'I'm afraid the news isn't good'

Last week I got some news that stopped me in my tracks and made it almost impossible for me to concentrate on or care about work.

My eldest brother had been hospitalized and received the news that he is terminal. Wait, what?! The guy who earned a full-ride scholarship to Purdue as a starting Fullback? No way! He's larger than life with a boisterous laugh and huge smile and commands attention and gives great hugs. There must be a mistake.

When I spoke with him, he explained that he is not afraid to die. He is strong of faith and knows his life will not be over, it will be changed. He went on to thank me for being a great 'lil sis' and told me that he loved me.

Well, that brought me to my knees, literally.

Why am I sharing this? For two reasons, both of which stem from thankfulness for the ability to handle this news in a way that's best for me.

1) Please re-visit your employee bereavement policy. Make sure it doesn't state which family member's death qualifies the policy's enactment. Who are we to dictate which relative is most important in anyone's life? If it allows 3 days off, know that will never be enough time. If you're worried about work product, get okay with some short-term productivity loss. Add in more time for grieving and gain the benefit of long-term gratitude and loyalty.

2) Please take some time to think about the alignment of your priorities. I've gotten off track a bit and need to make some adjustments. That's what I'll be doing this week and next as I travel home to Cleveland to be with my brother and family.

When I return there will be a noticeable difference in me that will inspire others.

I am determined to pay forward my brother's legacy of living a life of good works.

For now though, it will not be work as usual. That just has to wait.

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