April 03, 2004

Sophie Julien O'Neal

The website is just amazing. It's just what I hoped for, but didn't know how to ask for, and to see it take form makes me so DAMN grateful and glad. I want Rose to hear and see and laugh and remember her incredible daddy, and you are helping make that possible. And helping me too, of course -- to read stories about Ray before I knew him, stories of times we shared together as seen through other people's eyes, many stories I heard him tell, sides of stories I thought I knew, sides of Ray I did know but in ways or at times that I didn't see for myself, to see all the photos -- it's a discovery and joy for me too.

I am encouraging (ok, nagging) everyone I know to add to the site, to share their stories and rememberances of Ray. I want ALL of the stories, I want to hear every story, every glimpse into the different facets and depths of my Ray. All of them, really, truly, no holding back! because all of it is who he was - my love, Rose's daddy, rocksolid friend, the question man, the go-to guy, intrepid adventurer, goofball, uncleTiny, shittyRay (oh how Ron would LOVE to hear me say that!): Rose and I both knew and know him as all of those things, and there were 37 amazing years worthy of stories, so let's hear them ALL.

The best part for me is how each memory, someone else's memory, resonates with my own knowledge of my world'sbesthusband (his official title around our house) and makes it my OWN memory.

Those are the things I want for Rose: to learn about Ray, learn about Ray in the world -- who he was, what he did, how he did it, who he touched -- to be reminded herself of who he was for her and how much of what she learned from him is still so true. To be able to see him and hear him in her own mind -- her oh so loving, goofy, strong, warm, wise, gentle, silly, patient, playful, comfortable, comforting, curious, thoughtful, fun, funny, joyful, beloved daddy -- that is a gift. That is a treasure. That is all that we have.

Much MUCH love -- Sophie