A Father's Grief, By Eric Foster: 'Always Choose Your Children Over Business'

Amid the worst week of his life, Detroit political consultant Eric Foster managed to write an emotionally wrenching essay about parenting, work-life balance and a tragedy that plunged his family into grief last Sunday.

Erik Foster with son Jamil, right, and stepson Xavier McCollum, 13. [Foster Family photo]

His 14-year-old son, Jamil, will be buried Saturday after a service at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Detroit. The teen died in an Au Sable River canoe accident during an annual trip to Oscoda, as close family friend Darrell Dawsey recounted Wednesday in Deadline Detroit.  

In the Michigan Chronicle, Foster now shares a tribute to "a very balanced young man" and reflects on what he's enduring. Here's part of what he writes:      

I write this with a very heavy heart because I chose work over spending time with him and our family over the weekend. I believed that I would have more time to spend with him if I accomplished business goals and we had more resources per success.

What I realize now is that the most important resource and accomplishment that I have was him and my stepson. . . . I made a bad choice, work over family. I pray and ask everyone reading this to always chose your children and your family over business. Never accept that you have time to spend with your children, your spouse and your loved ones.

Jamil believed that we should make time to be with people we cared about. . . . I hope we all learn a valuable lesson from Jamil and his loving, caring, Christ-led spirit.

If I was a hero to him in anyway, he was a hero to me as well. . . . Being his father is the greatest thing I have ever done.

Jamil Nadir Fostern an eighth-grader at Baker Middle School in Troy, was "a brilliant child with a megawatt smile and robust dreams of going to Stanford to become architect," Dawsey wrote three days after the drowning.

Viewing is from 4-8 p.m. today (Friday) at Haley Funeral Home, 24525 Northwestern Hwy. in Southfield. The funeral begins at noon Saturday in St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 2260 Hunt St. in Detroit. Condolences can be posted at an online guest book

Donations to the Jamil Foster Memorial Foundation can be made at any Chase bank branch, designated for account 2960755272.

Read more:  The Michigan Chronicle

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