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This Grieving Dad Wrote a Letter About the True Meaning of Work-Life Balance

His letter has struck a chord with many working parents.

JR Storment via LinkedIn

Work-life balance is often framed as the goal to balance personal enrichment and professional fulfillment as a way to avoid burnout in the here and now. But there’s a deeper meaning, one that acknowledges that our time on earth is limited and that, human nature and modern life being what they are, a conscious effort to maximize that time is necessary.

J.R. Storment, a successful tech entrepreneur, had twin boys eight years ago, the same month he founded his company, Cloudability. Three weeks ago, one of his sons died.

Storment shared “It’s later than you think,” a letter about his experiences, on LinkedIn three days ago. Part eulogy, part diary, part advice column, it’s worth reading in its entirety, particularly if you’re a working parent.

He writes about the things he did on the day his son died: early morning meetings, a Peloton ride, a call with a colleague on the drive to work.

“None seem that important now. I left that morning without saying goodbye or checking on the boys.” Had he checked on them, he would have found out earlier that Wiley had passed away due to Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy, an extremely rare condition.

Wiley’s death led to an “endless stream” of regrets for Storment, regrets that gave him a perspective he’d never had before, one that he wants to share with others who’ve been lucky to avoid such a tragedy.

His advice: “Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time.”

Since Wiley’s death, Storment has stopped waiting to do things, instead taking the initiative to go on a family camping trip and to write this letter. Reading it, it’s hard not to reexamine your own priorities, to ask if the balance you’ve struck fits the criteria this tragic expert on the subject outlines.

“[W]ork needs to have a balance that I have rarely lived,” he continued. “It’s a balance that lets us offer our gifts to the world but not at the cost of self and family.”