Been doing some photography with my DSLR, trying to learn how to take some actual damn photos. It’s really hard to do this right in anything other than auto-mode, but I’m trying to learn how to use this Rebel T3.
Took the opportunity to take some pics of the 5 hummingbirds that were digging in on the feeder out in front of the house the other day. What do you think?
2012 was a hell of a year. It was one of the worst years of the 30-some I’ve experienced so far on this earth. It was also one of the best years too (but more worst than best). There was some really awesome stuff that happened, and some truly horrible things that happened, but overall I don’t ever want to live a year like that again.
On May 30, 2004, my grandfather, Charles Forrester wrote this about his time in the Army in WWII. It is the last record I can find of his service, after contacting the government military records management office, it turns out they lost millions of records in a fire in the 70’s (paper records) and they all burned. My grandpa’s was one of them. My grandmother is still looking for other stuff from his military career, like discharge papers, etc. I’ll post them if I find them.
Charlie Reese was a journalist who wrote for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 – 2001. He had a column that he wrote three times a week that was syndicated to other newspapers nationwide. He first wrote this article in the 1980’s, and has updated it many times over the years. Even today, nearly 30 years later, his article remains true.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Remember this thing? The most expensive mistake I ever made? The physical representation of the woman who, a week before me proposing, broke my heart and left me stranded a few days before my 29th birthday, right before my grandfather became terminally ill and died, and left me alone to deal with everything while she up and left, took the dog, and bought a house. Well, I am so fucking happy to say that I sold it! I never have to have the reminder of that horrible person and time in my life sitting on my shelf mocking me and being a constant reminder to worst heartbreak I have ever suffered. The best thing is, it went to a great couple from SF who work at Google, who loved my awesome custom design and drove down to pick it up! I wish them nothing but the best, and I can finally rest easy just knowing that at least someone will get the joy and happiness from that ring that I originally intended. I wish it could have been the woman I loved…but I learned the hard way that I’ll never buy a ring again.
Oh and after all she did to me (did you hear about the change incident where she barged in my house and left me a bag of $10 in pennies to pay for the remainder of the bills she owed me? I went public on Facebook with that, and it felt damn good, too) I receive an email from her.
I dont know if u got my text or not so I want to send this by email so I know you get it.
I just wanted to say I’m sorry for leaving you the change. I’m sorry I handled lots of things immaturely. I was so hurt and angry from the blog posts and what u emailed my family, that I acted out of anger and it was wrong. And I’m sorry.
And I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know how close you were to him, and I’m so sorry for your loss.
I really do wish you happiness and wish you the best in life. I know both of us were hurt and angered by lots of things But I hope we can put that behind us and move on with our lives.
I wish you all the best. Jess
Sorry I didn’t have a chance to respond, I was too busy burying my grandfather. Thanks for leaving me when I needed you most. Leave me alone for life.