How One Phone Call Changed My Life Forever

Boy Lost In Life

This was a tough weekend for sports, wasn’t it?

If you were able to catch any of the news, 3 sports figures died. One from heart failure, another from a boating accident and the third was shot outside of a club.


Not to sound cliché, however, in the blink of an eye, life is one of those things that can be taken away without recourse or remorse, isn’t it?

Life is really…really short

3 years ago I lost the father that I never knew. When I was younger (30+ years ago), he left my brother and I.

Every now and then I wondered what happened to him. Where he was and why he hadn’t made any effort to contact us? It never bothered me, but it did make me wonder.

I was traveling as a part of my J.O.B. and found myself in my favorite place in Canada, Vancouver Island. I can’t explain exactly why I love “the island” so much, but I always found peace there.  Maybe it was because it was away from the mainland and all of my problems that are on it. Or maybe it was that it seems like it is a remote island, much like the kind I vacation at.

It was the last day of my week-long trip and I was sitting in the airport in Comox, B.C. ready to fly home.

While traveling, my mom and I would talk once a week to see how each other were doing. The time was around 11:30 am and my phone rang. It was my mom. It was a little odd because we had just talked the day before. I answered my phone with my usual “hey”.

Something was different. She wasn’t calling to chat or see how things were. She called to explain that my father (the one that I hadn’t seen in over 30 years) had passed away.

He had been diagnosed with ALS and on August 13, 2013, he lost his battle.


Too many questions

All the questions I had plus a surge of new questions rushed through my head. I called my older brother and began to explain to him what happened. Who else could I call? He was the only one who could relate to what I was experiencing.

Interestingly, the timing of his passing was right in the middle of the Ice Bucket Challenge that was sweeping across Social Media which raised $220 Million, globally.

After I got off of the call, I began to tear up. Here was a man that had, for all intensive purposes, abandoned me as a child and I was crying for him. Why did he deserve that?

Then it sunk it. After I washed away the last of the tears, I realized that I would never meet him.

I was pissed.

I immediately started to wonder why, if he knew he was dying, would he not try to contact us? 30 years of not hearing from him and this was how my brother and I would remember him.

More importantly, why hadn’t I contacted him?

Through tragedy comes triumph.

Through his online obituary, I found out that he had remarried and found the companion he was looking for. With her name in hand, I reached out to her through social media and arranged a phone call between her, my brother and me.

What would we say?

What would she say?

How would the phone call be received?

Would we regret what we would learn?

Would our lives change?

A life-changing call

We talked with her for 45 minutes.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was some of the most enjoyable minutes of my life.

During the call, she said the words that I longed for, “He came looking for you.”

Immediately I wondered, why then didn’t he find us?

My last name has changed multiple times throughout my life. When he looked for my brother and I, he only had our birth name to go by. This made sense. Hearing these words changed how I viewed him and life.

My brother and I learned that before he died, he wrote down his life story. When asked if we wanted a copy, we emphatically said “yes”.

The book was mailed to us and the two of us read it, learning more about him than we had ever known.

Our paths were more similar than I knew

My father, now a man I would never know, taught me more than I would ever think imaginable.

He was a good man, with unusual circumstances, fleeing one life, to make a better life elsewhere.

I can’t blame him for that.

My entire life, I believed that he was just another father who didn’t really care about the decisions he made. This man was a big part of the reason that, until I became one, I had a distaste for what fathers were. After that phone call, my point of view changed.

Live your life, but love it more

He, in essence, did exactly what I am doing now, what he loved.

What are you doing in your life? Do you love it? Do you wake up each day, invigorated and ready to go?


Do you dread it? Do you not see a purpose in it? Is it not what you imagined it would be?


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

Cheers to your success,


My new book is coming out very soon and I would love to share it with you, for FREE.

It is entitled:

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Needless to say, I’m very excited.

I’ve poured everything that I have into this guide so that you can take control of your life.

I sent it out to a select few to garner some feedback and this is what I got:

“Joel has an interesting approach to writing. He has the excitement of a 16-year-old with the wisdom of a 60-year-old.”

This compliment made me turn redder than an 80’s Trans Am.

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About Joel Scott 61 Articles
I am a family man first and foremost. Everything that I do is for my family. They keep me focused and moving forward. My purpose in life is to help as many people as possible...and then help a few more.

14 Comments on How One Phone Call Changed My Life Forever

  1. Just really wished you were able to meet him in person. I am so glad that book help you both to understand what a wonderful husband and a great step father to my children. And I also hope in time I will be able to meet all of you in person

  2. Amazing story. Many people will relate to this and to your life. You are brave but as I always say its ther auric to “walk through the fire that burned you!”
    I love you even more now!!

  3. Loosing a loved one or one you wish could have met and loved that one is as you said, “LIFE CHANGING. Joel, you, your wife Sarah and tiny person Emmett are the three that are your immediate concern. I so enjoyed reading this story, and all the rest of your writings, I truly believe that you should have been a Journalist. The way your text is so heart warming ang you have the power to hold a reader at bay. Your would have made a terrific news reported. These days journalists write what they are told to write and not looking under the story to see what the causes were or facts of truth! I can hardly wait for the report about the telephone conversation you, your brother and your step mom had and what you came out with, your feelings etc. Xoxo Joanne

  4. Joel:
    Although I do not know you well, and have met you through your beautiful and energetic wife- Sarah…I felt compelled to read your story and was deeply touched….even though I don’t know either of you particularly well. That is because it resonates on so many levels, and I am very thankful that you chose to share this story. I just want you to know that through this story….you are touching the lives of many….and we are all thankful for it!
    J Coates

    • Janet,

      Thank you for taking the time to read it. It was my hope that the story would ‘get out there’ and show others that there is a light when all seems dark. This was one of the most challenging times of my life, but in retrospect, it is also one of the ones where I learned so much.

      Take care,


  5. Your story is a great recount of your life without a father. You touch many hearts with your writing you accept the realities of your fathers circumstances you open your heart and mind to the challenges that many have and still face today. We are lucky to have you as part of our family Joel. You truly are inspirational honest diligent and open to a fault. This is most honarable and enlightening to all who take the time to read your writings. Your father tried to contact you and you accepted that at face value it helped heal your heart and your brother Jeff thank you for putting this out their it’s value can only be measured in the healing and words of comfort letting others know that they are not alone in this struggle. Im so happy to hear your up front approach in facing this reality as a man and thank you To your Mother for having raised you and stood by you in your most trying times. Great read great writing.

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