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Sixty-Five Roses
by John Faucett

Upon learning that my four-year-old son,
Richard, has cystic fibrosis,
I was in shock, then I mourned.
Finally I became furious and fought back.
Franticly every night I would call everywhere
Looking for help; there was none.
One night after several long and agonizing
Phone calls pleading for help,
Richard came into the room
And said, "Mommy I know who you work for."
With some trepidation,
I posed the question back to him,
"Who, Richard?"
"Sixty-five roses," he said with a smile.
I went to him and tenderly pressed his tiny body
To mine so he could not see
The tears running down my cheeks.
I was amazed since I had never told him
That he has advanced liver cancer.
Then as I hugged him, I realized
He couldn't pronounce cystic fibrosis,
So now every time, for the past thirty-eight years,
As I visit Richard, I smile and cry as I gaze upon
A seven-year-old's gravestone
That reads "sixty-five roses."

Richard, it has been thirty-eight poignant years to the day
That is why "sixty-five roses" on your grave we placed today
Then on our knees we got and silently prayed,
No,not for you our sweetie
For we know you're safe in heaven
But for daddy and I,
Whose hearts have never mended.
We want to thank you Richard and need to apologize,
We stood by your grave today and told you our reaons why.
"Sixty-five roses" lay beautifully upon your grave
To signify the illness that took your life away
We always knew this is the place
Where in your youth you'd lay
And all we asked and wanted is for it to be maintained.
Many people loved you and many heard our plea,
For each time we come to visit
We find things placed anonymously.
"Sixty-five roses"
We placed there today
"Sixty-five roses" is what took you away.

We didn't know much about this killer disease at first but we do now.
While doing research for our son Richard, who had cystic fibrosis.
My husband and I read, over 30,000 children a year die from it.
The children are so young that they are unable to pronounce cystic fibrosis.
So they call there disease "sixty-five roses"
This moved us,
Enough to both support and contribute to finding a cure
And to tell you about the disease; our little boy heard as,
"Sixty-five roses" - cystic fibrosis.
Easy to say as "sixty-five roses",
Difficult to cure as cystic fibrosis.

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