By Ma-Ria D. Fitch
June 20, 2011
April 6, 1956, the greatest man I ever knew was born with his twins cord wrapped around his neck cutting off his oxygen. His twin was still born, but somehow, he survived. He was born black as the ace of spades and his entire life was filled with mental and physical disabilities. He was epileptic, had asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic migraines, chronic joint and muscular pain, and when he died in October of 2008, he also had emphysema from smoking most of his life. He never had beyond an 8th grade education, but he taught me more about myself, the world around me, and the differences between right and wrong and what I should do with my life, then anyone else I know.
This man’s parents were told when he was born that he wouldn’t live past the age of 2. When he was 2 the doctors said he wouldn’t live past the age of 6. At six they told him he wouldn’t see his 16th birthday. When at 16 the doctors told him he wouldn’t live to see 21, he told them that he would not only live to see 21, but that he would live for many years after and have a child and watch that child grow into something spectacular. At 21 he was told again that he wouldn’t live very long, the doctors told him he would be lucky to see his 30th birthday and that he would never have children. Much to their amazement and his pleasure at the age of 23 he was the proud father of a little girl. When his 30th birthday rolled around the doctors finally gave up telling him he wouldn’t live long and just told him to enjoy the time that he would have with his daughter. Then in August of 2007, the doctor told him for the last time that he would not live another 5 years.
Even with as many times as this man was told that he would not live to be a certain age, or that he would never be able to do something, he never gave up and he did what he was told he wouldn’t be able to do. At 16 years old he had already visited 25 of the 50...