August 2014 archive

Harry, I Love You

There’s just something about a wizard named Harry. Whether he’s a boy with a scar working to save the world from He Who Must Not Be Named or he’s a leather-duster-wearing grown man working to save the world from a plethora of baddies, Harry has my heart. Both Harry Potter and Harry Dresden are powerful wizards in their own rights, and the authors who created these characters really know what they’re doing. The authors have created worlds, in which I continually want to revisit, and I crave a future installment just to further explore and live in that world.

Harry-Dresden-109720468548

Harry Dresden, a character created by Jim Butcher, begins as a wizard for hire in the beginning of Storm Front, the first book of the Dresden Files. Besides the compelling twists and turns and ups and downs throughout the series, readers keep returning because of Harry himself. He’s witty, he’s punny, and he’s uber intelligent, no matter what the baddies may say. He’s also downright handsome if you like the tall, dark, and lanky sort that has massive amounts of power literally at his fingertips. When facing a dark abyss of danger, he can always manage some wisecrack to the enemy like the following from Blood Rites:
Bobby with a scowl: “Who the hell are you?”
Harry: “I the hell am Harry.”
Bobby: “You always a wiseass?”
Harry: “No, sometimes I sleep.”
Besides the humorous witticisms, Butcher includes some philosophical tidbits as well. Again in Blood Rites, he writes “When kind men grow angry things are about to change.” The events of the books will make you love Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, and the rollercoaster plots that build like a supernatural Jenga will leave the reader breathless and impatient for the next installment. After finishing the latest book, Skin Games, that was released in May, I can barely wait for the sixteenth book entitled Peace Talks.

Harry Potter, like Dresden, is also a powerful wizard, though this fact was hidden from him until he was ten years old when the series starts with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J. K. Rowling’s genius thought up little Harry Potter and created the world of Hogwarts, muggles, and flying cars. Like the Dresden Files, these books build on each other and keep the reader entranced until the series ends with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As Harry matures so does Rowling’s writing, improving with each book. Whether this was planned or not, it’s an interesting growth to observe. I also love the way she intersperses the books with poignant wisdom, such as “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” as advised by Sirius Black or Albus Dumbledore’s gem “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Such great advice!

Despite the phenomenal world and the growing maturity throughout the series, my love for Harry Potter did waver throughout the series. As he reached the teenage years in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, his angst annoyed me. I found myself more intrigued by the supporting characters than Harry himself. This changed, though, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The series got darker and the danger became palpable. My love for Harry was back and stronger than ever. I sympathized, I cried, and I laughed my way through the rest of the series. I was devastated when I finished the seventh and final book as I had grown so attached to the world and characters. This series still remains my favorite to date, and I’ve started to re-read it (something I rarely do). Had it not been for Rowling’s mastery with creating her world and making it so believable, I may have given up when I hit Harry’s teenage angsty years. However, the world was enticing, and the story habit-forming. As there are no more books to be written within this series by Rowling, I will have to get my fix on the occasional story through Pottermore and simply enjoy the series as it is.

So, Harry, I love you. I love the world set in modern-day Chicago that Butcher created. I love the world of muggles and Hogwarts and Diagon Alley that Rowling created. But most of all, I love that these authors created characters that captured my heart.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore

“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find it to their own surprise that they wear it well.” – Albus Dumbledore

Bob Dresden

Oh Captain! my Captain! You Are Not What They Say.

I never thought the issue of depression would be such a polarizing topic. Robin Williams’s death has proven otherwise. He hanged himself to end his suffering from the disease of depression. Along with the countless sympathetic posts and stories, I have seen some pretty disgusting ones, calling Williams a coward (Fox News) and saying that he died from a choice not a disease (Matt Walsh). These comments sadden and anger me, and as I see them popping up, I pray that Williams’s family is somehow sheltered from these hateful words. Suicide is indeed a choice, especially from the outside eye. There is the choice to do it or not do it. However, depression can drive one so far into the dark that it may seem that suicide is the only option, completely obliterating the definition of “choice” and “option.” Depression makes the choice for you. To begin to comprehend suicide, consider the following quote: “depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to jump straight out of the burning building.” Williams did not hang himself out of spite or cruelty. He got tired of living in the room engulfed in flames. He got tired of depression whispered breath in his ear. And in the end, depression won and made this choice from him.

One in four adults (approximately 57.7 million Americans) struggle with mental illness in a given year. These can include the following: “major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.” We all know someone who is struggling, whether we consciously know it or have no idea about the silent battle a person is always waging. For me, I have people in my life that have struggled or are still struggling, and I have experienced it personally. In the last years of high school and beginning of college, I was depressed. I’m not talking about being sad for long periods of time. I’m talking about room-engulfed, can’t-catch-my-breath, hysterical-outbursts depression. Freshman year of college, I sat in my bathtub with a razor blade, feeling the water turn cold to chill my skin. Depression’s dark breath worked to convince me how much easier it would be to end it. The battle didn’t seem worth it. As I thought more and more about it, I realized I couldn’t run that blade down my wrists. Cutting was nothing new to me—the pain brought relief—but the terror of what was in store for me on the other side steadied my resolve to seek help instead of end it all. It was terrifying to seek help, to admit I was not perfect. With weekly meetings with my therapist and daily medication, I got better. I’m no longer on medication, but the memory of the dark is still there. I still feel its icy death grip occasionally, and hear its chilling voice in my ear. Now, though, I am cognizant of how much the future holds for me. It is worth the fight. It is worth the struggle.

