This is a true story, and is a story about a former co-worker of mine, Henry. He and I used to work at a company called Wealth Management Solutions, and as luck would have it, our cubicles were next to each other. Given my quirky sense of humour it was probably my good luck and his bad luck.
Henry had an interest in the stock market, as did I, so we often talked about finance and investing. He specialized in resources and had an uncanny ability to peer into the future.
Even though I’m no longer with the company, I still keep in touch with Henry by e-mail. We still trade investment advice, are lamenting these difficult economic times, and both wish that we had more money to invest in the stock market now that the prices are so low.
I sent him an e-mail last month, a couple of days before Christmas, to ask how he was enjoying the holidays. He replied to my e-mail, and what I read was certainly a shock. His mother died on Monday December 22nd, and he had been driving back and forth from Toronto to Montreal (where she lived) to make the funeral arrangements. There were blistering snowstorms along the 401 at the time, and the driving was treacherous.
In addition to the driving and the emotional stress, he was also hosting a Christmas party for sixteen people. It wasn’t a very good Christmas season, but Henry was hoping for a brighter 2009.
I replied to Henry’s e-mail and offered my condolences on the passing of his mother. I also expressed my admiration – if I were in the same position, I don’t think that I would have been able to organize and host a Christmas party so soon afterwards.
I celebrated my Christmas with my family in Orangeville, and when I returned, I checked my e-mail messages. There was a message from Henry. He thanked me for my condolences, and then told the following story:
Actually, when the kids were opening up the presents at midnight I was sad to realize that this was the first year that they would not be receiving their cards from their granny. Then I thought – why was she so eager to go home from the hospital? She drove the hospital staff crazy to allow her out when she was so sick. I then put on my coat and went to the mailbox. There they were. Barely legibly-addressed cards to each of the kids, and each with their $50.00 gift inside. She managed to get that done just before she died. Now that is a Christmas story.
Now that is an extraordinary son who had an extraordinary mother.