Celebration and sorrow

When I went to see the boys on Saturday morning, I was excited. They had returned from a week long trip to Cape Cod with my Dad and I was anxious to hear what stories they had brought back from "Thanksgiving at the Ocean House." I couldn't wait to hear if any of their new memories were anything close to the ones me and my siblings tell every time we have a family gathering. There were the really early mornings of standing on the beach. In November. Freezing as the sun came up. And the time my mother packed an empty suitcase which she intended to fill with goodies from the Christmas Tree Shop. My Dad found it and gave the bag to my Grandfather, foiling my mothers plan. And who could forget the notorious "The corn is cold" incident at Howard Johnson's in Newburgh, NY (to this day there is a debate on whether Dad actually made the waitress cry)? Those were great days in my youth, and the boys trip in 2011 did not disappoint.

When I saw them I was greeted with hugs and I missed you's. There is no better feeling in the world than hearing your child say I love you Dad. Then, they all told me about going out with their Aunt Lea (my sister, Angelia), about playing air hockey in the basement, and about what a great time they had with their cousins there. These trips have always been about family. And just as I would see my Grandma Kay, Grandpa Newt, Aunt Ann, Uncle Stewart, and their families when we went out each year, the boys were surrounded by my Dad, my Sister, her husband David and their children. Also on the journey were David's parents, Daryl and Carol Foster. My boys were blessed to have a wonderful Thanksgiving with these people, all a part of our family that my Mom and Dad started so many years ago.

Sometime later in the evening, I looked at my facebook and the tone for the entire evening and weekend changed. Saturday morning, Daryl Foster had an accident at home. When I read the post on my sisters wall, my heart sank. It brought back to mind the thought of how quickly any of our world's can be turned upside down. A day earlier this man had been traveling back from the eastern coast with his family, having just enjoyed a wonderful vacation with them. Now he lay in the hospital with extensive brain damage, fighting for his life. It was a battle he lost this morning.

It is difficult for me to imagine the grief and shock that his family must be feeling at this hour. Having lost my mother a little less than three years ago, I remember that feeling of emptiness that I couldn't shake for months, if I ever really shook it at all. I know, however, that while the Fosters are mourning the loss of this great man, they take solace in knowing that there is a celebration of his life going on in a much better place tonight. And that when they lay his body to rest, the celebration will continue both there, and here among his family and friends. For my part, I knew Daryl Foster for nearly 15 years. And while we never spent a lot of time together outside of the holidays and special events, I know he was a man of God, and a man of integrity, honor, and compassion. I know these things because I see the way his son, David, treats and respects my sister. It takes a special man to raise a child with the kind of values that David Foster has. And as I respect my Dad for raising me in the same manner, I respect Daryl by seeing his values instilled in his son.

For his wife Carol, David and Angelia, Michael, Shelby, Sidney, Sophie, Bella, Davis, and the rest of the Foster family, I am so sorry for you loss. I know this is such a difficult time for all of you. I would only hope that in your deepest moments of sorrow, you remember what a wonderful man Daryl was. And that he lives on in each of you, just as my mother does in us. I love you all.

Well done Daryl Foster. Well done.

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