The Day That Time Stood Still

Filed in Living by on October 8, 2015 6 Comments

I was driving along the other day and a car turned in front of me with a middle-aged male driver and a very old and frail-looking male passenger. They were going very slowly, as though the driver was afraid to alarm what was probably his very aged father.

This scene brought a very sad and powerful memory rushing back to me. A few years ago my dad was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer and heart disease. He was told he had at most only a couple of months to live. I picked him up one morning and we went to lunch (my mom had already passed away a few years earlier). On the way back to his condo, he was having a lot of trouble breathing and said he felt sick. He looked very ill, desperate, and forlorn. I’ll never forget the look on his face. I told him we were going to head straight to the nearest ER.

As we were driving to the ER that sunny fall day, a couple of things struck me. First, I realized that dad would probably never see his condo again, because he was too sick to live independently any more. That unfortunately turned out to be true.

The other thing that struck me was how weird I felt. It was this bright and sunny day, and my dad was dying. It was a weekday, when most people were fully into their daily routines—at work, at home caring for their children, at school, whatever. I would normally be at the gym working out or at the hospital volunteering on a day like this. But I wasn’t. I was driving along with my dying father.

When you are in the midst of your daily routine, just realize that there is more to life than your daily work and accomplishments. There are things that completely transcend this, and which put the whole thing in perspective. On that sunny, sad day, I developed a whole new perspective and context on life, which I hope I never forget.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (6)

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  1. Deborah Mcloughlin says:

    Tim. I rember feeling the same way when we were in the limo for my fathers funeral. How could all those people be so happy when there was so much sadness in the car. Do we even think about what others may be going thru. Such is life.

  2. Marian Appleton says:

    Thanks Tim. Many of us have had similar experiences!

  3. Deborah Mcloughlin says:

    Hi Tim
    The same experiences. The process of a parent passing puts a lot of things in perspective and makes us face our own mortality

  4. Ed deMartin says:

    Thanks, Tim. Good job.

  5. Colleen McIntyre says:

    Hi Tim,

    I love your post today. Thanks for sharing such an insightful memory of a time with Dad when the end was near. Focusing on having love in our lives should be our #1 priority. Responding to a work email on the weekend can wait! Love you.

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