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Those of you who’ve read this column over the years know that I occasionally mention my children, a new grandchild or my wife, Jackie. I now ask your indulgence as I acknowledge my father, Sydney Frederick Chiswell. As I write this column, my family has just learned that he has stage IV lymphoma and only months to live. After his 90 years of life, he still has an upbeat attitude. He said to me, “Hey, I’ve had a good run!”
For the past 10 years, with my sister’s help, my father has been a full-time caregiver for my mom, who suffered a stroke and has been confined to a wheelchair. He has been a model of unconditional love for me and our entire family.
I know in my heart that my father will probably not live to read this piece when it’s published, but I’d still like to pay public tribute to this World War II Navy veteran, amateur radio operator for W2ICZ, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. I remember him cooking me steak and eggs every Saturday morning before my high-school football games. I know I’ve disappointed him with some of my decisions over the years, but he has always stood by my side without judgment, and I never doubted his love for me. In some of my darkest hours, he has been my light.
I share these thoughts to encourage everyone to look for that light in those around you and thank or hug them a bit more in the days ahead. If I had to put my dad’s approach to life into just one phrase it would be, “Others first, Father, others first.” I love you, Dad, and thanks.
Jim Chiswell is the owner of Chiswell & Associates LLC, which provides feasibility studies, acquisition due diligence and customized manager training for the self-storage industry. He has served for a number of years on the Inside Self-Storage Editorial Advisory Board, is a moderator on SelfStorageTalk.com and a faculty member of the Self-Storage Training Institute. He can be reached at 434.589.4446; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.selfstorageconsulting.com.
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