Without Good Health ...
When it became obvious I was losing a pound a week last year, I joked that I would write a diet book. Turns out it had already been written, and was one of the few books I had read as a child, "The Lou Gehrig Story."
Yes, at age 73, I have just been diagnosed with ALS: a death sentence. To prolong my limited health, I have to lose no more beyond the 60 pounds I have lost in the last 15 months.
Those of you who have heard me speak know my voice has turned raspy and weak. That's one sign. Another is uncontrollable crying, so don't be surprised if I go silent or cry the next time we talk.
Except for this, I have been in perfect health, with blood tests good enough for a 19 year old, and a good neighbor who dragged me out for a hike and exercises every morning. I had fully expected to live another 20 years. Now it may be at most a couple of years before my body becomes useless. In fact, I am fading fast; six months is more likely. I can no longer hold a camera steady enough for it to take pix. For all the medical advances, the one in 10,000 with ALS are no better off than Lou Gehrig was in 1938. Mine is bulbar onset, not the usual limb onset.
Ronna has always said she wants to go first, so she won't have to clean out my garage. She and our younger son Ross will help and support me to clean out my garage. I plan to have a Model T garage sale in early Feb. Model T friends John and Julie Ginesi just took a load of small stuff to put on tbay for me.
Meanwhile, I finish up my last avionics engineering job on Monday; putting the new weather radar in a very old PanAm 747 that is used for airborne flight testing of newest generation airliner engines.
Ronna will still have my voice to haunt her, as Greybeard, our Congo African Grey parrot, is bonded to her. I'm his rival, so he learns all his words from me, and sounds exactly like me.
What you think of me is none of my business, so you don't need to clutter this thread with that. I will take the chance to say I have a 1911 frame for $950 obo.
May 2014 be peaceful for you:
Advantages of ALS:
No physical pain.
My alleged mind should be intact to the end.
I am under doctor's orders to eat all I can.
I know about how long I have and how I will go.
I have time to calmly put my affairs in order, and to ease my family's transition.
I still have time for a last fling.
Keep fighting, Ralph. You're not gone yet!
Hang in there - you're not gone yet! I have a good friend who has been living with ALS for the past 5 years. It's not been easy on him or his wife, but we are glad he's still on this side of the dirt and able to communicate with us.
Please do speak up and say what you think you should say when it makes sense to you - we appreciate your opinion.
Ralph, your attitude is incredible. We need more like you,
As with most members here who love an respect you as a friend we never met but feel we know, words fail me, to describe the sorrow and sadness I feel for you and your situation. ALS is a cruel disease, slowly and gradually robbing your body of the motions necessary to do what one loves. We'll pray for you. Jim Patrick
Sorry to read of this Ricks.
You have the right attitude.Dont give up.
I know i am way off from ye but if I can help in someway let me know.
Take care Ralph
I sent a PM. Take care,
Well for once this left me speechless. My prayers are with you Ralph.
Best wishes to you and your family ,
it is to bad we have never met ,
I look forward to reading everyone's postings on here , and I hope to continue to see your's
if you wish to write a book make your T memoirs ,
I bet even Henry did not expect his model T's to last as long as many have , so there is always hope
Take care and best wishes
Ralph, it sure was nice to visit on Saturday, with all the busyness on Sunday we didn't have a lot of down time. It was still a bunch of fun hanging out with you and Gene. Your a trouper san so will fight the good fight till the end. Please stay around till the end, lurkers are always welcome here. Jerry
We have been forum posters together for a long time, and to read your post just now from the title, just wasn't what I thought you would be posting for the new year.
I too am bothered to know your health is waning. We all go sometime, and my wife has joked when I do, my service will be at eleven o'clock and the auction at one o'clock.
But alas, you have good wife, family and friends near you, and countless others on the forum web who are supporting you too at this time.
best regards, Dan
Well dog-gone-it, Ralph. Carol and I wish you and yours all the very best.
RD,This hit hard! 14 years ago als got my Father in law so i have seen it up close.I'm so sorry and God be with you! Bud.
I'm sorry to read about your affliction. You have time to plan things out, and maybe have more time than your doctors predict. I will miss your posts and pictures of your car on the forum. May God bless you.
I don't know what to say, Ralph...except doctors don't always have all the answers.
I've always enjoyed your posts here and keep up the good work!
Our thoughts and prayers are with you Ralph. Keep up the good fight!
