Long ago I was in my boss's office when he received a call informing him that he had won the very prestigious Peabody Award for a television special he had produced. He looked crestfallen, and I asked why he appeared so troubled. He told me something I never forgot; when he got the news his first impulse was to pick up the phone and call his father who had died three years earlier. My first wife, Vanessa, died after a long battle with cancer at the young age of 42. We had been together 22 years and as close as couple could be. I missed her so much that I took her advice to heart; in her last conscious moments before lapsing into a final coma, she told me to "find a good woman and have a great life." I was twice blessed when I met my second wife, Wendy, a widow with two little ones who became my only children. Then it happened to me. My daughter was sitting at my computer clicking the link that would reveal whether or not she was accepted for early decision at one of the top universities in America. When the school's familiar logo popped up with a big "Congratulations" across it, we all burst into tears of joy. As I hugged my beloved wife, daughter and son, my mind was telling me to call my first wife, Vanessa, dead now thirteen years. And I remembered my boss and his Peabody, and his impulse to call his father. Since then I've lost my dad, a wonderful father-in-law, a cousin and a brother-in-law who was dear to me, and in each case have noted that in moments of great joy or great despair I have had that impulse to call or write them. My wife and I have been close friends of Lisa and her husband Barry, and one day a couple of years after both Wendy and Lisa lost fathers they adored, we discovered that we had independently been thinking about starting a website that encouraged the grief-stricken to find peace by writing directly to our departed loved ones. I look back with what I've accomplished in life with pride. I've raised two spectacular children, and loved and been loved by two outstanding women. If, through AfterTalk, Lisa and I can bring comfort and insight to those who have suffered a loss, I will be completely content.
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