What My Dad’s Death Taught Me About Life

Lessons from my father on gratitude, service, and the power of showing up

Paul Ollinger
Forge
Published in
4 min readNov 25, 2020

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Photo courtesy of the author

Every other week, Paul Ollinger investigates how redefining success can help us lead better lives.

My dad died the other day. He left this world while napping in his favorite recliner surrounded by his children. He was 93.

Despite my love and commitment to my father, I have shed zero tears over his passing. I promise I’m not an unfeeling monster (I cried at least once when I took my daughter to see Wicked). It’s just that, rather than sadness, I have found myself overcome with a profound sense of gratitude for his presence in my life and for everything he taught me.

Nobody chooses their parents. And nobody chooses how long their parents will live. These are functions of randomness over which we have no control. Though I did nothing to deserve or affect it, by being “assigned” to Bea and Billy Ollinger, I won the parental lottery.

I was born to two parents who loved their children and dedicated their lives to educating and preparing them for life as adults. My folks were smart, kind, and decent human beings who put their kids before their professional ambitions. They prioritized Catholic school over material possessions (and air conditioning). They…

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Paul Ollinger
Forge
Writer for

Comedian. Host of the Crazy Money podcast. Proud former Facebook and Yahoo! sales person/leader. http://PaulOllinger.com/podcast