Visitation at the Funeral Home

Miss You Already, Grandpa

Charles Emrie Forrester
Charles Emrie Forrester

I purposely waited a few weeks to write this post because I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it.  I can say without a doubt that I have been so extremely fortunate and lucky to have reached the age of 29 and still had both sets of Grandparents alive and well.  I don’t know anyone else who can claim that!  Although I never met my real grandmother on my mom’s side (my moms mom died of breast cancer when she was only 10 or so), my grandfather remarried in the 60′s and my grandma Movita was the only grandma I knew for that side of the family (and she is an awesome Grandma to a whole crew of grandkids!).

 

However, that luck ran out.  I am no longer fortunate, and I no longer have all 4 grandparents alive.   We lost Grandpa on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at around 10:23pm.  I was sitting here at my computer in San Diego trying to play a game of the newly released Diablo3 with my brother Evan but neither of us could really shake the horrible feeling that something horrible was about to happen.  Knowing that my mom was in Kansas sitting by his bedside as we were  waiting here in San Diego was excruciating…just a hopeless and pathetic feeling of not being able to do anything…all the while wishing that I could somehow take every bit of pain grandpa was feeling and suffer through it for him so he could just rest peacefully – and at the same time wishing I could take up every bit of sadness my mom was feeling sitting at his bedside and holding his hand and be sad for her so that they could just be together in his final moments with no distractions.

 

Unfortunately, I could do none of those things…all I could do was sit and wait.  I felt like we were so pathetic – since we were the cousins who showed up from California to spend a week with Grandpa while he was still in (relatively) good health and good spirits, and then left right as things all started to decline.  In the middle of feeling this way, a few days before his passing, I received a phone call from my cousin Billie that completely washed away those feelings.  She is an awesome cousin and friend…and somehow knew exactly what we needed to hear in the middle of feeling so helpless.  She called Evan and I up and said straight out (without knowing I was thinking this) that we shouldn’t feel like we just showed up for the good times and left.  That we should be very happy and proud that we got to spend some of the last great times of Grandpa’s life together with him, and that we should just go on remembering that forever.  This was exactly what I wanted to hear, what I needed to believe, and with that one unprovoked phone call she helped put both of us at peace and accept the situation.   She knew how far removed Evan and I felt from the whole situation and how helpless we felt from being able to help out Grandpa and do anything to help the family – so she took it upon herself to keep us updated and keep our spirits up.  I’ll never forget you doing that, cuz, and I’m eternally grateful for it.

 

Shortly after that we got the horrible news from my Mom.   That sucked.  It was expected…we were prepared…but it sucked.

 

His rapid decline in health all seemed to happen so fast…I remember just talking to him recently in February, after Evan and I’s birthday where he sent us a subscription to Omaha Steaks, and when I called to thank him, he was hilariously complaining about how he couldn’t get a good damn steak at a restaurant to save his life, and how he ordered one at an Outback Steakhouse and how bad it was – blaming the poor quality on Australians and saying that if he wanted a real good steak he was going to have to kill a cow himself.  I remember having to explain to him, when he asked about my girlfriend that I had always told him so much about, that she had up and left and now I had a ring I didn’t know what to do with.  I’m so sorry he died without being able to know I was engaged, or being able to come to my wedding.  I feel like I failed him in that sense.

 

We immediately left on a plane for Kansas to make it in time for a visitation at the funeral home on Thursday, May 17.

 

 

From Forrester Funeral 2012

It was a solemn place, but there were lots of friends and family around and you just knew how well loved and respected he was.  The same is true for the memorial service at the First Methodist Church on Friday, May 18.  There was a huge turnout.  It became so obvious how successful Grandpa had been in life.  Family and friends had been important to him, and this service was a testament to that.  There was no shortage of family or friends around that day.  The pastor who led the service did an excellent job, and you could tell that he had taken the time to get to know my grandfather, and was well spoken and prepared to properly honor such a great man.  Evan, myself, and our cousin Derek all had the great honor of being Pallbearers for his casket.  And I consider it an extremely prestigious honor to be asked to do this.  It was a sincere and special last connection that I will never forget.

From Forrester Funeral 2012

 

From Forrester Funeral 2012

After the service, we immediately packed up and left for Canute, Oklahoma where this great man was to be buried.  Grandpa was born in Foss, OK, just 10 minutes from there. He was buried there in the Canute cemetery, which felt very fitting to me.  It was a rural, plain, blue collar cemetery.  I felt it a perfect resting place for my grandfather.  He was an all-American badass.  He was a farmer, he was an engineer, he worked with his hands, he knew many things I don’t – like what it is to do an honest days hard work.  Literal work.  He was a provider, and he created things from nothing.  This cemetery just felt comfortable to me, like he had come full circle.  I can’t explain the feeling, all I can say is that it just felt right.

 

From Forrester Funeral 2012

 

From Forrester Funeral 2012

 

It was most fitting that his final resting place is just a stone’s throw from Route 66.  Literally – Foothill blvd in Upland, CA.  Knowing this somehow made me feel a little more comfortable – like he was always going to be close to me where I grew up.  I could literally start in Upland and just head East and eventually find him again.  Maybe it’s because that road has as much history and as many stories as he did?

 
All that said…I think my cousin Billie summed it up best with this.  We all love and miss you Grandpa – I know you’ll be keeping an eye on us :)

 

 

 

And finally…Grandpa is laid to rest next to my mom’s mom.  Much love to you both!

 

From Forrester Funeral 2012

 

 
 

 
 

 
Here is an album of lots of my pictures from the whole trip. I’ll be making another post soon highlighting some of the other stuff we saw there.