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Featured Story of the Week: "My father Donald passed away in September of 1981, two months before my twin daughters were born. After being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in January of 1981, my father knew he had been handed a death sentence, and it was not a question of if but when he would die. It was in his final months of his life that my dad and I grew closer than we had ever been. We spent many hours discussing his past and my future. It was then I learned that what my father feared most, not his impending death, but dying before his twin granddaughters were born. You see in the face of death, my father wanted more than anything to see his second and third grandchildren born. My first child, a daughter Courtney was born in July of 1980, and quickly became the apple of my father's eye. Upon learning that my wife was pregnant with twin girls, my father wanted nothing more than to see his two other granddaughters born into this world. It was also during these last discussions between a father and his oldest son, that my father asked me to promise to always care for his wife, my mother after he was gone, a promise I still honor today. Those talks illustrated to me the kind of man my father was; a man who never wallowed in self pity despite facing death at 52 years old after a hard working life. A man who worried about his wife and family in life and death. That was my father Donald Peters." - Ray from Barrington, IL
Ted's Reply: Ray, thank you for this most excellent tribute to your father, Donald. You and I have more in common than cigars, my father too, died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. There is not a more hideous way to leave this Earth for as you know, the disease steals everything but your mind. As your body deteriorates around you, your mind stays sharp until the end. It is clear from your words that your father was an exceptional man who loved his family dearly and who had a tremendous impact on you and I’m sure all of your family. I think when we are faced with death, all trivial things are swept away, and the things that really matter in life become clear. It is great that you have those memories of the last months that you spent with your father, memories that will sustain you throughout your life, I call those “memory burns”—memories so great they can never fade away, and in fact, only grow stronger with the passing of time.
Ray we are selecting a “Story of the week” to feature to Ted’s followers, and I would like to honor your father, Donald, and my father, Ted, by selecting this heartfelt story to share as part of the “Farris Project.” Lois Farris, was my father’s mother. As the featured story, I would like to send you a box of Farris cigars in hopes that you will steal away some time, smoke a Farris cigar, and reminisce about your father’s life. Salute to you and your dad.
(I read and reply to every story, but because of the nature of this story, I have replied publicly)