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An amazing heart and heartbreak


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Twenty two plus years ago I met the love of my life and best friend. Our first date was on a motorcycle an old '86 Yamaha Maxim. Third date was in an airplane as I was a pilot back then. She took many rides on my FZR that I had at the time, but wasn't nearly as comfortable for a passenger. We have been inseparable since and enjoyed many rides together over the years and have had two sons together, one his is as crazy about bikes as I am and one that just turned 13 on Friday January 13.
Three years ago she started slurring her speech, having no idea what was happening I teased her "c'mon, spit it out Ozzy". We got a good laugh but wondered what was happening. Two years ago she was diagnosed with ALS and I cannot begin to say how devastated we were. It has been over two years since she has been able to talk and that has made it feel very lonely. But when we were riding the bike it was like things were normal, we were close and did not have to talk. Her best way of communicating was with a thumbs up. We have done everything we could since the diagnosis to make the most of every day that we could. For the past couple of years I have had to lift her on and off the bike as she got weaker.
In 2015 we were going to Colorado to visit her son who is in the Air Force out there. Two weeks before leaving for Colorado my beloved FZ1 was backed over in a dentists parking lot. I pieced it back together as best I could and loaded it into the truck for the 1200 trip to Colorado. Fay and I spent a couple days while in Colorado riding in the Rockies. Not as much as we wanted, but we had family to visit too. At this point I was taking her to an ALS clinic, so most of my vacation time was burned up taking her to appointments.
I spent a lot of the down time while sitting around having a beer researching the FJ-09. Intrigued and already having a triple with a Speed Triple we got a test ride together at a Yamaha demo day soon after arriving home from Colorado. Fay was much more comfortable on the FJ with the extra leg room. The FJ was also easier for her to get on with the hand grips to grab hold of. We both really loved the bike and the time we had together on it. Winter of 15-16 came and it was a long dry spell without being able to ride and I always wondered if she'd be able to ride again when winter was over. At the start of 2016 I had to lift her on the bike, it was quite a process. The bike had to be on the center stand and I'd lift her left leg on my footpeg, then my left arm around her stomach and lift then lift her right leg over. Then I'd have to lift her up and scoot her back to the back seat. The flipping the bike off the center stand and holding the bike upright and kicking a leg through between her and the tank was quite a challenge being only 5'7" tall, but where there's a will there's a way. We made it happen.
 We had discussed a trip to The Dragon, a place I normally went to every year but had never been able to take her. Last June we made our dream trip happen, taking my son and his girlfriend also. We rented a beautiful log cabin in Tellico Plains, TN with a pond beside it. My sons Speed Triple was loaded into the back of my truck and the FJ was ridden down by my son, which I'd later ride home and let him drive the truck. The first day we drove straight to Knoxville and spent the night in a Hotel. We couldn't check into the log cabin the following day until 3:30, so struck out from Knoxville to go run the Devil's Triangle. Those of you familiar with that it is a very challenging technical road that is so tight in spots making The Dragon seem like childs play. We only rode maybe a hundred or so miles early that day, but at one point I could feel something wasn't right on the back of the bike. I stopped and she was crying, her butt hurt. This was only our first day and not many miles, I was worried this was a bad sign for the trip, but my worries proved to unfounded. Her heart was able to override everything. That evening after getting settled into our cabin we took a short jaunt down the Cherahola Skyway. She absolutely loved waterfalls, so a nice long stop at the Bald River Falls was a must at this point. We got a lot of pictures there and she was in heaven there. For future reference at one time Fay would close her eyes when we were coming into curves, but then learned to love it.
A couple of days of this trip really stand out to me, even thought we spent five days there. The first one was what was forecast to be the best weather day, so we wanted to make the of it. We were wanting to run Moonshiner 28 down to the waterfalls, there are a few of them close together and she really wanted to see them. We headed across the Cherahola to The Dragon then took a run up and down The Dragon then stopped at the restaurant there to rest and have a meal. It's something like 62 miles (I don't remember exactly what it was) from Tellico Plains to The Dragon. While we were eating, and remembering the day before, I kept telling her lets just wait until the following day and take the truck, she would be so much more comfortable. She just shook her head no and pointed down 28, she wanted to do it on two wheels. I was really worried about this, but followed her wishes. I would stop ever 20-30 miles and asking her how she was doing and I'd get a thumbs up. I always tried to ask her to turn around and do it with the truck, but she was having none of it. We made it all the way down to the waterfalls and she loved them. All the way back I kept worrying about her, but I'd get a smile and a thumbs up every time I checked on her. I believe we were somewhere just shy of 400 miles that day of hard twisties and I was just amazed by her spirit and love of what we were doing in the face of all she was dealing with.
The other day that stuck out to me so much was the last day we were down there. I could tell while lifting her on and off the bike that she was getting weaker. We had been dragging pegs all week and the harder I pushed the more she loved it. I was amazed at how well she stayed on the bike with her condition. That last day I went through The Dragon at a medium, but still spirited pace, then cut up Foothills Parkway in order to show her some of the overlooks. At the first overlooks we stopped at she immediately got her phone and started typing (she couldn't talk) instead of looking at the view. When she showed me what was so important, she had typed out that she wasn't that bad, I didn't have to go that slow. When we were finished on the Foothills Parkway I put the hammer down and ground pegs all the way back through 129 and when we got to the store I asked her how that was. I got a big smile and a thumbs up back. We took a nice easy ride back across the Cherahola taking in as much as we could, we knew this was the last day. It was an amazing vacation and this lady had showed her amazing heart and spirit through and through. Our shared love of this was amazing. This was a dream vacation for us.
After we got home she kept deteriorating more, but we still found a way to get her on the bike and ride together, it was the one time things felt normal. So many people couldn't believe the things we did on the bike with her condition, but we did it and made some of the best memories we could've ever hoped for. Some of our best memories in the last couple years is on the FJ and I will always admire her spirit and miss her. She went home to be with the lord January 18. I am sharing this with a very heavy heart, but I wanted to put it down in writing. Thanks for indulging me.[/img]
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Really feel for you as I type this with difficulty due to the tears in my eyes.
 
