December 31, 2010
The Grateful Call
“When I first spoke to your dad it was in late October/early November of 2008. We were working with the folks in Chico trying to find coverage for them…..And then I met your father, a breath of fresh air.
……I could sense a true genuineness in his words about his family, his children and grandchildren. When he initially went to work and received his first paycheck it was a very touching phone call he made to me. The joy in his voice and the gratefulness he expressed was frankly uncommon compared to 99% of the conversations I typically had with the doctors I work with…..
……..For the past year and three months I had no “business” relationship with him, but we still connected 2 or 3 times a month regularly. Our discussions turned easily to family, travel, good food, and of course to the Dodgers and what I thought about my hometown Dallas Cowboys. I cherished these conversations. We listened to each other, never having “met” but certainly we had been able to endear ourselves to each other.
I learned that he was referred to as “ZadeeTa” by your family in some way, a word for grandfather. So I took to calling him that myself, and those in my office would hear me exclaim that name at the beginning of our calls and my colleagues would come by the desk to interrupt and say hello to him. His assignment was a success story for us, not for the financial reasons, but because of the relationship he was able to establish with the facility. And for the way we saw his life affected as well.
He told me that part of his routine in contacting me was that he tried to maintain a list of things he was grateful for, and to have been included in some small way on that list was/is an honor for me.
I hope that I can carry on that mentality towards those around me and towards the One above. That Friday, when the events of his situation became known to me, I was a bit overwhelmed at the end of the day.
On my way to see my family I had the compulsion to call 3 or 4 of the other docs I have worked with in the past years, those who much like Dr. Shallman I had been able to share a bit of this life with. I needed to be able to express to them my gratefulness as best I could, and tears got in the way as I tried to drive and talk at the same time to the point I had to stop in a parking lot for a bit…..
My hope and prayer for you and your family is that somehow the grief will continue to diminish……As my friend Dr. Shallman used to conclude our conversations, I say to you “Be well.” “
It is rare to receive a letter from a complete stranger as my family received from this sweet man who lives several states over. Jason was my father’s recruiter. He had never met my dad but had continued to experience his genuine gratefulness for months after Jason found my father his last employment.
My father had a tradition of making one phone call each day of his life to thank someone that had impacted him. I remember being on the receiving end many times during his life of one of his “grateful calls”. Sharing his gratitude enriched his life and made others feel very close to him. How often do we call someone just to say “Thanks so much just for being you, and for impacting my life.”
As we enter 2011, so many of us have a list a mile long of new resolutions that we will probably keep for the first week, but will eventually be forgotten. But what if we all made a conscious effort to thank one person each day? Just one person.
Imagine the butterfly affect being grateful to the people who have influenced and shaped our lives could create in the world. In turn, I’d like to thank all of my readers for your loyalty and friendship. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to share my life and my thoughts with so many wonderful people. And a special thank you to Jewish Journal for giving me the opportunity.
This 2011, may we all hope to carry on this mentality towards those around us and towards the One Above.
Who are you grateful for?
** This blog is dedicated to my brother Yaakov in honor of his 34th birthday- Boston “clam” Chowda is on the stove my brother!