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Randy Pausch's Widow Jai Shares Memories Of Husband On Oprah

Oprah Winfrey recently did a show that was a farewell to Dr. Oz, America's doctor, as he prepares to go off and do his own talk show and continue to help people.

(Image of Randy Pausch - - All Rights Reserved).

Oprah's farewell show for Dr. Oz involved recapping some of the most memorable moments of his visits on her show over the past five years.  Included in the goodbye show on Oprah was a recap of Dr. Oz's visit with Randy Pausch who was a 45 year old college professor who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Professor Randy Pausch

Dr. Oz said that people like Professor Randy Pausch "are the reason he got into medicine".  He also said "I loved Randy Pausch, he was a hero to me.  When you talk to people who are dying, they tell the truth.  There's no reason for them not too."

A clip showed Dr. Oz asking Randy about discovering he had pancreatic cancer.  Randy said "I just started to sorta feel bad and funny and we did an ultrasound just to rule things out and my GP called me the next day and said 'there's a mass on your pancreas.'

Your Life Changes In A Moment

Randy also said "and that they say... your life changes in a moment.  And the moment he said that I knew exactly what this was going to be. If you're going to pick off a list, this is not the cancer you would pick."

Randy's final lecture for his students became an Internet sensation.  The "Last Lecture" as it became known was downloaded by millions and turned into a best selling book.  If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.

As Oprah pointed out, "while facing death, Randy's focus was on the beauty of life".

Oprah pointed out that Randy Pausch shared his final lecture on Oprah's show on October 22, 2007.

In the clip they showed on the show Randy said "never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.  I am dying soon and I am choosing to have fun today, tomorrow and every other day I have left.  I only wrote this lecture for three people (his children).  And when they're older they'll watch it. Thank You."

In July of 2008 Randy Pausch died.  Dr. Oz was quoted as saying about Randy "he shed a light for me on a part of my existence that like many Americans I shy away from thinking about, those deep corners of your existence, the places you don't go naturally, that's often where the greatest beauty lies.  And Randy Pausch taught me to do that in the most trying of times."

Randy's wife and widow Jai joined Oprah on the show via Skype from Chesapeake, VA.  She was in tears from watching the tape of Randy.  When Oprah asked Jai how she was doing she said "well I was doing fine until I saw Randy and heard him, I haven't seen him or heard him in awhile so every time I do, its real painful."  She apologize and Oprah offered to give her time to compose herself but Jai said she would be fine to go on.

Jai said "but otherwise I'm fine" and laughed.  She is obviously a very brave woman.  When asked about how she and the children were doing by Oprah said "I think that's we're doing remarkably well considering we went through a two year cancer odessy and lived in four different places and watching Randy go through chemotherapy and radiation and the destruction of his body from the cancer and from the treatment itself."

She continued "and constantly having visitors in the house and it was very very stressful but after he passed away and after we have had some time to grieve things have gotten a lot better.  The stress is down in the house, we're finding a natural rhythm to our life now and I think that the kids are doing really well."

Oprah asked "how has his legacy lived on with your family?"

Jai said "One of the things that Randy had always loved to do was to go to Disneyworld and so recently I took the kids down to Disneyworld and they dedicated a plague to Randy in the park and that gave my family a chance to all be down at Disneyworld together the kids and I spoke about what Randy did, what his professional life was like and how his ideas would go on and live on."

Jai said "It was a great opportunity just for the family to be together which was something Randy and I place a lot of value on, but then also to open up that dialogue with the kids and the kids to be able to ask questions about their father.  I think that is something he would have been very very proud of."

Oprah "I heard you tell the producers that your marriage was actually stronger in the end of your marriage than it was at the beginning?"

Jai "I really believe that.  One of things that we did during this cancer odessy was to listen to one another, we tried to hear each other's points of view because what I was experiencing as a care giver was different from what Randy was experiencing as the patient.  But both experiences were valid.  And we had to try and meet each other's needs.  So even though he was dying of cancer and even though I knew he was going to die and leave me, we still worked on our marriage.  Every day.....every day."

Dr. Oz told Jai "You know, I spoke to him close to the end and I remember he talked to me about hope.  I always thought hope was making sure that things would turn out right. And of course he knew that they wouldn't.  And he said 'in my family hope is just making sense of things.'"

Jai agreed and nodded yes.

Oprah said "It's so interesting Jai...isn't it wonderful having his book, not just because its a book but because first of all they're his words he actually wrote for his children and they will have that forever.  Don't you find that to be a comfort and a treasure?"

Jai replied "I do and it's not just the book, its his lecture where they're going to be able to see Randy at his absolute best because Randy was an incredible lecturer, he was a wonderful teacher and it's where they'll be able to see him in his true element and you know when he talks about being able to communicate all those life lessons that parents try to give to their kids over 18...20 years.  You know, that's what he was trying to do in an hour.   So I think there's a lot of honesty and truth they'll be able to glean not only from the lecture but from the book and I think that's the reason he chose to do the media interviews because it would again capture him on film and the research he did on people who had lost parents at an early age had said hearing their parent's voice brought back memories.  The voice was a trigger for them. And so he wanted to leave that for his kids.  And so I'm really thankful for that.

Oprah said "I'm glad you were able to talk to us today.  Thank you so much."  Oprah also recommended Randy's book as a great read and she noted it's still topping the bestseller's list.

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