Time for Mom


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Nothing positive comes in life without a sacrifice. Owning a pest control company is one of them. Creating a successful company requires an enormous number of hours of blood, sweat and tears. Blood is spilled in terms of the stressed family relationships as you pour yourself into the business. Sweat beyond belief is extended as you play field and office chief cook and bottle washer. Tears like you wouldn’t believe are felt when you realize that you have hired people who you may not be able to trust, people who don’t care, who damage your business (sometimes willfully) and all of whom go on the chopping block to save your business.

But today my thoughts are on my mom. I have done the blood, sweat and tears for years, losing many chances to spend time with my mother 3000 miles away. I have told myself that I could not leave the business to others when I well knew from experience that I would return to find unpleasant reminders that the business got lazy, slow, sloppy or unprofessional in my absence.

It is only in the last two years that I have felt a true “warm, fuzzy” that I could get away with my family without returning to troubles. The team I have now takes pride in high performance during my absence. But along the way, I let 7 years of my mother’s last slip by without the attention she deserved.

Now, toward the very end of her life, I am back where I need to be with her, yes, 3000 miles away from by business, attending to mom on her final road. I don’t regret working hard for my dream business, for a dream role of making a difference through something I built from the ground, up. But I also reflect with anger directed at myself for not doing more, for not being there. My mom is my mom. That’s it.

Last night, I flew the red-eye to NY and had a great day with my mom at New York Booth Memorial, attending to her, joking a bit, reminiscing about most everything in her life dating back to the depression, romance, kids, love and loss, and yes… accepting what is to come.

As we go about our work running our pest control operations, don’t let anyone think for a minute that you have not made great sacrifices in pursuit of your goals and that if they are to be a part of that dream, they need to respect the blood, sweat and tears you have put into your business. Most of all, we must not fool ourselves as we are sacrificing others in the pursuit of our goals.

Today, I have few regrets, but great sadness.

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4 Responses to Time for Mom

  1. David Cole says:

    Gerry, Tonight I do feel your pain! as someone that lost their Mother at age 13, I know very well that there is nothing that can replace the love and support of family, may GOD be with your Mother.
    As a person that has spent his life in the pest control field, I understand the yen and yang of business vs. Family life.
    Business is what a man does to support his family (in the beginning) but after time, business becomes family!
    Your business, can be the troubled child you help along the way, it can be the weak sibling you offer your support to in troubled times,it can be the angry partner you fight with in times of trouble an d it can be the friend you lean on in your times of sadness, in the end it is the contribution to the world you have made, (for better or for worse).
    I find my value in my 3 daughters and the happiness they bring me, I love what I do and who I am, however; what I leave this world with is the wonderful people I helped create.
    I am sure that Hearts PM will be here and respected long after we are both gone. That, my friend, is something to be very proud of!

  2. Gerry says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you so much for your strong faith, loyalty and passion. I hear you and believe me, it is an incredible privilege to work with you and share my vision for Hearts Pest Management with you. We have a great trail ahead to blaze together.

    I’m so happy I came back to NY! We have spent a lot of quality time in the last 48 hours. I spent a lot of time comforting mom yesterday, letting her know I was there for her, feeding her and letting her know I loved her. A few times during the day she brought the subject to final arrangements for her funeral and other feelings about coming to the end of life and facing death.

    Today it was a totally different story. Although mom knows that she needs more intensive care than is available at her current independent living facility, she did not talk about death at all. She had more color in her face. She sat up and got out of bed. She smiled… a lot. She was so happy that I had made the trip. I don’t know if she would have made it without me, but I know that even though her short term memory is limited, she is very aware of my presence and clear that she still has loved ones that make life worth living.

    Make each day special.

    Gerry

  3. […] a recent post, “Time for Mom,” I wrote about the sacrifices that we make as business people, the time away from those we love. […]

  4. […] I’ve been thinking a lot about death. Perhaps you’ve read my posts about my mom’s rapid aging and dealing with her dying process. Also, my trips to Israel always make me think about life […]

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