I was told a few things when I started to come into my own self. Men and friends, they come and go but your family will always be with you. I am blessed to have my best friends all be members of my family. One of which, being my father. He is a rock of solitude, my margarita-friend, my wise owl to whom I confide in, and the database where I get all my jokes. He is my buddy. He loved me when I was a tomboy with hairy legs and wore backward caps. He loved me when I started wearing dresses, having interests in boys, and attempted to apply makeup to my sun-kissed freckled face. Ever since I can remember, for Christmas we would set up little toy trains that would race around the tree and entertain us on the morning of presents. Every year, in preparation for Santa, relatives, and the eventual wine and stories, we set up Christmas lights. When I was a child that meant that I got to climb the ladder and hang out on the roof of our house. It happened once a year and I didn’t miss it for the world. From there, you can see the ocean and see the sun set. I felt like such a “handy-man”, giving my dad nails and slack to the lights. This year, in my mind, wouldn’t be any different. However, our new house doesn’t have much of a view from the top and doesn’t need more than one person to set up a lonely line of illumination. On this Christmas, I was the one to set up the lights. My father’s energy was mysteriously absent. I found out a few days later that the reason was because of a few words. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. My sister and I were told about my father’s disease a few days after Christmas. The shock of hearing “3 – 5 years to live” still resonates with me and acts more like a dream than it does an actual memory. ALS is one of the most crippling and deadly diseases and most people have never heard of it. My goal with this isn’t to collect condolences or tears. My goal is to write things about and for my father, for inspiration and hope. I also want other people to send their letters for and about their fathers. If time is of the essence, than let my voice be heard now. I want to reach out to others who maybe once were afraid, shy, lazy, or less than motivated to say the things they really wanted to say. I also am hoping to raise some awareness about this disease, and hopefully bring some much-needed light to a seemingly dark place.