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Losing History by Being Stubborn

An interesting article appeared on the Firelance Media (@firelancemedia) website a couple nights ago. It's called Here's how to lose history by being stubborn and it's well worth the read. In it author Matthew Stagliano discusses his relationship — or the lack thereof– he has with Buck, his grandfather, a WWII Marine veteran of the Pacific Theater. For reasons that are never made clear, probably because Matt himself never knew them, that hardnosed gentleman severed their relationship. It was never repaired, and apparently more than one wrong was never forgiven. The author's regret is palpable, but so is his own intractability. It's a sobering cautionary tale, and on more levels than it was perhaps originally intended.

Here's an excerpt.

Losing History by Being Stubborn

“Thinking about the man that I have become, I owe everything to my parents. But I also find myself much more a reflection of the best parts of Buck that I had always idolized – I do my best to be loyal, keep my word, and do the right thing above all else. I go out of my way to help others and stick with a job until it is done.

What I miss is the opportunity to get to know a man that could provide me with constant inspiration, guidance, and above all a glimpse into a storied history.

My parents visited recently and I asked my mother about his whereabouts. She didn’t know. He’s somewhere in the Boston area, maybe in an assisted living facility. Maybe not. We believe he keeps in touch with one of my sisters, but they rarely speak his name. It’s sad that after almost a century on this planet, a family member is all but missing.

I’m sure that my story is not unique, and everyone has family dynamics that are difficult to decipher. I’m not trying to repair any relationships or mend old fences. What’s done is done. If I could do one thing over, though, it would be to get those stories recorded, repair the damage years ago, and help carry the legacy of a guy that despite some tragic faults, inspired a young boy to be a better man.

If you haven’t been in touch with an older member of your family, but have the capability to talk to them before they pass, do it. If you see a vet in a coffeeshop, strike up a conversation. Don’t make my mistakes. Retain their history. Share their story. I’d love to hear them.”

That's sound counsel that was dearly paid for. Heed it.

I'd add to these very private lessons Matt has shared, don't procrastinate, be the one who has to be right or the one who prioritizes the wrong thing only to regret it later. All of these are mistakes I've made, to a similar end. Opportunities and history are not the only things you lose when you're too stiff-necked or too distracted.

Read the whole thing in its entirety right here. You'll be glad you did.

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