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Merry Christmas To Each Of You

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Hello again to all my friends on this site.

Recently I mailed out my Christmas letter to all my friends and family – and I will soon do the same to all my e-mail friends. I wanted to share my letter with you as well – you have all been so supportive to me over the past 16 months since Jacks death. As usual my writing is one filled with Love and - a message. Following is my Christmas Letter – “A Correspondence of Love” and a message to “Live A life That Matters”.

A copy for all of you – my dear sweet web site friends.


“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller

“It is only with the heart that one can see properly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” – Antoine DeSaint-Exupery

“Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day…. Day by day, what you do is who you become” – Heraclitus

Christmas 2006

You are about to read a most unusual Christmas letter. It is long – but packed full of the meaning of life and the essence of what Christmas should mean to all of us. Jack has been gone from my life – and yours – for nearly a year and a half now. It has been difficult to live life with out him by my side – but it is also encouraging to realize that he lives on - for me and those who loved him - witnessed daily by those who remember the essence of who he was and how he lived his life. Following is an e-mail exchange I had with Jacks family in early October 2006. It reflects the spirit of “The Jack” we witnessed during the years that he graced our presence - as well as the heart ache of knowing he is no longer physically with us.

As you read these words I hope you will feel the love that still exists for Jack – and the love that I wish for each of you during this Holiday season. During this season of Love – I would like to present to you the following “Correspondence of Love” – plus another message – at the end - to “Live A Life That Matters”.

The Correspondence begins with an e-mail from Jacks Daughter-in-law to me recalling “the Clock” that Jack and I gave to Madison (Jacks Granddaughter) 5 years ago - and a realization of how Jacks new Granddaughter Mia (Who Jack never met) – now enjoys “the Clock” even more than Madison ever did. His life continues to be remembered - through those who loved him so dearly – and miss him so much.

My Message To You

“The Correspondence of Love”



Both Tom & I think you would enjoy these pics. We both feel Mia loves the clock you guys gave to Madison more than Madison ever did at this age! I know that is hard to believe, but she crawls or walks to the wall where the clock is and tells us to “start it again”! Hopefully, you can see how happy the clock really makes her.




Tom and Karrin,

These pictures were delightful - Mia has certainly grown and appears to be totally enthralled with the clock. I still remember how thrilled and excited Jack was when we were in the process of buying that clock for Madison. He always wanted her to have all those extra little gifts - that would probably be considered "frills" - but were so important to him. I can still recall that one of Jacks first reactions to his deadly cancer was his saying "I wanted so much to be here to watch Madison grow up - and now I won't". They had just told him he had 6-8 weeks to live without an operation and 12 - 18 months with an operation. His words still greatly affect my own desires - to in some way "see" what he never will - on his behalf. How ironic - that even had he lived he still would not have actually been able to "see" his grandchildren grow - but only hear their lives unfold. I know I should be grateful for the 27 wonderful years I had with your Father - but sometimes the pain of knowing what he is missing is almost too unbearable for me to imagine. It's the missed future that most greatly affects my recovery from his death.

I look at these pictures and see pieces of your Father - in those eyes and those hands and those arms and that nose and smile - and I'm speaking of You Tom - and then I see the same reflections in Mia - what a beautiful duplication. I was "Your Fathers eyes" for 10 months when he was dying - and now that he is gone I still find myself trying to "see for him" - and try to "imagine his joy" at what these pictures reflect. If you look close enough into my eyes - someday you will see your Fathers joyful eyes reflected back at you - in all that I am trying to absorb through pictures such as these. Your distance makes this more difficult for me - but not impossible - thanks to all this wonderful technology and the Internet. Keep the pictures coming - they do in fact help me heal.

Remind them often - of the wonderful person that he was.

Miss you.





Mia loves the clock so much It’s just amazing. Madison loved it too but Mia just takes it to another level. She points at it all the time. When it chimes on the hour she does her little dance. She will come up to you and point to the clock like - “let’s go make it play”.

It’s one of those things we were talking about the other day. It’s something to remember the both of you by - without having to say a word. Madison knows who got that for her - and she gets joy out of watching Mia play with the clock she got from her Papas.





You made me cry - in a good way - and for many reasons. I can't tell you how much I miss your Father.


John :)



It just sucks. It’s one of those things where you can afford to have basically anything you want but the things you really want - money can’t buy or bring back.

It makes you treasure the little things that were purchased or handed down that put a time or reference point with a memory. Like the clock - that was Christmas Eve at your house. Something you really don’t appreciate as much until a catastrophic event happens in everybody’s life. To see the joy in his face Christmas Eve when he was talking about the clock and explaining the engraving on the back. Then you realize how special that clock is.





Yes - it sure does suck. And I wish I were more able to live my life the way your Father lived his - that "in the moment" flare - he had. Somehow I think he would have been able to come to terms with my death and move forward a little easier - he adjusted so well to change - something I have always struggled with.

It warms my heart to hear about how Madison remembers her Papa Jack - and how the potential is there for Mia to begin to know him through what is now shared with her. The best gift you could ever give me - will be for you to recall that Christmas Eve (and the clock) and your Fathers description of the Clock and it’s engraving - to your children as they grow. These type of intangible gifts are the only ones my heart desires. So many stories of his life - and the special character that he was - exist in our minds and hearts - and I hope some day to hear many of these stories about him - from their lips.

Thank you Tom - this is the first time - in a long time - where I have a very hopeful feeling that your Father will truly live again - through Madison, Mia and you.

I see you remember the "joy on his Face" as well. For many of my days it is this type of remembrance "his smiling face" that allows me to make it through the day. I wonder sometimes if I will ever be able to learn to enjoy life the way he did - so easily - so simply - so honestly - so ever present - so adequately defined by the "joy on his face".

