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©2020 Mike Del Ninno

  • Mike Del Ninno

Death and a New Perspective


The uncomfortable subject of death; the realism hits hard, and the finality reaps both joyful memories and painful sorrow.

Everyone grieves the loss of a loved one differently. There is no right or wrong way. Some simply can’t let go and grieve forever holding on to all that is near and dear. Some seek closure quickly, divesting of painful reminders in order to forge ahead. I suspect most are somewhere in between, simply allowing time to naturally heal for the loss.

We lost my 98 year old Mother earlier this year, and we were fortunate she was a forward-thinker, periodically purging her belongings as she creep into her elder years. Her plans were detailed and precise, including funeral arrangements, estate planning and church service. Each move, from house to apartment to assisted living, presented her the opportunity to surrender her worldly belongings, to either family or families in need. I’m grateful to Mom for preparing so diligently, as it gave the family an opportunity to enjoy our moments immediately following her death, instead of focusing on the angst of executing a complicated estate.

Death also has a way of changing one’s life perspective.

It all started with Hurricane Matthew late October 2016. The area got hit hard; roofs, fences, pools, screen enclosures, and windows blown out. While we could repair most of the damage ourselves, the major items (roof and pool) had to be left to professionals. Yep, the unenviable tasks of dealing with in-home construction work. Pile on my ADHD and OCD and spousal tempers can have a tendency to run high in the household (kudos to my wife for putting up with me).

You know the drill (pardon the pun).

“I forgot my shovel, can I borrow yours?”

“oops, I forgot to tape off the drain”

“do you have a bolt cutter? I forgot the key to my trailer.”

“I have to leave, I’ll be back in a few hours.”

“My radar shows rain” (um, looks sunny to me)

Not to mention the scheduling mix ups!

Furthermore, you would think providing niceties like water, sandwiches and shelter would miraculously have a direct correlation to fixing ineptness, but no. You know the old saying, nice guys finish last.

Then in May 2017 Mom passed and oddly I garnered a new perspective.

It’s not that I gave everyone a pass, or my professional expectations were lowered, but the ineptness (not to be confused with quality) really didn’t jack me as with previous projects. It was like Mom’s passing infused a burst of calmness and she was saying, “Mikey, try not to sweat the small stuff”.

Let me be clear, Mom was a stickler for detail, and she wanted things done right, on schedule and buttoned up. But she also had a knack for knowing when to drop the hammer, and when to give a little.

I’m hoping my newfound perspective isn’t short-lived, but knowing me, I’m sure my desire for exactness, correctness, quality work and superior professionalism will reignite my dormant ADHD/OCD combo, and someone will eventually feel the hammer drop.

In the meantime, I’ll embrace my new perspective and try not to sweat the small stuff.

Besides, my wife has enough pent-up rage during these projects for both of us (usually lovingly directed at me). Maybe I’ll just hand her the hammer and let her start swinging.