We are incredibly pleased with our progress over the last two to three months. Technical issues have been resolved and surpassed, the accelerator has been an incredibly powerful experience, and our small team is in a good place. A frequent question that comes with regard to F3TCH runs along the following: “You guys have so much experience, contacts and know how, why is it taking you so long?”
That is a valid question. The truth is that any delay is mostly, if not wholly, on me. The reasons are very personal, as has been the odyssey to return to a functioning life. It’s been five years now. Five years since the life of my youngest son and myself were changed irrevocably. Five years since my eldest son, a brilliant United States Air Force Academy senior, took his own life in a particularly horrible, graphic, brutal, and painful manner. Five years (less two weeks) since my wife, broken, followed him.
My wife went missing on April 15, 2015. In the frenzy of calling the police, the news and the Air Force Academy (just in case she went there), the story began to unfold in a public manner. In summary, we found her car but not her, search and rescue could not locate her. It was freezing that night. The days that followed were surreal with us and hundreds of strangers looking for her. And the news carnival was prominent to make things that much worse.
Three exhausting days later I got the call. I was with a lifelong friend from high school searching near Broadmoor Elementary when my sister called, “Jose, Mindy just called and they found a body, it has to be her”. It took maybe five minutes to process that. I told my friend that we needed to head home that they had found a body, I could see the shock I had felt just minutes before go through him. News like that stuns you, drains you. I called my eventual co-founder, told her what I knew and that I was heading home.
I arrived to find an officer for CSPD waiting for me at home. We went inside, they had found her. Dental records proved it. A small area that had been searched by search & rescue, ourselves, hundreds of volunteers etc. and she had been overlooked due to the snow and her small frame. The officer let the news sink in and then I was questioned as a person if interest in her death. I do not remember much, just answering questions with my son listening. It is routine and it had to be done then to see the reaction, I understood that then, at that very moment, and now. It still was hard to do, and sad it had to be done at all, but there you have it. And just like that, she too was gone.
I won’t bore you with the lessons learned, having gone from a family of four to a single dad with a really great kid heading to high school after the summer. But I will tell you this: business was not a priority, my son was. It would be months before F3TCH was solid enough to file for patents and do some preliminary work, but I was simply not focused on it, nor could I have been.
Even with patents filed, it would be years before F3TCH was even incorporated and four years before my primary task- my son- would head off to college. Since then, even with COVID, we have moved well. In the “big picture”, our priorities are right- family, friends, helping others, etc. There is always the risk that the delay will be harmful to F3TCH, but some things you simply do not control. You move forward with what you have, imperfect as it may be.
With the healing process completed, with my son happy and doing well in college, we started moving F3TCH. It’s the right time and I am forever grateful that we undertook this venture, that I have an amazing son and an amazing co-founder. We will always be successful regardless of how F3TCH does, because we know life is a process, not a destination, and our ability to heal, to overcome, to love are truly unlimited. We choose to be positive, to live life to the best of our ability, and to be grateful for the things we have and the experiences, good or bad, that we receive.
This experience has been painful, it has forced me to grow and it has made the founders an even more formidable team, maybe more so because of the experience. We are in a good place, F3TCH is in a good place and our success is not only possible, but likely. The delay is understandable, maybe others would have handled it faster, more efficiently, but I processed that in the right time for me and that’s going to have to be good enough.