Me and the Mss (not Mrs us both being long time libers, and she kept her maiden name too) have been married going on 36 years and I don't know what I'd do without her.
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Twenty two plus years ago I met the love of my life and best friend. Our first date was on a motorcycle an old '86 Yamaha Maxim. Third date was in an airplane as I was a pilot back then. She took many rides on my FZR that I had at the time, but wasn't nearly as comfortable for a passenger. We have been inseparable since and enjoyed many rides together over the years and have had two sons together, one his is as crazy about bikes as I am and one that just turned 13 on Friday January 13. Three years ago she started slurring her speech, having no idea what was happening I teased her "c'mon, spit it out Ozzy". We got a good laugh but wondered what was happening. Two years ago she was diagnosed with ALS and I cannot begin to say how devastated we were. It has been over two years since she has been able to talk and that has made it feel very lonely. But when we were riding the bike it was like things were normal, we were close and did not have to talk. Her best way of communicating was with a thumbs up. We have done everything we could since the diagnosis to make the most of every day that we could. For the past couple of years I have had to lift her on and off the bike as she got weaker.
In 2015 we were going to Colorado to visit her son who is in the Air Force out there. Two weeks before leaving for Colorado my beloved FZ1 was backed over in a dentists parking lot. I pieced it back together as best I could and loaded it into the truck for the 1200 trip to Colorado. Fay and I spent a couple days while in Colorado riding in the Rockies. Not as much as we wanted, but we had family to visit too. At this point I was taking her to an ALS clinic, so most of my vacation time was burned up taking her to appointments.
I spent a lot of the down time while sitting around having a beer researching the FJ-09. Intrigued and already having a triple with a Speed Triple we got a test ride together at a Yamaha demo day soon after arriving home from Colorado. Fay was much more comfortable on the FJ with the extra leg room. The FJ was also easier for her to get on with the hand grips to grab hold of. We both really loved the bike and the time we had together on it. Winter of 15-16 came and it was a long dry spell without being able to ride and I always wondered if she'd be able to ride again when winter was over. At the start of 2016 I had to lift her on the bike, it was quite a process. The bike had to be on the center stand and I'd lift her left leg on my footpeg, then my left arm around her stomach and lift then lift her right leg over. Then I'd have to lift her up and scoot her back to the back seat. The flipping the bike off the center stand and holding the bike upright and kicking a leg through between her and the tank was quite a challenge being only 5'7" tall, but where there's a will there's a way. We made it happen.
 We had discussed a trip to The Dragon, a place I normally went to every year but had never been able to take her. Last June we made our dream trip happen, taking my son and his girlfriend also. We rented a beautiful log cabin in Tellico Plains, TN with a pond beside it. My sons Speed Triple was loaded into the back of my truck and the FJ was ridden down by my son, which I'd later ride home and let him drive the truck. The first day we drove straight to Knoxville and spent the night in a Hotel. We couldn't check into the log cabin the following day until 3:30, so struck out from Knoxville to go run the Devil's Triangle. Those of you familiar with that it is a very challenging technical road that is so tight in spots making The Dragon seem like childs play. We only rode maybe a hundred or so miles early that day, but at one point I could feel something wasn't right on the back of the bike. I stopped and she was crying, her butt hurt. This was only our first day and not many miles, I was worried this was a bad sign for the trip, but my worries proved to unfounded. Her heart was able to override everything. That evening after getting settled into our cabin we took a short jaunt down the Cherahola Skyway. She absolutely loved waterfalls, so a nice long stop at the Bald River Falls was a must at this point. We got a lot of pictures there and she was in heaven there. For future reference at one time Fay would close her eyes when we were coming into curves, but then learned to love it.
A couple of days of this trip really stand out to me, even thought we spent five days there. The first one was what was forecast to be the best weather day, so we wanted to make the of it. We were wanting to run Moonshiner 28 down to the waterfalls, there are a few of them close together and she really wanted to see them. We headed across the Cherahola to The Dragon then took a run up and down The Dragon then stopped at the restaurant there to rest and have a meal. It's something like 62 miles (I don't remember exactly what it was) from Tellico Plains to The Dragon. While we were eating, and remembering the day before, I kept telling her lets just wait until the following day and take the truck, she would be so much more comfortable. She just shook her head no and pointed down 28, she wanted to do it on two wheels. I was really worried about this, but followed her wishes. I would stop ever 20-30 miles and asking her how she was doing and I'd get a thumbs up. I always tried to ask her to turn around and do it with the truck, but she was having none of it. We made it all the way down to the waterfalls and she loved them. All the way back I kept worrying about her, but I'd get a smile and a thumbs up every time I checked on her. I believe we were somewhere just shy of 400 miles that day of hard twisties and I was just amazed by her spirit and love of what we were doing in the face of all she was dealing with.
The other day that stuck out to me so much was the last day we were down there. I could tell while lifting her on and off the bike that she was getting weaker. We had been dragging pegs all week and the harder I pushed the more she loved it. I was amazed at how well she stayed on the bike with her condition. That last day I went through The Dragon at a medium, but still spirited pace, then cut up Foothills Parkway in order to show her some of the overlooks. At the first overlooks we stopped at she immediately got her phone and started typing (she couldn't talk) instead of looking at the view. When she showed me what was so important, she had typed out that she wasn't that bad, I didn't have to go that slow. When we were finished on the Foothills Parkway I put the hammer down and ground pegs all the way back through 129 and when we got to the store I asked her how that was. I got a big smile and a thumbs up back. We took a nice easy ride back across the Cherahola taking in as much as we could, we knew this was the last day. It was an amazing vacation and this lady had showed her amazing heart and spirit through and through. Our shared love of this was amazing. This was a dream vacation for us.
After we got home she kept deteriorating more, but we still found a way to get her on the bike and ride together, it was the one time things felt normal. So many people couldn't believe the things we did on the bike with her condition, but we did it and made some of the best memories we could've ever hoped for. Some of our best memories in the last couple years is on the FJ and I will always admire her spirit and miss her. She went home to be with the lord January 18. I am sharing this with a very heavy heart, but I wanted to put it down in writing. Thanks for indulging me.[/img]
 
