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Edition 340 – Lynne

A couple of weeks back, I headed to Tamworth in North Western New South Wales to celebrate my mother’s 76th birthday. With the impact of the lockdowns throughout 2021, illness with her and COVID taking hold in our own home, it had been almost 20 months since I’d last seen her. The road trip was long overdue.

My first reaction upon seeing her was surprise at how much she’s slowed down. She had her gall bladder removed last year, around her last birthday, and the recovery was a little longer than she’d hoped. I guess when you’re 75, that’s going to be the case.

As she finalised the preparation for a delicious roast dinner for Trish, myself and my stepfather, Dennis, the dreaded beast re-emerged! A lifelong smoker, though thankfully these days, much less than I remember, the years of smoking have taken their toll. Her breathing is somewhat laboured and any physical effort appears to be halted by a vaguely hidden effort to gain some air. Over the years, I’ve detected it, even when I’m on the phone with her. However, there’s no doubt the condition is worsening, hence my calling it the dreaded beast.

Mum has never been an overly maternal person. I remember very few hugs and kisses as a child and certainly her interest in our own now adult sons has been disappointing over the years.  I’ve merely had to accept that that’s who she is and whilst we’re reasonably close, the relationship is not at the depth that I observed between my wife, Trish and her own mother Peggy. I partially reconcile that with the fact that at the age of 54, I’m blessed to still have my own mother alive.

For 20 years, I’ve long mentioned to my clients that as your parents age and their health starts to deteriorate, you’ll be called upon to be available for them. In our case with Trish’s mother Peggy, it was daily care, companionship and support as she lived with us for over 11 years.

As a couple, we made a conscious decision to ensure that her mother’s quality of life was maintained to the highest possible standard by having Trish dial back her own employment, and to lower our own financial expectations, by Trish being employed part time, and at times, not employed at all, so that she could devote time to our own young sons, and to her own mother. We have absolutely no regrets about those decisions, for what is money but a number in the bank account when our parents are long gone. The bank account of memories from those times, on the other hand, has long been full.

If you’re in business, what are you doing to take a few moments out, or a day, to connect with your older relatives? The fact is, you have the choice to do this with your life.

In my opinion, being in business is not all about building the biggest corporation with the most revenue and the largest profit. Surely it’s also about building a lifestyle that you wouldn’t otherwise have if you were an employee. For me, taking time out to be with our older relatives is part of that lifestyle for when they’re gone, some of you reading this will be saying “I really should have spent more time with them”.

This Week’s Tip

“I know of at least one business owner that takes time out each Thursday to spend with her aunt,
so close is their relationship and so committed are they to each other.”