Greetings and I hope this message finds you and your family in good health. I wanted to reach out to you not with an article about estate planning as I normally might do, but to share some thoughts that have been going through my mind these past few weeks as we have faced this global pandemic. Seven weeks ago I made the difficult decision to announce to our entire staff that everyone needed to go home, and if it were possible to work remotely.
Regrettably, I knew in my heart this meant not everyone would remain employed if the pandemic continued to advance. Within days, the governor issued the stay at home order and our office was officially closed. With the office closed, my husband planned to assume reception duties and I planned to hold client conferences by telephone or video. It was a very solemn moment in our office, and we were all fearful for what the future held. It was daunting to consider how my husband and I would try to run the office without support staff because our clients still needed to be taken care of. How we were going to manage filing and all of the details of the office was beyond my comprehension - I just knew we had to keep trying. We evolved quickly and I found myself for the first-time holding clients conferences by Zoom and facilitating will signings in the parking lot to keep everyone at a safe distance. Fifty-two will signings later, I never would have imagined myself wearing gloves and a facemask while standing in our parking lot watching clients sign their documents in their car. Who knew this was going to be our new world just a few short weeks ago?
As we begin to open our office again and staff begin to rotate in, I find myself reflecting upon some of the positive results I have observed the past few weeks. I have seen incredible kindness and understanding from our clients who have appreciated getting their estate planning finished at a critical time in their lives. I felt honored to have helped several medical providers who called wanting to complete their wills in fear of catching the virus and leaving their affairs in disarray. My staff have been exceptionally positive and appreciative of our efforts to keep the ship sailing forward. Every day we have adjusted, adapted, and changed as the circumstances required. I am so proud of my staff and how hard they are working, despite having children and loved ones to care for at home. My heart was touched deeply when I think of the one employee who when sent home with pay and said "no, I will be back to work next week to help you." We could not have made it through these weeks without her help. My husband did not hesitate to jump in to hold the fort down and took on whatever tasks were needed no matter how small or challenging. I am truly blessed and grateful for my life and to be surrounded by "down to the core" good people. I have gained an appreciation for a slower pace of life. I have become thankful for so many small things I took for granted - personal contact with friends and family, office lunches, family dinner, grocery shopping, travel, dining out, and even recreation.
I leave you with a quote that I believe is important for us all to keep in perspective. I hope it will help you if needed.
"I am afraid at the last I may discover when it is too late, that I have missed the joy. We need to know the joy of being alive, the joy of excellence, and the joy of truth. We need to know the joys of labor, the joys of family, and the joys of being genuine. It is wonderful to make a profit, it is great to develop prominence, it is stimulating to acquire fame; but even glory has no halo if we miss the joy. During my many years I have loved life. I have been broadened by the law, I have been inspired by love, I have been thrilled by success, and I have gloried in struggle and hardship. But I thank the Great God of the universe that I have not missed the joy."
Henry David Thoreau -
I wish you, your families, and your loved ones continued health and happiness. I appreciate your continued support as we all come together to face whatever the future holds.