I think most of us would wish that we could have our youthful health back.
Your posts are followed by many so rest assured you are leaving your mark.
Darn, I thought that 2014 was going to be a good year, and now this news. This sucks. Selfishly I say the Forum needs you to hit the hornet's nest with your stick on occasion!!!
You and yours are in our prayers.
That is so very sad. You have enormous courage to share that with your worldwide friends.
My prayers will be that you may find some plateau of remission so that you will have more years to enjoy more than one "last fling".
Things are not always what they seem - it's not over yet - there will be more time for you.
Words fail me. Random thoughts:
Thanks for years of interesting and enjoyable contributions.
I hate this.
I hope a few people will miss me when I'm gone as much as we will miss you.
As Danial says, Dammit.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family
Sorry to hear this Ricks. Had a lot of pleasant reads from you over the years. I hope this voyage you've set out on will be an easy one. God Bless and Good Luck.
I'm so sorry to hear this...Ralph take care and keep posting. Sad indeed. Enjoy what you have, it is all any of us can do.
Geez Ralph, I didn't even know you had played Baseball.
Our best wishes for the coming years old friend.
I hope the Forum can make the days a little better for you.
Ralph, I am so sorry to hear this. I have always enjoyed your posts and hope you will continue to post as long as you can. God be with you my friend!
I am truly sorry to hear of your condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Don't stop posting.
Ralph, Take care, sorry to hear this.
Ralph - I am shocked! As Bob Gruber said, we really don't know what to say! I will say this, "He works in mysterious ways", and even when we think we know how things will turn out, we really don't. You know, the Guinness Book of Records is full of things that ended up differently than was expected. Have faith and "hang in there" the best you can and things will work out the way they are supposed to. You are in my thoughts and prayers and please remember that "your voice" is as strong as ever among all your many friends on this forum,.....God Bless,......harold
I don't know what to say. I'm so very sorry to hear of this. Please, do what they tell you and know that you will be in our prayers.
Nothing I can say other than please stay with us as long as you can. You have more friends than you may think that care.
Ralph, Neighbor, Friend, Navigator and Fellow T partner,
As others have said there are no words that can express adequately the emotion for this time that comes to every life.
Remember you have a large support group that are ready and willing to help out in any way they can. I'm as close as your phone any time you need some help. So keep your chin up and the motor running and don't be afraid to shift it down into granny gear.
It was a real honor to be able to enjoy the Holiday Motor Excursion with you again this year.
Your in our prayers and thoughts,
Gene and Jackie
Gene, I was just going to tell you we need to do some braking test videos for the flatlanders. How about at the tune up tour on the 11th?
Anybody for a contest?
Ralph, Although we never met, I've enjoyed your posts and you will be in my prayers. God Bless. Wes Nelson
Ralph, I too have enjoyed your posts and your humor and your personality that comes through the monitor. I have and/or had 3 patients with ALS, one who was a great mentor for the T's and I miss dearly. My brother-in-law also had it. I urge you to keep fighting, keep posting, keep loving and enjoying life. Your friends here love you and want you active with us as long as possible. My prayers are for your continued health and happiness.
When I first saw the title to this thread I thought it would be something like E.B. White wrote about the Model T. Obviously it is not the same.
Ralph when I see a posting with you name on it I always look forward to reading it. Today was different, but I look forward to seeing your name up here for a long while.
Bob McDaniel said it best, "You have more friends than you may think that care."
Ralph, Words fail us humans at times like this. Mostly we feel inadequate to assist. When they told me I had Cancer,it was quite a blow and it seemed the whole world was on my shoulders. One evening I was really feeling low and I went outside to talk to the Man. I asked for strength to accept His will.Almost instantly,it felt like the weight was lifted from my shoulders,and I quit worrying about it.That was 14 years ago and so far I have survived chemo and am cancer free . It may return some day ,but I know I can accept it. Just hang in there and remain as active as you can.
Ralph I am sorry to here this and I too have enjoyed your posts So keep fighting
So sorry to hear this Ricks and I impressed by your attitude, time the to sort out your affairs and all you can eat. Take care and best wishes to the family.
Maintain aircraft control.
Analyze the situation.
Take appropriate action
Land as soon as practical.
Iím so sorry to hear that news. But Iím sure you have already started reading up on what are some of the options, support groups, etc. you may want to consider. I did a quick check just to get a better feel for what is available and there appear to be several good, knowledgeable groups out there. I also noted that they recommended having a doctor that had treated patients with ALS.
