As most of you know I am a teacher. I am always guiding students in life skills as well as teaching them skills for a life time of physical activity. Twenty months ago on a sunny day in January when my son was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer I became a student and he became my teacher.
The maturity that John Foster displayed upon receiving the diagnosis of this life shortening disease was met with courage and bravery beyond his 22 years of age.
John did not back down from the news. He helped us to learn all that we could about treatment, love, respect, patience, faith, and hope. He met each challenge head on and kept up his fighting spirit until the end.
I thank him for the lessons well taught in a dire situation.
John Foster created a bucket list, not a long one, but most of the items revolved around time with friends and family, doing what he loved in life with the people he carried about. He also had a love for food and cooking and “chemistry in the kitchen” as he called it!
John’s dedication to his family and friends was admirable. Although we are approximately 3000 miles away from most of you, he was always curious as to what the east coast family was up to. The phone call, cards, emails and social media postings helped John Foster “keep in touch” with life on the east coast. He also got to brag about his San Francisco Giants, Warriors, and 49ers with some of you. The special bond that was forged in childhood trips east remained with John Foster as an adult.
The fun times jumping waves, playing Whiffleball , eating lobster at the beach, picking blueberries, going to UCONN for ice cream, sledding and skiing in the snow and visiting with his family and friends here remained near and dear to his heart.
Just last summer, on a quick trip east in between treatments at Duke, he enjoyed some special times and special treats with many of you. He was looking forward to visiting again this August but this was not to be.
He loved it all and most of all he loved you all. John Foster did not back down from this disease; he was courageous and brave and had faith. He was and will always be an inspiration to me.
I would like to leave you with a few thoughts from a sentiment that a friend of mine sent me when she heard of John Foster’s passing:
Do not grieve the loss of my love; I am still by your side. I have not left you, but instead I am walking beside you. It is true my earthly body is gone, but my spirit lives forever. I am now one with the Holy Spirit, and I am one with you.
Speak to me, and I will listen
Listen for me, and I will respond.
Look for me, and you shall find me.
I am everywhere at once.
I will speak to you through your thoughts, and dreams and through others.
I will be the wind which whispers in your ear.
I will be the sun which rises in the east, and the brilliant sunset of the west.
I will be the moon which lights your nights, and the twinkling stars above.
I will be the rains that wet the land and quench the thirst of life.
I will be the sunlight that warms the earth, providing the world with light.
I will be the flowers blooming in springtime, and the colored leaves of fall.
I will be the violent storms of summer, and the glistening snowflakes of winter.
Dry your tears and cry no more, my life is untouched. I rest in the house of the Lord, and we shall meet again.
Remember me for what I was, only the good, not the bad. Remember the good times we have had together, not those which upset you or make you sad.
I have been given the wings of angels, and my souls soars high into the heavens. I am free like the wind, and my life is eternal.
If you thought I would live forever, you were correct.
I am alive inside of you.
Stephen T. Fader