I don’t have a huge death toll thus far in life. For that, I am grateful. I lost my dad 16 years ago, when my son was two. More recently, I lost my business partner to stage IV colon cancer. My dad’s death, while sad, wasn’t tragic. He passed at 80 and was fairly healthy until near the end. Robin, my business partner, was taken too early.
It’s been over a year now since Robin died and I am finally used to not talking to her every day, all day long. Anyone who is an entrepreneur, or works on a team, understands the significant amount of time spent together. The ins and outs of working towards a common goal leads to an intimacy; a friendship and understanding not necessarily understood by others.
For the first year, I thought about Robin everyday. All 365 of them. Anytime something wonderful would happen in our Kuel Life Community, I would reach for the phone to call her. Setbacks felt harder and lonelier than before without her optimism and encouragement. Up to the day of the anniversary of her death, she was on my list of ‘favorites’ – those of us with iPhones know what that means. I would occasionally indulge in hearing her sweet voice on her voicemail. About seven or eight months ago her phone was finally disconnected.
Each one of these deaths created a ripple effect in my, and other’s, lives for which I am eternally grateful.
A Last Promise:
My son speaks, reads, and writes Spanish. This is the legacy from the loss of my Papi´ (Dad). The afternoon of his death, I stood next to him and whispered into his ear and promised to him that his grandson would be fluent in his (my father’s) language. Fast forward, past copious hair pulling, kicking, and screaming (both, from me and my son); Aidan is fluent. What’s most amazing about this particular gift is that Aidan now owns it himself. Even applying for, and being accepted into, a college-level Spanish class, at UNC Chapel Hill, for his Senior year of high school. At 18 he expresses gratitude that I ‘forced’ him down this path. That somehow my emotional, last minute, offering to my dying father turned into a life-time benefit for my son.
A Decade Later:
Many years after that deathbed promise, I found myself lying next to Robin in her oversized ‘hospital’ bed. She had been able to go home and spend her remaining weeks overlooking the San Francisco Bay. We lay there silently, holding hands, watching ‘Jane the Virgin’. Mindless TV helped distract her from pain and the hardcore reality of what was happening. Much like the moment with my Dad, I found myself making Robin a promise. I would fight the good fight that we had started for the both of us. I vowed to her that I would ‘figure it out’ and not give up.
While Kuel Life is far from a ‘huge’ success (yet), my mission to change the paradigm for midlife women is unwavering. I know I am on the right path. And, the best part is I am not alone. Our Community increases daily. Each and every woman, with whom I speak, ‘gets it’ and wants to be part of it. From our growing list of top experts in their respective fields, to the woman-owned brands, to the supportive Members who put their ‘money where their mouth is’; we are unstoppable. Whilst my final promise to my Papi´ proved a precious endowment to my son, Robin’s is a gift to so many.
About the Author:
Jacqueline (Jack) Perez champions change, redefining modern midlife for women through curated content and women-driven brands. Checkout Kuel Life where you can Share, learn, shop, and play with our Second Act Sisters! Subscribe to the weekly Kuel Life Newsletter for hot topics delivered directly to your inbox.