It took me a while to find out what Bulbar onset ALS was (ok Ė Iíve been looking for over 12 years for what are the paint combinations offered in the 1906-1908 Model N, R, S, and SR Ė Iím slow.) . For others that may also not know what it is, the site at http://alsfighter.wordpress.com/bulbar-als/ offered and explanation. More importantly, at http://barbarabrenner.net/?p=536 there are some ideas for dealing with some of the issues. Yes, the person that wrote those ideas is gone now Ė but I think you will find some of the suggestions helpful. She addresses the difference between just giving up verses being proactive in the choices you still have available.
You have touched more lives than you will probably ever know and for that many of us say thank you. If I can be of any help Ė please let me know. You and your extended family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Ralph, I am at a loss for words. I have never met you, but I feel that I have known you for a long time. Hang in there, you have a lot of friends that you don't know! Dave
Ralph Many years when I was a junior medical student my boss decided that it would be good for my medical education to inform a 93 year old that he had terminal cancer of the prostate. I did and as this was my first time giving bad news probably did it badly. The patient merely grunted. Being young and stupid I informed him that I was surprised that this devastating news had not upset him. His response has always remained with me " Listen sonny in 1909 the Doctor told me I had peritonitis and would be dead within 24 hours. I'm still here and he 's long dead- I don't listen to much to what you Doctors tell me anymore!" I've always remembered that a prognosis is a statistical guess based on population not individual stats.. Plenty of people defy the doctors prognosis - All the best Karl
Itís so hard to find words when something like this happens. We on the forum have become part of each otherís lives even though most of havenít met face to face. We recognize among us the historical types, the engineers, the problem-solvers; those who couch their opinions in diplomatic terms and those who shoot from the hip. We encourage, bicker, congratulate, get pissed at each other and then always come back for more because weíve become some kind of touch-typing brotherhood.
Ralph, I hope things will turn out not to be as bad as you say, but if not, then I hope youíll keep posting ó and though you and your family will be in my prayers, Iím not going to think of you differently or treat you differently. Youíre one of the guys I make a point of reading because youíre always interesting. Your contribution remains valuable and I hope to go on enjoying your company for some time to come, however long that is. God bless.
Ralph, I am very sad to hear of your news, I always read your posts and hope you continue for a long time. I will be praying for you. Ken
Ralph, we have never met but your words that I have read on this forum from you made me feel like I have know you for years.so, as I have gotten older I have a bucket list going, and you are one persn I want to meet. so you hang in there and some day we will meet. god bless you and your family.doug
If I said anything it would probably be wrong so I and my Wife will keep you and yours in our prayers and ask that you are in heaven 30 min. before the devil knows your gone.
My prayers are with you.
Truly sorry for you and your family. May your faith be with you and yours.
When the time comes, I'll miss your posts here.
Ricks, I'm new the forum, and to T's, but I have always loved your posts. I'll be praying for you and your family. I've lost a good friend to this as well, keep fighting!
Ralph - I always appreciate your posts on the forum and I'm glad we were able to meet at the Old Car Festival a few years ago. You are in our prayers. Take care and please keep posting.
Keith & Carol
Well,a few months ago my neighbor who is a member of a old tractor club came to me with a problem.
1 of their members had been diagnosed with brain cancer,had a operation and the treatments were bad.
He stopped treatment and said he wanted quality of life not quantity.
well, the club ask him and his wife what could they do to help.
The wife ask for a golf cart to take him around the yard and such.He was told he had at max 2 months.
200 bucks a month rent on 1 was the cheapest deal they could find.
I have 3 older golf carts.1 is restored nice and I seldom use it.Call it my sunday cart.
I loaned the club the cart for him and his wife and told them when he wore that 1 out I would send another.So far 4 months later,he is doing 10 times better than when on treatment and enjoys life somewhat.
Doctors aint allways right.And alot of it depends on the persons attitude and faith.
I dont believe for 1 minute the 6 month time frame.
very sorry to hear this, hang as best you can Ralph.
I've not posted you, as I just don't still know what to say. You have been in our prayers, and I admire your attitude towards this. I didn't realize that ALS strikes folks over 50, thought it only hit younger folks. I do hope you continue to post here as much as you can.
Best to you and your family from Linda & Me.
Ralph, your post kicked the joy out of my day.