Did you know that he told one of his customers sometime during the last two weeks of his working - He said to her - "You know I'm 99.9 percent happy with my life." I'm not sure what they were talking about - but for any one to make that type of comment - and to be that happy with their life is a truly amazing statement. How many people do you know that can label such a high percentage of happiness to their life? Personally I know of none. He was the most remarkable person I have ever known. I not only loved him - but I admired him in many many ways. The biggest compliment someone can pay me - is when he or she tells me that they see a piece of your Father in me. I am honored to know that sometimes I reflect - who he was. We grew together in many ways and like any couple you begin to take on pieces of the other. Some day I hope I can say I am 99.9 percent happy with my life (as he did) - a daunting task without his physical presence.

I miss him - and I miss you too.

Love you,

Keep smiling - your "Fathers smile".

John :)



I didn’t know about the 99.9% happiness in his life. All the high maintenance kidding I gave him was just a miss understanding of the simplicity that he loved. When you think about it, he had everything to be happy about and it was quite simple and down to earth. A business, which he loved, his Cadillac, and most importantly friends and family to share his life with. He wasn’t one who needed to go out on the town or take a trip around the world, just a little at home time and he was completely happy. To think about all the teasing I gave him regarding the couple days at home after a vacation - I guess the at home days is what made him 99.9% happy.

It’s just too bad you really don’t take the time to analyze why people do what they did until it’s too late. I remember saying “lets all go to Disneyland” and it would go in one ear and out the other, but now I realize he was happier with all of us sitting by the pool and eating popcorn.

It’s kind of simple and not high maintenance at all.






Much more simple - and much less high maintenance than we all realized.

Despite the fact that I would kid him about being like Dolly - with that "Dolly Finger" - your Father was so much more like your Grandfather - a fact I wish I had expressed to him much more. I don't have to go too far to analyze why people do what they do until its too late as grief has a way of becoming its own self-analysis - and I have done a lot of that. Thank God he had a few faults of his own - which when remembered allows me to more gently forgive my self for my own shortcomings and times when I was not so sweet. I imagine it's the human condition to live most of our lives with "blinders on" - failing to recognize the simplicity of "some pool side conversation and a bag of popcorn".

Simple - and certainly not high maintenance. Your Grandfather exhibited some of these same fine qualities - You have before you the essence of life lived out miraculously well by two fine individuals in your life. If you remember correctly it was the core of the Eulogy to your Father which addressed mostly the "Good Man he was" - and - "Living in the Moment" - and - "Love" - exemplified quite simply - by sitting by the pool and eating popcorn.

Your Father appeared to be a very complex man - but at closer observation - he was in reality a simple man - with a crystal clear agenda - and he possessed the key to a happy life in how simply he really lead that life. You learn a lot - from what you failed to see. But I guess the important thing is - that you eventually see it. We search and search for happiness in life - and yet he knew just where to find it and how to get there - and without a struggle. I guess the old saying is true "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line". How simple. How very "popcorn" of him.

How funny that the meaning of life would be so simple - and that it would not be fully recognized until the messenger can't be seen or heard.

Your Father left us all a most powerful message - I hope I am man enough to follow it - I hope you are too. What a legacy has been placed at our doorstep.

Love you Tom,

John :)


“Live A Life That Matters”

(By Michael Josephson)

Ready or not,

Someday it will come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises,

No minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected,

Whether treasured or forgotten,

Will pass to someone else.

Your wealth,

Fame and temporal power

Will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned

Or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations,

And jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans,

And to-do lists will expire.

The wins and loses

That once seemed so important

Will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from,

Or on what side of the tracks you lived,

At the end.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color and sexual preference will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?

How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought,

But what you built;

Not what you got,

But what you gave.

What will matter is not what you learned,

But what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity,


Courage or sacrifice that enriched,

Empowered or encouraged others

To emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence,

But your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew,

But how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories,

But the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered,

By whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident,

It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

Jack certainly did

(The attached picture of Jack appeared here - see attachment)

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year



“I Love You Jack”


Merry Christmas to all of you.

John – Dusky is my handle on here.

Love you Jack


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Thanks for sharing that, John. I'm having a rough time right now, it is the day after Paul's one year anniversary. I just finished reading all the cards he got when he had his first brain surgery, they were all so upbeat that he was going to win his battle. And there were so many of them! 10 months later when we knew he needed another surgery, and that the odds were against us, I told him that in the long run his path was probably going to be easier, because he would be at peace and the rest of us would be the ones suffering. And boy are we suffering. He touched a lot of people in the way your poem suggested. A room changed when he walked in and I was always happy to be walking into it with him. How do you ever get that joy back into your life?

You actually sound like you are doing very well. I'm glad for that. I hope your holiday season brings you some happiness.


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You really have a gift for writing...and for being an encourager, even when you're going through so much yourself. That was very beautiful and inspiring.

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Hi Dusky,

Thank you so much for sharing such sweet correspondence, and the heart-wrenching poem and your picture of Jack. What a handsome man - and so young.

My heart breaks for you and for me - love is so beautiful and fulfilling, and when it's snatched from us, it's so painful..like no other pain I've ever known.

My Dick was not a handsome man on the outside, and he wasn't young,he had such a youthful and fun-filled spirt and so much beauty on the inside...his kindness, consideration, friendliness ahd love and interest for other people. He taught me a lot - like you say Jack taught you...maybe that's the ultimate gift of love - becoming a better person because of the person you loved and were priveleged to have love you in return.

Thanks Dusky,

Love, Benita

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