Dave Clark

Executive Director, Whistler Half Marathon

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Posthumous, the term "Hind sight is 20/20", is more applicable than ever before. Why is it that we wait so long to recognize and celebrate?

My father died when I was 7. Yes a very sad day and a very sad turn of events for our family. However, what I realize now is that his death was one of the most valuable contributions he could have made to society. He was a loving father, one who took pride in "providing for his family" as men did in those days. But in 1976, he underwent open heart surgery, this is 9 years before the first successful heart transplant!

My father was an early recipient of open heart surgery and although it didn't prolong his life as long as it would have today, in 1977 it would still be experimental and what physicians and surgeons learned from his surgery helped pave the way to modern day open heart surgeries that take place daily in hospitals across the country in a fraction of the time and recovery period.

You see my fathers illness took him away from us, but the research and lessons learned from his ailment went on to support thousands of other heart patients. I see my father as a contributor to something great - if only I had realized his contribution to society before he died - I would have made sure he heard about it!

Look at the people around you - what are their meaningful contributions to society? Often these are not uncovered until a posthumous state, but why not look now and celebrate them together.

  • Dec 18 2013: You know a lot of people have commented on here about Dave's loss, i didn't.

    I was at a funeral once, everyone was extremely sad and upset, except me. The priest saw I wasn't and asked me Why? I said that I was grateful to have the person in my life, even if for a very short time. A perspective and valuation of the person's impact on me - rather celebrates their efforts, rather than my loss.

    Similarly I spoke to a friend, who after when visiting her mother, always wanted to hug her, they always go close, but it never happened. I said why do you both stop at the critical moment. Because no-one wanted to make the first move.

    Another friend who had very old parents that seemed to be ok, and enjoyed making supper for their kids once a week. That seemingly ok wasn't, I saw what was in the fridge, nothing. God only know what they were going to eat the next day. But weekly they sacrificed for their children. When I pointed this out to my then girlfriend, none of the children knew, now they join forces to ensure they have enough to eat.

    While I said below, "that we dont have 20/20 before the event, and we assume too much", we also don't put ourselves out there to make that first move.

    The real irony, it really takes just a little time to make the effort, to reflect, to ask, to persist, to ironically make yours and their life so much better. I know and understand that sometimes we just get "into habits" of behavior, it's that that one has to look at, and ask isn't there a better way, and if there is make the effort, make the change. Sometimes we should look at things not from our current perspective, by try to see beyond our own vision, and make the first move.

    I think if people did that for their parents, their children, their neighbors, even countries, but really took the time (probably the hardest thing to do nowadays it seems), we really could live in a world that would be so much better. As if everyman helps their neighbor, eventually no-one will be helpless.
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      Dec 18 2013: Hi Steven - some great examples here of selfless thought for sure - thanks for sharing and I agree that if everyone took the time and had the courage to share these important thoughts about one another and notice the things that often go unnoticed that the world would indeed look different. Thanks again.
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    Dec 18 2013: Hi Dave, I am reminded of the story about what is the last thing you say to someone. The story related the failure to find closure because they had a fight ... the last thing said was "I hate you". Or another version was the child who never got to say how much he loved his parents before they died. You get the picture.

    Funerals are for the living ... I have been to some that not enough good was shared ... also to some that I went forward to make sure the right guy was in there.

    The point is that both the deserving and the undeserving are celebrated by the media and most people never bother to investigate which is which. Therefore it is up to us to celebrate life with those around us ... not to wait until it is to late to say I love you ... to spend time .... to share their lives .... funerals are attended by people who honor the deceased and their families by their presence they knew them for what they were. Funerals for the rich and famous have become political/media events and photo opportunities to bolster careers and images. IMO insincere and disrespectful.

    Remember: To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Rock their world today ... spend time with them ... tell them how you feel before it is to late.

    It is nice that you could honor your fathers memory in this manner.

    Be well ... and God bless you.

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      Dec 18 2013: Hi Bob - well put - yes there are endless stories of "I never got to say...." - one person can make a substantial difference, and if we share our thoughts and feeling a bit more, and as Steven says - make the move to do so, then we would be in a different place. Lets celebrate those around us and aim to make a difference each and every day.

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    Dec 16 2013: Dear Dave,
    Welcome to TED conversations, and I am very sorry for the loss of your dad.

    Good question..."why is it that we wait so long to recognize and celebrate?" We often save all the recognition and praise for a eulogy. As you insightfully suggest Dave...."look at the people around you.. look now and celebrate..."

    I am looking at your profile Dave, and I wish to celebrate YOU.....
    You write..."The power of people, planning and reaching for the stars. Leaving the world a better place than when you found it...I believe in the strength in numbers and that collectively we are greater than the sum of our parts. No one can solve a problem alone, each of us does better when collaborating to find solutions and improvements.

    "I'm passionate about Life, my family, and leaving the world a better place than I found it. Oh yeah and Rock and Roll."

    "Philanthropy is not just about sharing your money. It's deeper...more personal than that; so much so that it is hard to find words for. Philanthropy, like success, is what you make of it... it should be celebrated daily - philanthropy is the giving of ones personal assets, whatever they may be, for the benefit of others."