As a kid I got to know many of the first Navy jet test pilots (Dad was a Douglas guy). They were practical optimists like you. When asked what do you think about when your bird breaks... the response was always the same... Keep her flying till you land.
So Ralph, Keep 'er flying! Were here for you Buddy.
You started a thread titled "Secrets Of The Dead" in May of '13.
I remember it stirred the same "Sometimes there are things I just need to share" sentiment in me and so I posted to it.
Thank you for having started that thread and for triggering some of the memories I wrote about. Our vets deserve so very much more than just a temporary "Thank You". We as a nation sometimes act as if our understanding of our vets' contributions and certainly our gratitude towards them has faded, and way too darn fast.
Thank you again, Ralph.
My motto as a senior has continually been, "Keeping going is what keeps you going". I guess that is a more mature version of "Use it or loose it". Whatever, you just keep doing what you love, with who you love, and the rest all falls in place!
Too bad "we" all can't be restored, and find ourselves in gracious hands of someone who will keep us in good tune, lubed, and lookin' good.
Such is life, take care
I'm so sorry to hear this terrible news. Your posting was touching but, moreover, extremely brave. May God be with you through it all.
Brave? Maybe I ain't done being brave yet, Jerry. CBS News ended Fri. nite with its usual heartwarming story. A guy with ALS in Durham, NC, was plotting to steal a Krispy Kreme truck and give the donuts out for free. The interviewer said it was a Robinhood, "Take cholesterol from the rich and give it to the poor" plot.
"What about the legality of this?" asked the reporter.
"If you have ALS, what are they going to do to you?"
Krispy Kreme learned of his plot and took him around in an old bus, giving away 1,000 donuts.
I thus have more freedom to break laws than a diplomat. Hmmm.
I've long said that no matter your troubles, you don't have to look far to find somebody you wouldn't trade troubles with. That's true today.
It sure was nice to see and talk to you on the Holiday Motor Excursion. I am rather new to the excursion and I know that you and Gene Corrothers have been going for years. Get to see a lot of nice cars and people. I plan to see you at the annual safety inspection Jan. 11th and at future club meeting's. Will see you then.
I saw that too, and thought of you while watching.
I'll drive .
See you at Bakersfield,
Yea, you are right Ricks.I have alot of leg-hip troubles and me and another guy were discussing our leg pain and trouble at breakfast.As I left I saw a guy rolling down the side walk with NO legs.So at least I have some to hurt.
it is all about attitude.
I notice that whenever folks our age and older get together, there's usually an Organ Recital.
Makes sense; with all the pops, creaks, and groans, we're musical!
When we get to venture into the so called 'golden years' around 60 and up or so things start to happen. Being a prostate cancer and severe head trauma survivor I tend to think of the cancer patients that my daughter treats daily at the cancer center she works for.
She tells her Mother and I that close to half are younger than 30. Quite a few in that group don't live into their teens.
When she tells that story I quit feeling sorry for myself.
According to a certain book written by who some of us call 'The Man' we're given 3 score and 10 years in this life. 70 years to be exact. What we do and how we react to the remaining years in this life and decisions we need to make is left up to us.
Hang in there Ralph I want to keep reading your posts which make things very interesting for me and so many others. And a long time into our 'golden years'.
I have a collguee at Emory who is leading expert in ALS. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.
In my prayers...
Hi Ralph I came across this and hopes it brightens your day
Mighty sorry RDR.
Ralph, sorry to hear the news of your illness---I enjoy your posts and look forward to many more. I will pray for you and yours. Joe
That was on CBS news Fri nite, Nick, thanks.
Tell him to find a cure, quick, Michael. UC Irvine has the ALS/MD center that diagnosed me. The Dr. is involved in a drug study, but didn't see me as a candidate for NueDextra trial.
I wish the best for you now as well as the future. I enjoy your posts and hope you can keep them coming.
I was horrified by your news. In your heart you must know you are well thought of in Model T circles. Thank you for having the guts to share the news with us.
My wonderful partner Michelle is a hospice nurse. I know her wise advice would be to live life to its fullest while you can, stay as normal as you can (?!) and to ask for help when you want or need it.
The very great positive that comes out of this advance notice for you is that you have the opportunity to do all this, and to put right any past issues you may be uncomfortable about with loved ones and friends.
I know we've never met, but I enjoy your posts, your humour and your politics (oops, did I really write that?). Thank you.
