Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dealing With Death

Not anyone in my family but with one of my clients. And not an actual death, but a client who has developed a particularly virulent form of cancer.

It is an aspect of growing older that death processes and events start happening with more frequency. For me personally, the death first of my mother, but much more intensely, that of my father brought the whole dying process and all that it entails into clearer focus.

This year I've had two clients contract cancer that has led to planned succession processes to being accelerate up. In the first case we were already in the process of doing a sale to the proposed successors. In the second case, the cancer diagnosis came out of the blue. The client is only in his late 50's. The cancer is particularly bad with no track record of responding to traditional treatment.

We found out about this in May. Since then my partner and I have been working in overdrive to put into place a mechanism to fulfill the client's goals of taking care of his wife and seeing that his company would continue beyond him. While initially the path to attaining his objectives seemed to be difficult, I can say that we along with the firm's attorneys have managed to put in place a fairly simple (a relative term) process to obtain the client's objectives.

Today we were meeting with the proposed successor owners and then with the client, his wife and his attorneys to try and make major progress on our proposed solutions. The meetings went well but it was very emotional. This is not the kind of work that you seek out to do, but knowing that you are trusted and making an exceedingly serious contribution to someone's potential end-of-life event is really an honor. To be honest, I'm a bit drained.

But on another level, I feel blessed not just to be of serious assistance to the client and his wife, but also to just be participating and learning from the process. It might sound morbid but I think a lot about dying and how I want to manage my own process. I mean it's going to happen. Each one of these experiences that I participate helps me formulate my own personal game plan. (Think Kirk Douglas and the old movie 'The Vikings' - maybe hard to do on the Rio Grande)


alexis said...

your clients most assuredly value you as a trusted advisor in these times. We all find it difficult to think about this configuration of atoms that comprises our human selves. I feel I think about it probably more than I should for someone my age.

Bernice said...

I know intellectually that death will happen, but the hard part for me is to live my life better with that knowledge. And the "better" has many aspects to it. Thanks for posting this.