"The idea is to die young as late as possible" ~Ashley Montagu
My mother in law passing was a shock. At some point I'll do a post to capture who that woman was, but today marks 1 month and it's still too raw. This post is about one of the most chaotic weeks I've experienced.
Sometimes you don't have a choice but to be strong, and in moments like that you either rise up or fold. Sometimes there is no option to fold. Moments like these are never pleasant, but it's also in these unpleasant moments that there are shining examples of what people can accomplish when put under extreme duress.
This post is extremely personal, but the lessons are important for those who take the time to find them.
We were walking on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when we got the phone call. Denial is the first stage of grief...we didn't have time to go through the 5 stages of grief. Our mother was dead in Haiti and we needed to send her off properly.
Funerals are expensive, especially in Haiti. They can be more expensive there than they are here.
Mom had properties in the US. The funeral date was set immediately. We were going to bury her in under a weeks time and didn't have any of the pieces of the puzzle to get this done. The first piece of the puzzle? Money.
The first major obstacle. How do you sell a property that was not for sale to get the money for a beautiful sendoff?
Then, how do we plan a funeral in Haiti which is to take place in 5 days while sitting in Florida? How do you even have time to stress about it? Leaping into action was the only option, and that's what we did.
Within 24 hours of her passing, we had one of the properties under contract...on a Sunday night. How? "Texting” and relationships got that done. Closing was set for Tuesday, funding would be Wednesday. Step one was done so we could start sending money to Haiti and confirm the burial Saturday.
The first thing we needed to do is notify family and friends. This is emotionally draining, time consuming and never stopped...everyone wants to know what happened. You can't ignore calls, even if you want to. Mom was loved by many...the calls came in constantly, and Haitians do not do quick calls. Haitians want details.
In the next 72 hours, we needed to:
1) find a church and make arrangements
2) notify and coordinate 9 priests (yes, 9...she was very popular)
3) coordinate a singer and pick songs
4) create programs
5) pick readings and readers
6) book flights, cars and hotels
7) find an after party venue
8) create and order food and drink. We were planning a wedding party for 50 people with no DJ...and we had 2 days to do it.
9) buy an outfit for mom to be buried in
10) get appropriate clothing for my wife, her brother, myself, her father and her aunt (including purses, shirts, ties, shoes and jewelry)
11) coordinate flowers
12) hire a singer
13) rent a car
14) secure a driver
15) coordinate a plot to bury her and the times to do it
16) Figure out how to get money to all the right places
17) coordinate a hearse and 300 Haitians in and out of the US who wanted to pay respects to a woman who did so much for so many
18) find someone to take our dog for a few days
20) find someone local we trusted to take our 9 month old daughter (thank God we had one of those people local)
All of this done and planned in 96 hours before we left under the heaviest of hearts while running a company, holding meetings and handling customers.
Think about the logistics.
Everything went off without a hitch. The church was beautiful and renovated since the earthquake, the singer was spectacular, my wife's speech, powerful and eloquent. The nine priests conducted the mass together flawlessly. The flowers lined the room and hundreds showed up. The parties the night before and after were elegant, classy and filled with various foods and drinks. It was flawless.
Human beings are capable of so much. Sometimes it's under the worst of circumstances you find out just what you can do when you have no choice.
It's easy to fall into a routine or to let the world beat you down so you think the impossible is no longer possible. When the chips are down and the pressure is at a 10, the impossible gets done. No excuses.
We all have greatness in us. Why wait until things are catastrophic to harness that power?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is a marketing automation platform which allows businesses to personalize group text messages.
Prior to Texting Base, Eric was the first US employee of TechSpan which became Headstrong. Headstrong sold for $550M to GenPact.
With a group of partners in 2005, Eric started Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted Mortgage Company that grew to over 1B/Year in originations.
Eric is the author of "Changing The World Through Texting Software.”
Eric is a speaker, inventor, patent holder, chef, writer for LA Style Magazine, producer and author.