After his son's death while on a work call, J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, wrote an emotional post on LinkedIn, pleading with parents to spend more time with their kids and less at work.
Storment wrote an open letter on LinkedIn, that has garnered over 26,000 likes and 2,700 comments, announcing the passing of his son, Wiley, due to complications from his mild epilepsy. His grief is accompanied by self-reproach for not having devoted more time to his son, which he wishes to urge other parents to do.
Storment recalls that the day his son departed began like any other：
In the same month eight years ago, I experienced the joy of having twin boys and the success of co-founding Cloudability. Sadly, just three weeks ago we lost one of our boys.
When I was contacted, I was surrounded by a dozen people in the Portland office, having a discussion about PTO regulations. Prior to this, I had confessed to the group that I had not taken a continuous break for more than a week in the last 8 years.
I was still making his way to the conference room door when I spoke into the receiver with 'Hey, what's up?' My wifer said: 'J.R., Wiley is dead.' He cried out 'What?! No!', to which she sadly responded, 'I'm so sorry, I have to call 911.' Everything after this was pure disarray.
After the conversation concluded, I was out of the office in a flash, brandishing my car keys and shouting expletives as I raced across the street. When I reached the middle of the block, it hit me that I'd forgotten the opener for the parking garage. Panicking, I raced back into the lobby and frantically yelled for someone to drive me. Thankfully, a kind colleague obliged.
Storment managed to get back, yet the origin of his death remained unknown and the police handled the house as if it could be a crime scene. The distressing father had to wait two and a half hours before he could lay eyes on his son.
After the medical examiner wrapped up his work, we were allowed in. A heavy feeling came over me and I laid down on the bed he adored. I kept wondering, 'What happened?' We stayed there for 30 minutes, petting his hair, before they came with the gurney. I held his hand and his head through the body bag as they pushed him out. All the cars drove away, with the black minivan containing Wiley being the last one to leave.
One of the worst moments of this month was signing his death certificate. His name at the top of the page was almost too much to bear. Even worse were the two entries below- Occupation: Never worked, and Marital Status: Never married. It was like his dreams were erased in an instant.
Storment had not been able to watch over the boys on the morning of the tragedy, as he had had to be up before dawn for meetings, a choice that now appears to be a source of remorse.
Storment urges parents to take action:"Hug your children, don't neglect them for work commitments. Much of what you spend time on now you'll regret after it's too late. The takeaway here is to remind ourselves not to miss out on the important things."
As I was writing this post, Oliver, my living son, came in to ask for screen time. Instead of denying him, I put down my pen and asked if I could join him. He was taken aback by my response and we had a great time together. It's the little things that really make a difference. One benefit of this difficult situation is the better bond I'm building with him.
After we sold the business, I gave each of the boys a one-hundred-dollar bill. They decided to put their money together and buy a tent for camping, yet it didn't occur before Wiley's death. Another regret. So, following the initial set of family visits after his demise, I took Jessica and Oliver to REI to get the necessary items and we hurriedly left town to camp near Mt. St. Helens.
We were worried when we arrived in the wilderness without enough money for the campground fee, but Jessica then remembered that Wiley had left a $100 bill in his seat pocket. The family said a big 'Thank you' to him and it was one of many bittersweet memories we will keep forever. Each good moment is tainted with sadness that Wiley won't be able to experience it.