JR Storment's heartbreaking open letter about his son has gone viral.
JR Storment's heartbreaking open letter about his son has gone viral.

‘Workaholic’ dad’s son dies during meeting

A workaholic dad who found out his eight-year-old son had died while he was on a conference call penned a heart-wrenching post telling parents to put their kids before work.

JR Storment wrote the essay after one of his twins died suddenly in his sleep and posted it on LinkedIn, hoping to spread the message to other working parents.

Wiley Storment died three weeks ago after suffering a rare complication of mild childhood epilepsy.

JR's wife Dr Jessica Brandes found the youngster cold and dead in bed, his brother Oliver playing on an iPad nearby.

But JR admits he had gone to work without checking on his sons and had already been in rounds of meetings when Jessica called him to break the news.

 

JR and Jessica Storment with their children Oliver and Wiley.
JR and Jessica Storment with their children Oliver and Wiley.

His wife Jessica wrote in her own LinkedIn post: "If we've learned anything at all, it's that life is fragile and time really can be so cruelly short."

Now the exec, who founded US-based cost management system Cloudability in 2011, says the death of his boy was a startling reminder that so many people's work-life balance is out of whack.

JR, who spent two years living with his family in London recently, launching the platform in Europe, said in a post titled Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think): "Eight years ago, during the same month, I had twin boys and co-founded Cloudability.

 

LIFE IS FRAGILE

"About three months ago Cloudability was acquired. About three weeks ago we lost one of our boys."

He described how he left his Oregon home at 5am the morning Wiley died and had already held a call in his car on the way to the office.

When he received the call telling him his son had died, he was in a conference call with 12 people.

JR’s letter has been shared more than 15,000 times.
JR’s letter has been shared more than 15,000 times.

"Minutes earlier, I had admitted to the group that in the last 8 years I'd not taken more than a contiguous week off.

"My wife and I have an agreement that when one of us calls, the other answers. So when the phone rang I stood up and walked to the conference room door immediately.

"I was still walking through the door when I answered with 'Hey, what's up?'

"Her reply was icy and immediate: 'JR, Wiley is dead'.

"What?' I responded incredulously.

"Wiley has died' she reiterated.

"What?! No', I yelled out, 'No!'

"She replied, I'm so sorry, I have to call 911'.

"It was 2.5 painful hours before I could see my boy," JR went on.

The family were only allowed to see him - still in his bed - after the medical examiner had done his work.

A piece of writing by Wiley before he died.
A piece of writing by Wiley before he died.

 

"I laid down next to him in the bed that he loved, held his hand and kept repeating, 'What happened, buddy? What happened?'

"We stayed next to him for maybe 30 minutes and stroked his hair before they returned with a gurney to take him away. I walked him out, holding his hand and his forehead through the body bag as he was wheeled down our driveway."

JR added: "Many have asked what they can do to help. Hug your kids. Don't work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you'll regret once you no longer have the time.

"I'm guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with.

"Do you have them regularly scheduled with your kids? If there's any lesson to take away from this, it's to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter."

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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