Saturday, November 6, 2010
He took me out of pity. The meager sums I saved were nothing near his average client. I was well below his minimum. But we had a common friend. And he liked me....he liked Katie. We were his kind of people. Bargain shoppers. Buy low...sell high. That kind of thing.
Over the years we talked every few months. He would take Katie and I out to dinner before we had kids. Later he would come to the house and entertain Cameron before we could chase our son off to bed and talk financials.
It was a working relationship. But certainly he was the kind of guy I would be friends with anyway. He invited us to his house many times to meet his wife and kids. We always for some reason declined. There was usually something going on. Never enough time.
We eventually learned his story and he ours. About how he met his wife in India. About how he didn't think he would marry and Indian girl. And about his kids and the various activities they were involved in.
It was a relationship. Occasionally it had its turbulence. After all the market was doing horribly. But we still came to him for advice. Sometimes about money. Sometimes about life.
He was kind and considerate. Patient and calm. He always had a smile on his face.
Awhile back he called to tell me he had excepted a job with a new firm. I was proud that instead of expressing dismay or concern about my own financial well being the first thing I said to him was "Congrats...I'm happy for you!" He was surprised. I was the only client who had congratulated him. Later we talked about how we would move our funds over to his new firm. I could care less who he worked for...it was his advice I was interested in.
A week later I called for a brief question about funds transfer. He was in the middle of a meeting but took the time to answer me anyway. Little did I know that those were the last words I would ever speak to him. Thirty minutes later he collapsed in his office. In a few days he was gone. He never woke up.
Katie and I went to his funeral. As I watched his wife and children I flashed back to my own father's death. He died the same way. As I approached the casket I mumbled condolences to his family. And there he was. His face edematous and puffy. Unrecognizable compared to the handsome smiling face imprinted on my memory.
During the ceremony family and friends spoke about his affect on their lives. His clients were especially vocal. A widow talked of how he had promised to take care of her finances after her husband's death. And he had. An older man spoke of how he had traveled with him to India to guide him in search of his parents ancestry and to spread their ashes. He called him his son. There was no blood relation.
Then there was me. The fool that I was...I had thought that this gentle human being was brought into my life to teach me about money. Money! Useless money!
In reality his lessons were much more valuable. Comapssion...Joy...love. All things he gently taught, quietly, in his humble way...by example.
And his distorted face and body lying in the casket. Not a true window into his soul but more an unkind reflection of what I had become.
One last lesson taught by a masterful teacher....
I wonder If I deserve as much.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 11:34 AM