You may or may not have heard that last Friday, a man by the name of Jeff Zaslow was killed in a weather related car accident in northern Michigan. Mr. Zaslow, a journalist and author, was promoting his recently released book The Magic Room, a novel based around a bridal shop in the small Michigan town of Fowler. He had spent the day selling and signing his new book, and was homeward bound toward Detroit early Friday morning when his vehicle was struck by a semi.
Certainly this is very sad news, and you’re probably wondering what, if anything, it has to do with optimism. You may also recognize Mr. Zaslow’s name because he penned the bestseller The Girls from Ames, as well as co-authoring/contributing to a few other bestseller’s we have mentioned before on our blog: Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, The Last Lecture, and Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters.
Mr. Zaslow also wrote a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal and even won a contest naming him the replacement advice columnist for Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times.
While the news of his passing is devastating, the way in which Mr. Zaslow lived his life leaves one with the sense that he truly laid it all out on the table and treasured each and every moment as if it could be his last. He was known for always ending conversations with his family with “I love you,” and made a case for the matter with a column he wrote for the Wall Street Journal about a judge from Illinois. The judge casually remarked to his 18 year old daughter “Remember, I love you” before she left to go out one evening. As it turns out, the girl would never again come home, for she was killed that night in a car crash.
Mr. Zaslow had a way of hitting home with themes of love, family, and fatherhood. While he was a distinguished and bestselling author, you knew he always put his family first. It has been said that he passed up a brunch last Friday in northern Michigan in order to get on the road sooner so that he could be home to the Detroit area by the time his daughter got out of school. Sadly, he never made it home, but I hope and pray that his daughters and family can find peace in the fact that he loved them so much. While it is in no way the same as having his presence in their lives, his writing will be a lasting testament to his love and devotion for his family.
Below is a TEDx talk that Mr. Zaslow gave which I believe is a great testimony to his life and what he stood for.
Your Tip this week is to do exactly what Mr. Zaslow closes with: hug your kids and family, tell them you love them, and enjoy the rest of the journey.