This appeared in my inbox and I just had to read the whole thing. It was sent by a listener of mine, Samantha Smith Schleben, and it's letter/story about her family and her father... the hardship they've been through and how much he means to her. Get out the tissues. You're going to need them!

Thank you so much for sharing Samantha. Your father sounds like an amazing dad!

My name is Samantha Smith Schleben. I couldn't figure out how to put this on your website, so I thought I would e-mail it instead. Let me first start off by saying my dad is truley my HERO!! All of my friends loved him growing up, and stil do. Guess I need to start from the beginning. When my dad was 19 years old he married my mother who was pregnant at the time with my brother. They had all four of us 2 years apart from each other. My dad had a great union job, but got into a motorcycle wreck, and wasn't the same ever since. He had to become a painter because his mind just really didn't work right. He has alway's had a crappy vehcile's they're always breaking down. Well his boss bought him a brand new f150 for a bonus. Boy was my dad thrilled he neve had anything that was NEW!!! His boss also said that he was retiring and going to give my dad the company. I guess he changed his mind because he gave it to someone else or he said he was giving it to someone else. My dad went into depressed mode for bout 2 months. He finally snapped back into reality. He went to his boss to put his 2 week notice in and would'nt you know it his boss took the truck back that he gave my dad. It only had 1 payment left, but since he was leaving he said nope you caan't have it. So he had to start over and get another piece of crap car. He tried to open up a painting company his slef but like most small business it just didn't work out. Struggling all the time never knew how or when the bills would get paid. But I gotta tell ya he always had a smile on his face. He always said its ok Sammie I believe in God and this to shall pass. Well he finally got a job at Home Depot on pines Rd. in the elctrical department. Finally a steady not great, but steady paycheck coming in. He found out not to long after he started that he had a rare gum diease and he needed all of his teeth pulled out and need dentures. So every 2 weeks he was having a tooth pulled. It was horrible having to see my dad in so much pain all the time. And he is already 110lbs soaking wet he really can't afford to lose any weight but he did. Finally got the dentures put in but they don't fit and he does'nt have the money to get them resized again. So he's still in pain from his dentures. Well a little while after that he called me complaing of his stomach hurting and he need to go to the hospital. by the way my dad NEVER complains about anything. Hes sick he still works!! Well he went and they found out that his intestined was blocking all blood flow, they inmeditedly had to have surgery which was bout a 50/50 chance. And if he did make it he would be out of work for 6 months!! I'm glad to say that he made it and he could'nt do 6 months so he went back after 2 months. And his stomach still hurts but he wasn't able to let it rest. He had 27 staples in his belly. He has a very long scar, and he lost more weight on top of losing denture weight. He went down to about 70lbs. So sad and scary, here is my dad my hero my angel lying in the hospital in so much pain. And you know what he kept saying im sorry to us his kids he said i'm sorry yall had to see that to feel that pain or to think that i was a gonner!! I couldn't believe my dad is saying he's sorry that we saw him like that. I can't tell you enough how much I LOVE MY DAD AND HOW MUCH OF A GREAT PERSON HE IS!!! Well almost 2 years after that he gets a phone call from my mom screaming that Shanna " my sister his daughter" is dead. He calls me me at 9:30am at work telling me this and that he's on the way home. I immediately leave work, calling my husband to get over there. We live right down the street from my dad. So I call my other sister because I am freaking out so bad while I was driving!! My husband calls me back and he said " you need to come here now"!! At that moment I knew she was gone and I just lost it. I ran a red light and hit a box truck spun around and hit a log truck spun around and flew out of my passenger window and I was the driver. The doctor told my husband I should'vediedn that wreck of how bad it was. I had a blood clot on my brain and had to be outta work for 1 month. My dad still doesn't like to talk about that day!! My sister left behind 2 small kids. My mom moved into mydads to help raise the kids. They have been divorced for a while now so it was nothing but a struggle and agurements all the time!!! My nephew which is 8 now moved in with his dad in 08-2012 and my little niece which is 3 still lives with my dad. My mom moved out but my dad is 52 years old so he asked me if i wanted to raise her. I took her for 3 months straight and thats just not where she wanted to be. She missed my dad she cried all the time for him. I mean his house is all shes known. So he wakes up everyday gets her up takes her to daycare and he goes to work everyday. He has his ggod and bad days just like everybody else. But I wanted to honor my dad my hero the greatest man I've ever known. Really hope this gets read!! My dads name is Christopher Smith. He always does anything anybody ask him to do regardless if he has to change his plans. He does it with a smile on his face. He always has a smile and say's it's ok just PRAY to the good lord and he will hear and help you... This Saturday will be 2 years that my sister Shanna Marie Smith has passed away. He doesn't even want to think about but he can't help to. That's all he think about!! Her kids look just like her. Gabrielle is the girl version and Parker is the boy version!!! Please help me honor my dad and know how much he is loved and appreciated!! Thanks for reading my story!


Samantha Smith Schleben