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The Day You Saved My Life

It has been almost eight years now, from a day, a moment, a near disastrous decision that would have changed my life and everyone else’s life around me forever. Thankfully and gratefully I look back on this day with relief at the decision I made then.

It was a November morning in 2002, it was dark and cloudy, gloomy by all measure. I arrived at my Oakland California office to find my bookkeeper in a somber mood, uneasy in her manner, and nervous. She waited for an hour to go by and then she gathered my partner and I together for a conference. It was then she told us the bad news, we were broke, not only broke, but dead broke. Then she dropped the next bit of good news; the landlord would be suing us for the remainder of our lease, four more years at $9,500 a month. Then she informed us that she would be leaving, permanently, that very day. Her parting words were, “ I don’t think you guys are going to make it, I’m sorry”.

I had put our house up as collateral for my lease, my landlord was a prick, so I knew he meant business. My daughter was just a year old. Depression gripped me like never before, a depression so deep, so dark, so vastly different to any emotion I had ever felt, it was as if the proverbial carpet had been yanked out from under me. As I fell into the depths of depression I contemplated suicide for the first and only time in my life. The thought of my financial transgressions ruining everything I had worked ten years for, my family, my marriage, my home, my business, was just downright crushing.

I left work early that day, deep in the darkness, and as I drove home I thought about my exit strategy. What was the best and cleanest way out? Horrible dark thoughts passed through my mind. I had convinced myself that my family would be better off without me. What a stupid thought…

That day I arrived home to find my traditional street parking place filled, so I parked down the block and walked up the hill, as I approached the house my wife opened the gate holding my thirteen- month-old daughter, my wife said, “Look there’s Daddy!”. My daughter giggled and squirmed to get out of my wife’s arms, she got to the ground and toddled over to me arms outstretched, smile on her face, relieved to see her Daddy home. I reached down, picked her up and hugged her liked I had never hugged anyone in my entire life.

It was at this very moment the most miraculous thing occurred; my deep, dark depression lifted like an old-thick-red cinema curtain. This hug saved my life. My one year old daughter saved my life.

The next day I drove to my office, strode in with new found verve and confidence and made significant changes to how I did business. I let the landlord sue me, and I beat him in court! We made it out of those dark days of November, all of us, my family, my marriage, my business, my life.

Thank you Betsy for being there when I needed you most.

Posted on August 19, 2010

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