Tuesday, April 16, 2013

15 Years Already? A Shout Out to my Pops

With my dad in 1978
I can't believe it's been 15 years since you passed away, dad. 15! I was 19 years old, it was April 16th, 1998.  You always said 16 was a lucky number because 1 + 6 equals 7... I remember because your first grandson Josh was born on the 16th a few years earlier and you had mentioned that. You know, Jess and I ended up getting married on the 16th for the same reason. :-)  (By the way I have a weird OCD number obsession thanks to you!)

I'll never forget that night. I was on my way home from the beach and wasn't in the mood to go to your house.  I hated seeing you sick.  My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to visit you and mom even though I didn't want to. I'm so glad he talked me into going.  I'm so grateful I was there when you passed, along with mom and Kevin.  Seeing you take your last breath and the look of peace on your face proved to me that you were going somewhere special. Mom told you to go to Grandma Hattie. I know that is who greeted you at the pearly gates!

Since that day you have given me many signs that you are OK.  Even kicking me in the butt while visiting your grave... it was a real kick, on my butt, and knew it was one of my brothers. When I turned around.. no one was behind me.  Or the eagle that always flies over when I think or talk about you. I can't even count how many times it's happened. We were on our boat last summer and "Knocking on Heavens Door" came on the radio. I mentioned to everyone that it was the song that we all cried to after you died.  As we were zooming along the river an eagle flew overhead as the song was almost over. And who can forget the eagle soaring over us the day I married Jesse.  Our family knew it was you. And the time I was telling Candice about the eagle while we were visiting your grave and wouldn't you know it, one flew over and made us squeal and get goosebumps. 

Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan

I can feel you around me all the time. I also know that my kids know you.  I think they were with you before they came to this earth to be with me.  The way they know you and understand you still stumps me to this day.  How did Will know that you used to imitate the cowardly lion?  He told me about you singing "if I were king of the forest" when he was 3 as we were watching the Wizard of Oz.  I had not told him about how you used to sing that song! And sometimes his mannerisms and the twinkle he gets in his eye remind all of us of you.  He wants to be a cop someday too, but I'm sure you already know that. When I told Will about Ellie's Down syndrome, he was fine with it but I could feel his worry. The next thing he said was "I wish Popeye was here".. I think he felt you around him, helping him to know that it's going to be OK.  

My parents. I love this pic!

At Lancaster Mall in Salem OR, 1982 maybe?

Senior prom, 1996

There's something cool about old grainy pictures from the 80's :-)


  1. I love hearing these stories. I feel the same about my dad, I can tell when he's around. sometimes in the middle of the night when I am feeding coop he starts laughing and looking over in the corner, I always say "are you laughing at papa hank?"...thinking of you today, its tough.

    p.s. today is bill and mines anniversary :),

    1. Nicole, I totally believe it! My kids have done the same thing :-) Kids have a connection to that stuff I think.
      That's awesome today is your guys' anniversary! Lucky #16!! :-) xoxo I hope you got to do something fun to celebrate.

  2. You seriously have a gift for writing my dear. This story in particular gave me serious goosebumps. I love your blog, and read every one of your powerful stories, I hope there are many many more to come. You inspire me :)

    1. Oh Maja you are too sweet! It's been a lot of fun writing this stuff down. I never knew I liked writing lol! Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it so much :-)

  3. What a beautiful story, thanks for sharing the memory of your dad. We lost my baby sister when I was young, and she still occupies a good part of my life. Your posts always make be feel and ponder, and I love that.