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I dedicate this book to my nephew, Billy Rea Tyler, and my parents, William and Theresa Bourey. Billy was hit and killed by an automobile when he was only nineteen years old. Two of the issues I will address in this book are what happens after we die and whether things occur for a reason or only randomly. It is my wish that the contents of this book may provide some comfort to my sister, Linda (his mother), and Billy’s sister, Lori.

While everyone is indebted to their parents for many things, including their very existence, all do not have an equally rewarding experience. I could not imagine better parents than mine. I could easily make the statement that, in addition to my nephew Billy, each of my parents deserved better than the experiences they encountered toward the end of their lives. Despite exercising every day and being in great physical condition, my father passed away in 2004 after a horrendous battle with esophageal cancer. The last time I spoke with him, I told him that I would remember him as he was when he was vital and healthy, but that I also wanted to remember the incredible strength, courage and dignity with which he lived his final year.

Just after I completed the writing of this book, my mother passed away, having suffered with Alzheimer’s. I saw her a few days before her death. She still knew me. I was able to explain that I had written this book and dedicated it to her and Dad. She has now joined him and they will be able to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary together again.

Before my father’s death and my mother’s decline, I presented each of them the following verses which I will share with you so that you may know who they were. As I would like the reader to know about my parents, I write this book in part so that my children, Shannon, Andy, Tara, Ben and Brian will know more about me and to offer them whatever benefit they may find by reviewing my pursuit of truth.

To You, Dad

Philosophers, psychologists and other scribes
Offer advice on how we should live our lives
Though enjoying their writings and their creeds
I have learned more from your words and your deeds
Ready to work, eager to learn and able to play
The proper balance for each and every day
Blessed with strength of body, mind and spirit
A good caretaker of those traits you did inherit
Having an exemplary marriage without a doubt
Mother and you show us what love is all about
Ever toiling for others, especially your family
While relishing what some call responsibility
Though knowing clearly what we all need
Offering to help without appearing to lead
Giving generously from your hard-earned wealth
While wanting and needing so little for yourself
Always sensitive to how others feel
Never wanting to hurt but only to heal
Even if others may your enmity earn
Never a word to make their ears burn
Loved by all who know you well
Talking with any, it is easy to tell
Never seeking to be in the spotlight
Doing what you do because it is right
Living your life with faith, courage and wisdom
Understanding the purpose of this earthly kingdom
My hero, for you show me the way
How I should live my life each day
Your strong wind silent under my wing
As we have heard the song-bird sing
By nature and nurture, given some of your best
May I always strive to acquire all of the rest
Treasuring our time together both future and past
My admiration, gratitude and love will forever last

From Your Son, Alan

To You, Mother

Peace prizes are given in the name of Nobel
Of new saints the Pope will sometimes tell
But my true measure for sacrifice and love
Is neither of the two awards listed above
No person in the past or in the future
Can match you who gave me life and nurture
Your family has always been your constant concern
Helping each to grow, to flourish, to learn
Whatever is needed you do without tire
Assisting others is your true desire
Your wants and needs are so small
But giving and generous you are to all
You seek no attention or acclaim
Others’ comfort and success is your aim
No matter wherever I go, whatever I try
Your wind beneath my wings helps me to fly
None has fulfilled her wedding vows better than you
With constant love and devotion since saying “I do”
Stating the truth in terms quite simply
You are the heart and soul of your family
All that you meet see your love and your care
With you all are ready their story to share
Regardless of beauty, wealth, color or age
All are an open book to you, page after page
Sympathetic to every person you meet
Talking with you each finds a treat
From my arm and hand to my leg and knee
I can see so much of you in me
But what I hope most that I did inherit
Is the special quality of your heart and spirit
In my lifetime your gifts I cannot repay
Nor are there enough words of thanks I can say
So I will strive to pass on your love so sweet
To all of my family and to each person I meet