You know sometimes in life the littlest thing can make the biggest difference.   It can be the words you have been longing to hear, the smile from that special person you have been waiting for, or a token of someone’s gratitude for a job well done.

This past Thursday I gave a mini presentation to a local Jaycee group about my mission to raise $1 million for Habitat for Humanity through the sale of my book I Miss My Dad… First, the Jaycees are a nationwide organization who’s sole purpose is to help people in need.   They help a wide variety of charities such as Ronald McDonald’s house, raising money for breast cancer awareness as well as putting together “goodie” bags for shut in seniors this Valentine’s Day.   Really a great organization which is why I was so proud of the fact that I was asked to be the guest speaker last Thursday.

I only talked for 10 minutes but I have to say I love speaking in front of people about a topic that affects us all: the loss of a loved one.   After I was done they presented me with a thank you card and inside the card was a $5 gift card for Starbucks.  I was pumped! You’re thinking, “It was only a $5 gift card, what is so great about that?”   The simple answer is that was the first time someone has given me something for speaking about the loss of my Dad and it felt great. I felt like momentum was rolling and that the impact was great.   And here is the kicker, I hate coffee and all hot beverages for that matter.   I will give the Starbucks gift card to my fiance because she loves coffee.   But the token was so special to me, I will keep the sleeve that the gift card came in because of the meaning of that little token. Three things my Dad taught me about the little “tokens” in life that are so special:

1. Appreciate everything– How true for everything in life.   No matter how little a token of someone’s affection is for you, understand that it means the world for them to express this to you.   It is important to acknowledge and appreciate it for what it’s worth: an opportunity to grow closer to the people who matter most in your life.

2. Don’t wait for someone else to show a token of affection- Be proactive. Be the first one to show someone how much you care.   You never know when the last opportunity will be.   Take advantage of the time you have and make the most of it.

3. Use your “token” to build bigger and better relationships- Things with any relationship will not be great all the time.   But understand it is important to capitalize on the opportunity to grow any relationship.   I can remember a time when my Dad called me in college just to say hi and that he wanted to take me out to dinner.   My Dad never called me, ever.   So I proceeded to ask him three questions:

1. Are you and mom getting a divorce?

2. Are you sick and/or dying?

3. Did Mom put you up to this?

Thankfully my Dad had a sense of humor about the whole thing, but you know it is possible for all people to genuinely express affection for one another in their own special way.   This was certainly my Dad’s attempt and it worked out very well as that was one of the few times the two of us bonded over dinner.

So remember little tokens can have a big meaning as you decide the course for how your relationship with your loved ones goes both now and in the future.

Always a friend to listen,

Eric Tomei

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Eric Tomei

Eric Tomei is a physical therapist residing in the metro Detroit area. He has a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Health Sciences and a masters degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I Miss My Dad…is his first book with the hopes of uniting everyone who has lost a Dad or loved one to share their stories. His mission is to let people know that they are not alone in dealing with the loss of a loved one and you will always have a friend to talk to. He has a passion for charity work as 15% of each book sold will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. His goal is to raise $1 million for this charity through donations and the sale of I Miss My Dad… Eric appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart with hosts Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, to discuss Father’s Day Without a Father. To listen to this show, go to the following link:

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