Take good care.
Very sad to hear this news. Besides your posts, I have enjoyed visiting with you at the Big 3 and Bakersfield swap meets. Appreciated your guidance on helping me with my 28 Chev. crankshaft project. It's finally finished and should be running soon.
Will keep you and your family in my prayers...thank you for being a friend and sharing the real you with your posts on the forum.
Hang in there and keep your posts coming.
Les Von Nordheim
With all the words that have been said I can not add anything.
I just want to say we are thinking of you and your family and how strong of a person you are. I can only hope I will be as strong as you when my time comes.
It is hard to add to what has been said here
but I once heard someone say that the thing that scared him the most was spending time on earth and leaving without making a positive difference in at least one person's life.
With all these comments you can be assured that you are making a positive difference in people's lives.
Our prayers are with you and your family.
Don't give up -- Continue making a difference!
There are people that still need to hear from you.
Ralph, we both go back to the Gus Stangeland days of this forum and over those 15+ years all of your posts have been informative, insightful and well-mannered (even in the midst of various 'food-fights'). Even though we have never met, being separated by a continent and an ocean, I think of you as a friend and wish I could be nearer to offer support to you and your family.
Remember Frank Harris' mantra "We are only here to have fun" and find ways to have fun. Keep posting when you can and keep lurking for as long as you can.
I have only been active on the forum for about 6 months, so I don't know anyone. I do remember the names of the regular posters.The people on the forum are amazing in their willingness to help out anyone with their advice and opinion.
You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. We all hope the Doctors and researchers will soon find a cure for this disease.
Ralph, you've been a great friend. You're one of the few who can see the humor in the middle of all the bull. Fight the good fight dear friend. God bless, Mike.
Gonna miss you like Reid Welch. You were the first local to chat with me over 15yrs ago.
Hey ralph Im sorry I never had a chance to meet you or talk to you . Two people who were close friends had ALS and they both lived longer than the doctors predicted they said that they kept as active as they could for as long as they could. As a young member I'm especially sad that you are sick seeming that I would like to pick your brain ( pretty much everyone's in the club for that matter) on T related questions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this forum for the benefit of others.
I knew this couldn't be good when I opened the thread.
Ralph........While ALS does not run in my family Huntington's Chorea does in a family branch.
A few years ago there seemed to be abnormally frequent instances of ALS around here so, yes, I've known people who suffered this debilitating disease.
While not proved it seems that most of those affected had spent significant periods of time exposed to agricultural chemicals before more stringent rules came about for handling such chemicals.
I'll not go into any specifics of ALS as I'm sure you already know more than enough.
It took incredible courage for you to start this thread.
It's funny how one gets to feel about certain people in forums and I do frequent a few.
You get to "know" people you know you'll never meet but develop feelings just the same.
Having watched your banter here over the last couple years I'm somewhat devastated to read of this.
Terrible news, Ralph!
It brought tears to my eyes, knowing that all I can do is to pray for you. Keep the faith!
Damn Ralph, I'm sorry to hear that.
Ralph, thanks for sharing this with us. Though painful to read, it may cause some of us to reflect on our own mortality and strive to be better people while we are still here. Best wishes to you and your family. For what its worth, a classmate and friend is well into his third year and just came back from Hawaii. Don't give up.
Far from being a regular poster on the forum, I had to respond here. Ralph, we've crossed paths many times and I read a majority of your posts. Thanks for sharing this awful news. You're a strong competitor. You've got the ultimate competition ahead of you.....WIN!!! Our prayers will assist.
Ed Archer #4
Hey Ed, I saw you sold your grey limo. It was at the HME. I remembered it from the California Dreaming Tour we did.
Ralph, I read the Trader Joes post to Jackie and she said "Go For It!" with a good laugh.
Keep your chin up, Buddy!
Howdy Ralph . . I don't get on this confuzzer often - first time here this year; but I'm shaken to the foundation by your news. Although we've never met (I think I might've sent you a brass channel for your windshield) I've hugely enjoyed your input here over the years. Stay viable - you're a wonderful Model T hobbiest. May God richly bless you and yours
A recent song written and performed by country singer Luke Bryant after the untimely passing of his brother and later his sister has a special meaning now since learning about my friend Ralph.
Check it out, I think you'll agree. "Have a Beer" by Luke Bryant.
