our kids so far, and remember that none of us is ever promised one more minute.
What a powerful post. Thanks!
Tiffany James says
Hi Jay. I first saw this post via Bill Lublin’s fb page and I was truly touched. You wrote such an amazing post. I, of course being so taken aback by the account, posted a link on my fb page. I received several comments too. Which I expected. But it was what I didn’t expect that took me by suprise. When I walked into the office the next day, one of the girls who read the post had printed your post and passed it around the office. So many people in the office were touched by your story. Some to tears. So, thanks for putting fingers to keyboard and laying it down like that! Your reminder of what is really important is what many of us needed to hear!
Tiffany James says
Hi Jay. I first saw this post via Bill Lublin’s fb page and I gotta tell ya I was truly touched. You wrote such an amazing post. I, of course being so taken aback by the account, posted a link on my fb page. I received several comments too. Which I expected. But it was what I didn’t expect that took me by suprise. When I walked into the office the next day, one of the girls who read the post had printed your post and passed it around the office. So many people in the office were touched by your story. Some to tears. So, thanks for putting fingers to keyboard and laying it down like that! Your reminder of what is really important is what many of us needed to hear!
CLYDE MUDZVOVA says
Such a sad story my prayers are we the little girl and her family
Crystal Tost says
Great heart wretched article. What a scary thought and I just anted to add you had every right to feel relief for yourself in that moment, it would be a normal feeling to feel. And having the guilt, also shows your compassion for people. Thanks for the post!
Beth Larsen says
Jay, what a roller-coaster of emotions you went through! Eloquent post, and you put your experience to immediate use by giving us a moment to put ourselves in your shoes and reflect on how very quickly life can change, for any of us. Hopefully your son has read it as well…and it makes us all just a little more careful, and more invested in the moments we share. My heart goes out to the family of the young lady.
Matthew Taylor says
Riveting and heart-stopping to say the least. It does make you re-examine “what really matters” and put things in perspective. While this has never happened to me; I have 3 sons, and when they’re out of the house, everytime you hear an ambulance you say, “please let it NOT be him”.
I think when we met jay, at the winter conference here, I mentioned I was a social worker for 20 years. I can tell you on many occasions I met grieving families in hospital emergency rooms, working them through the “process”. Having a father and or mother grip you in a bearhug, weeping (wailing) their head buried into your shoulder…… Those moments changed my life and made me appreciate everyday…
Peace to you
Ken Horst says
Thanks for the insight and perspective Jay. Sorry you had to live that experience so we could get the benefit of your experience. It hit home with me because I have a 14 yr old son and a 12 year old daughter and lately it seems that all we do is argue, fight and disagree. Your post reminds me just how important my family is and maybe I should slowed down and take the time to enjoy them for their strengths instead of spending so much time pointing out their faults.
Karen Rice says
I know I’m late to the party, but AMEN to the message of this post.
Mucit Cin ?lginÃ§ Hediyelik says
i am in tears now…this article reminded me last year…i have lost my brother in a car accident…the police called me in the middle of the night and told that there was an accident…after that i just rushed to the hospital with my folks he was badly injured…doctors said they tried everything to rescue him but they couldnt succeed…i think sometimes people needs time to reconsider their lives…life is too short to waste, live it with your loved ones as much as u can…
Liz Benitez says
I know I cry easily, my son teases me about it all the time, but this post has me pooling up. What a scary experience, and wow that you are able to grow from it. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your story it brought tears to my eyes! It truly makes you think of what should matter in our lives our loved ones. Life is way to short to be wasting on insignificant matters! Again, thank you for sharing your story brings you back to reality!
Beautifully said, Jay. Most people understand your message, and do try to heed it, but we all tend to forget and need reminders. My husband and I were just discussing this last week – despite work issues and other things that worry me, I feel blessed that my children are healthy, my marriage is strong, and I have a lot of love in my life. I am in this focus mode – I am sure sometimes I will stray off the path, as I am only human, so thank you for the reminder!
Jamie Skojec says
Thank you for this post Jay, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and this one is so true. We can’t forget to be thankful everyday no matter how much we have going on in our lives. I truely believe that in order to maintain success and keep being productive, we need to cut out negativity everywhere we can. This was a GREAT post!
Reminds me of the day my guardian father of 29years tragically passed away in an accidental fall from the terrace trying to repair the internet cable. Accidents can be so devastating. Very nice article. Exceedingly well crafted i must say.
Tony Gilbert says
Wow… I couldn’t agree with you more! It was just earlier this evening (while thoroughly enjoying some Haagen-Dazs) that I decided to log the things I’m grateful for – in pictures. I went through cancer treatments a little over a year ago, and since then, have been accused of being “pollyanaish” in my often “simple” manner of approaching problems in life. Meaning… enough with the silly battles!
David Llewellyn Smith says
A very sad story, thank you for sharing. We must live every day to the fullest.
David Llewellyn Smith says
A very sad story, thank you for sharing. We must live every day to the fullest.
It’s Rock and Roll Thursday, Have a Super Day!
This is a moving piece and should make a difference. On March 22 of last year, my 13 year old son shot himself (still unsure if he was just trying to prove a point and the gun went off or a sure intent) just before school while I was talking to his dad on the phone. While trying to do CPR, his dad was driving 100mph down the 101 to get home to help me. He arrived just as the paramedics did and our son was dead.
You had a brief moment of the shear pain that losing a child ignites on a daily basis and it does make you appreciate EVERYTHING you have. I now dedicate my time 100% to my remaining children and the charity I started in my son’s name to help underprivileged children play baseball. Jason’s Propulsion League, http://www.jplleague.org, and my blog, http://www.jojowoodwrite.blogspot.com, will hopefully get the word out that life is short and no matter how bad it is, you can make a difference.
Jay Thompson says
@KimberlyTocco Oh Kimberly, I am so sorry to hear about Jason. I can not imagine what you’ve been through. Jason’s Propulsion League sounds fantastic. I just made a small donation and will do more later. Let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help promote it.
Rob Thomson_RiverHomes says
“When you get right down to it, all the trials and tribulations most of us go through on a daily basis are nothing. They are inconsequential” – I agree
Thank you for such a thought provoking piece.
Very touching story. I am really glad that you didn’t just forget.
Wow, just wow…love it. This was a pleasant surprise Jay grazie mille.
Very good post. I agree with all of these items.
Thank you Jay,
This post adds to my insights on the source of my success and failures. Your quest to ‘think’ more and act habitually less just may be the only rule anyone needs to discover how great life really is.
Lots of great reading..
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Peter Jordan says
Why is it that it takes a life-shattering event to remind us of something we should realize everyday?
What does it take for us to become truly consicious?