 
Thank you for sharing your heart warming story about you and your wife. Man, great job being a good husband and best friend to your wife and for keeping her on two wheels. I'm sure that it meant alot to her to feel normal and free on the back of the bike. I'm sorry that you lost her, and hope that your personal recovery from all of this goes well. Ya know, whenever you are on that bike, she will still be with you.
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Very great story. I am extremely sorry for your loss and hope you have great memories for years to come. Gods speed.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Bikes:
2015 FJ-09, Seat Concepts seat cover and foam, Cal Sci medium screen, rim stripes, factory heated grips, Cortech Dryver tank bag ring, Modified stock exhaust, FlashTune with Graves fuel map, Cree driving lights, Aux power socket.
2012 Street Triple type R (Wifes)
2007 FJR1300 (Sold!)
 
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OMG!!! I can't imagine! That is too cool! I too would do anything to give my love the best in the end just as you did. You are so lucky that it was riding. Thank You for sharing your personal best and lowest! With us. ?

Brick
2015 Yamaha FJ-09 "Red Molly"
2014 Yamaha Super Tenere' ES
1999 Suzuki SV650

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Thanks for all the kind comments. Timing can be a weird thing, five years ago I had a brain tumor and it raised it's ugly head again at the end of October. When Fay was diagnosed I wondered how I would take care of her, through very slurred speech she replied hopefully that "maybe it'll be you". Strangely in early November I went through brain surgery and now being off work going through combined radiation/chemo I have been taking care of her full time for the last three months. She was virtually totally paralyzed and I was lifting her many times a day. The doctors told me I'd be too fatigued to take care of her, but I managed to do it despite what they said. I believe in my heart that made her happy. But she commented with her device and the twisting of the throttle motion with her hand how much she missed riding. I now dream of a ride out to California up Big Sur Highway which I don't believe will be "alone".
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Sorry for your loss, long may you remember the good times and those happy moments.
Honda SS50, Kawasaki Z200, Honda 400/4, Yamaha TDM900, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere, KTM 990 Adventure, BMW R1200GS, Mr Stevens, and my favourite of all: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer...a bit like FJ-09 only properly named :¬P
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