Over 20 years ago.
I wrote one of the best things I’ve ever written.
The way I judge that by the way.
Is by how well the thing I wrote did what I wanted it to do.
Using very few words.
Four words, actually.
And how well it’s stood the test of time.
In order to understand the task.
I listened to.
And learned from.
The two gentlemen I was working for.
His daughter had committed suicide.
The other gentleman.
His daughter had been murdered.
The organisation I was helping them with, supported gentlemen like them.
I remember the weight of that.
Perhaps the strangest thing about this task.
Is that at the time.
I had no idea if I could write.
Write well; I mean.
And I also didn’t have kids.
I managed to feel just a little bit of what they felt.
Both men were in their late 50’s when I met them.
Their daughters were both in their mid 20’s when they died.
In the years up to their deaths.
Both gentleman hardly saw their daughters.
Instead, they chased them around for the odd phonecall.
They spend days as their daughter’s birthdays approached.
Standing in department stores.
Staring blankly at perfumes.
Clueless as to which was right.
And which was wrong.
Cuddly toys, however.
They both agreed with a smile.
Even after their 60ish years.
They remember those.
But for a 20-odd year old daughter that felt.
Not quite right.
And so it was that these gentlemen, of course, hardly ever saw their 20-odd year old daughters in the day-to-day.
Yet when they lost them…
The words we ended up with.
That helped them.
And helped them to shortcut and resonate with the people they wanted to help.
“Nothing Changes. Except Everything.”