    In my humble perception Dave, It appears that your dad gave you some great gifts, and I believe he would have been very proud of you. It is never too late to celebrate the life of someone you love:>)
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      Dec 17 2013: Thank you for the kind words Colleen - I appreciate that. I know the concept is a bit deep and tough to comprehend, but it sure would be great if we all had enough courage to tell the people important to us how they affect our lives and celebrate before it is too late. Thanks again.
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        Dec 17 2013: Dave,
        Why do you say the concept is deep and tough to comprehend? Why does it take courage?

        My brother died last night, and one of the memories that lives in my mind and heart is that EVERY time we saw each other, we hugged and told each other about our love and appreciation. Why is that courageous in your perception? I ask because for me, it was wonderful and beautiful for 60+ years.
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          Dec 17 2013: Hi Colleen - I am sorry to hear about your brother - I wish you much happiness in he wonderful memories you must have.

          I think this takes courage as society seems to struggle with providing thoughtful insight and emotional feedback among ourselves. Maybe it is more the male side of the population - but I certainly know very few people who are open themselves up and share emotions and feelings, particularly with people outside their family unit. I wish we were able to share our emotions more openly so we could celebrate and really realize the role each of us plays in others lives. I hope that makes sense!
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        Dec 17 2013: Thank you Dave....yes I have wonderful memories.....some very challenging memories as well, and it's all part of the human life experience:>)

        I agree Dave, that there may be some people who struggle with providing thoughtful insight and emotional feedback. Sorry that you do not know people who are open. Do you think that perhaps the more we are open in our "self", the more people we attract who are open to making that connection?

        Well, honestly Dave, to hang onto fear (inability to share emotions and feelings) does not make a lot of sense to me. In my perception, people naturally want to be connected, and what better way to connect then genuinely share our "self"? Just do it! The rewards are GREAT:>)
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          Dec 17 2013: Hi Colleen - yes I agree with your comments - just do it, it is what I do as much as possible and yes it feels good. It isn't that I don't know people who are open with their emotions, but it seems that most are not comfortable with it, which I suppose is the root of my idea/question raised here.

          I also agree that the more we open up the more people are to open up too - but I don't find that is the case with the majority. What I would like to see is people sharing more feedback on the important things that others are doing and how it impacts there lives, because yes the rewards of doing so are so great.
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        Dec 17 2013: I am with Colleen in not understanding how the idea of showing people that we appreciate them is "deep or tough to comprehend." In fact, I would guess most parents start on encouraging this with their toddlers, who are then reminded for many years to notice people who did things for them and to say thank you.

        Further, you may enjoy Martin Seligman's TED talk in which he makes the case that noting things daily for which one is grateful is a research-tested way of improving ones satisfaction with life.
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          Dec 17 2013: Thanks Fritzie - I am with you on this, but it just seems that so few people do share their emotions and feeling about others in their lives when they are alive. I guess maybe some folks (again maybe more so on the male side) are afraid of opening up for fear of vulnerability or it being awkward. Personally I think that one of the greatest things we can do is share with those close to us the impact that they make on our lives, and only wished that we as society did it more often.
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        Dec 17 2013: "BE" what we want to "SEE" in our world:>)
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          Dec 17 2013: Love it - words to live by for sure - thanks for your comments and insight!
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        Dec 17 2013: I am sure you are right that practices differ depending on things like where you live and the standard practices in your community.

        I think people will notice your example and perhaps get the idea of being more expressive than they have tended to be.
  • Dec 16 2013: hi Dave, very sorry about the loss of your dad.

    Seems to me that we have hind sight and hind sight only. There is no way you, or any of us, could have looked into the future and 'see' what is going to happen. Especially when 7 years old :)

    The trouble, if anyone could see the future, would be that, as humans, our strongest impulse would be to change it to what WE would want to happen.
    Obviously we do have the option to evaluate someone's actions the moment we see them. We then often do have the opportunity to see them as valuable or not.
    I think you have a great idea!
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      Dec 17 2013: Thanks Adriaan (by the way you spell your first name the same way we spelled it in our son's middle name - Dutch history in our family). Yes Hind sight is often what we have and I agree we have the option to share our insights and opinions in the moment - but we so often lack the courage to do so - it is an interesting phenomenon in society.
      • Dec 17 2013: Thank you Dave. Great Dutch history!! LOL
        One thing I see you do, which is not often done, and that is responding to every post on your topic.

        In my opinion there is no activity more important in a relationship than communication! Not even sex :)
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          Dec 17 2013: Open communication seems to solve many problems doesn't it?
  • Dec 15 2013: I think we need time to remove emotions, preconceived notions, etc. Hind sight is 20/20 but only through a clear lens.
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      Dec 17 2013: Hi Wayne - yes a clear lens is important in understanding the true nature of each human - I just wish that we had the courage to do so before it is too late. Thanks for you comments - I appreciate it.
  • Dec 15 2013: Maybe because we dont have 20/20 before the event. Or rather at least don't think enough about it beforehand, we assume too much.
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      Dec 17 2013: Hi Steven - yes we assume and take too much for granted indeed! thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts.
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    Dec 11 2013: i wonder the same thing. maybe it's because we take everything for granted, including believing that we always have tomorrow when none are even granted the next moment.
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      Dec 11 2013: Indeed Thaddea - no one know when our time is up and so few of us live in the moment - thanks for being a part of this conversation - I think it is a really thought provoking one!
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    Dec 11 2013: This is a really hard one to answer... And I'm sorry for your early loss.

    All I can say is that you're running out of time, you only have 13 hours left on this conversation.