I'm going to do as the song says with Ralph at our Pier here soon. RDR doesn't drink so maybe I'll get him a coffee or pop. The words are so true....
Gene & All : Here's the YouTube link....
Ralph, thank you so much for all your sharing. You have informed, and more importantly, you have inspired.
Any talk of end of life issues reminds me of the words of Garrison Keillor when he spoke of attending a funeral. How great it was to hear all the warm, genuine, loving, and great things all the people had to say about the departed person. It made him sorta feel sad that he was going to miss his own funeral by just a few days.
Thanks again Ricks. GOD bless you and yours.
One last fling huh? Better keep us posted.
I think I would be so in love with the eating all you want part, a fling might not sway me.
Hello Mr. Ralph. I am new to the T Forum. Maybe you would consider helping me navigate the world of T's a little bit and share your knowledge. I picked up a 1914 T Touring close to home in Salinas. I have done all the regular stuff. The Magneto seems to be loose on the Hog Head. Although the car runs on the Mag and Battery okay. Should the mag post be tight and if so is the end in the Hogs head threaded? Can I tighten snug then turn down the nuts in order? Thanks in advance - DMac in California
Better to start your own thread, Dennis. Nice car to start into the T scene.
I have Garrison Keillor beat.
Gene, I'll take hot cocoa. Thanks.
I was going to suggest H. C. and since you need to gain weight, be sure it's the full-bodied stuff--with marshmallows AND whipped Cream. Have an extra cup & think of us.
David & Linda D.
Hi Ralph & Ronna,we appreciate you sharing your challenge. You're both in our thoughts and prayers going forward. I've certainly felt a kinship with you over the years since the Stangeland days with our mutual interest in T's especially speedsters, and knowing your brother and sister-in-law up here in Anacortes. I haven't seen Richard in a few years on a tour, or Rose at Church, even though I see their names in our latest Parish directory. We hope all is well with them, and please give them our best. We also have had a kinship in business working Avionic systems over the years, for me at Boeing. You've been a great contributor to the forum over the years and hopefully you will continue as long as you can. Take care, my friend... Wayne & Adrienne
I am happy you shared this with us! I never knew you were ill! Sad to hear it. One way or another ain't NONE of us getting out of here alive! I just pray that we do have old cars in heaven. I hate being without any. I also never knew you did anything with aviation. That is another hobby or interest of mine. We had several things in common I now see. Wish we could have met on one of the few times I come out to the S. Calif area. My uncle Jerry Geisler was an attorney in LA. I was just a Donk from the Ozarks whenever I came your way and ONLY interested in hot rods when I was ever there. I visited Magoo,s shop, Disneyland of course, George Barris's, Boyd's shop in LaHabra, and many others. I would have liked to have met you and had lunch as you like to do with your friends. That is the ONLY way to really get to know anyone on the forum. But from what I have been reading on this (your) thread you have MANY friends and they ARE from all over this great planet. Keep in touch.
Joe in Mo.
Ralph, you are in our prayers. I lost my sister to ALS when she was 56. It amazed me how strong she was during the entire process. Much stronger than the loved ones around her. God bless you and your family.
Itīs not over till itīs over.....
Mario and family
Ralph. Look up "Norman Cousins. Laughter". The doctors told him he did not have long to live due to a debilitating illness, so he check himself out of the hospital and checked into a hotel to cure himself through laughter. Through watching Marx Brother's and Laurel and Hardy movies he cured himself and lived to old age and wrote a book about his experience called "Anatomy of an illness". There have been plenty of miracles about amazing recoveries and alot of them have to do with the power of the mind and maintaining a positive outlook no matter how bleak a situation seems. Stay happy, do the things you love and don't let this get you down or it will win. Jim Patrick
it's hard to respond to such a post, but I'll try.
Quality over quantity, my friend, is what comes to mind. Life is an incredible journey. None of us knows with certainty the next chapter, but we all should strive to make the best of it. I feel that you did exactly that, and that you'll continue to live life to the fullest of your ability, and we all applaud you for doing so. Nobody can take away your memories as they have become part of you. Continue to enjoy every day and don't let sadness take over. Life is the only adventure none of us can escape alive. Whether we live for 50, 60, 70, or 80 years matters less than having lived life without regret. We all will meet again sometime, and I personally feel this is just one chapter of many. We all hope to see you again soon, and we will all dance 'til the music stops. Thank you for sharing, and we'll all be there for you when you need us.