I was lucky. Some people are not able to win the battle so easily. This is not a reflection on the person but on the disease. For some, the claws are dug down deeper. I have someone very dear to me that took a gun to his head, and with shaky hands, he put it down. I had another dear someone take the gun and pull the trigger…twice. Both were spiritual persons. Perhaps the only difference is that one sought help, or perhaps the length of the suffering played a part. Either way, both were courageous men to face what they faced in their lives. They were no cowards. I hope these people who are talking so negatively about Robin Williams never have suicide touch their lives, and I hope they do not learn what that room feels like as it’s engulfed in flames.

In many recent articles, blogs, and news reports, writers have asserted that Robin Williams died from a choice rather than a disease. I pose the question; did he not die from both? He chose to end his suffering after battling this disease for most of his life. I’m certain it was not a fleeting choice perpetrated on the spur of the moment. It was the only option he felt he had, and no one knows how many times he had wrapped that belt around his neck and decided not to do it before the final day. He could have continued the struggle, reaching out for help. One would think he had already done numerous times after coming out publicly about his fight with depression and drugs. Matt Walsh, a popular blogger, wrote the following: “To act like death by suicide is exactly analogous to death by malaria or heart failure is to steal hope from the suicidal person. We think we are comforting him, but in fact we are convincing him that he is powerless. We are giving him a way out, an excuse.” However, depression is a disease similar to malaria or heart failure. It does not always result in death, but it can. There are treatment methods. The only difference is that depression manifests internally. It is not like a pox that is evident to the naked eye splayed across the skin. It is a silent disease. Like alcoholism, it is a disease that will always be present. Some days it may be easier to not take that drink, but others are full of unquenchable desire. Some reach the point where they are tired of the treatment and reaching out and tired of not being able to take that drink. They decide to be vanquished because depression has made this choice for them. Is this the right choice? I don’t believe death is ever the right choice, but I also know one must be in a place of endless darkness to actually tie that rope and jump. Suicide is similar to someone succumbing to leukemia. It is a direct result of the disease of depression. Yet when someone refuses treatment for leukemia, we do not shame them. We do not shame someone who dies from almost any other disease. Why then do people feel the need to shame Robin Williams or anyone else who dies by his own hand?

Many of these writers, and even one news anchor, have said that Robin Williams is a coward, and one of the reasons is for leaving his family and friends to deal with his suicide. Walsh was disturbed by Williams’s “willingness to saddle [his] family with the pain and misery and anger that will now plague them for the rest of their lives.” It is indeed extremely difficult for those left behind. There are questions that will forever go unanswered, and a hole in one’s heart that will never again be filled by that person. However, from what I’ve read and know from my own experiences with the disease, these people do think of their families. There reaches a point where the grief their suicide will cause seems little to the burden they are currently saddling their loved ones with. They start to believe that they are acting in their loved ones’ best interest mainly because they are not worthy of their love. This is not true. No matter what loved ones are dealing with while a person with depression is alive, it does not compare to the grief and pain they are shackled with after that person’s passing. The disease of depression twists this fact, though.

Matt Walsh suggests that joy and love are the only things that defeat depression, not medication or therapy. He writes, “We can debate medication dosages and psychotherapy treatments, but, in the end, joy is the only thing that defeats depression. No depressed person in the history of the world has ever been in the depths of despair and at the heights of joy at the same time. The two cannot coexist. Joy is light, depression is darkness. When we are depressed, we have trouble seeing joy, or feeling it, or feeling worthy of it. I know that in my worst times, at my lowest points, it’s not that I don’t see the joy in creation, it’s just that I think myself too awful and sinful a man to share in it.” What Walsh does not understand is that true depression robs people of their ability to feel joy. They may observe it, but they have forgotten how to obtain it for themselves. Yes, they feel unworthy, awful, and sinful. However, it’s not a choice they make to not feel joy; depression withholds it from its sufferers.. Medication and psychotherapy help build a bridge back to joy. (Read more on depression and its treatments.) Perhaps what Mr. Walsh has experienced in his lowest points is what we all struggle with at some point—the very meaning of our existence. We have all felt at some point that we are unworthy, that we are awful, and that we are sinful or immoral. This is part of life. This is why we do things of worth, of use, and of grace. These feelings are normal, especially when we can still see joy and experience it. It is when joy is just a distant memory that can no longer be obtained when we have to worry. Again, it is not a choice to turn away from joy when saddled with depression.

Walsh further explains his belief that depression is not only a chemical imbalance, stating that it’s not clinical but rather spiritual. He elucidates, “But I don’t understand how theists, who acknowledge the existence of the soul, think they can draw some clear line of distinction between the body and the soul, and declare unequivocally that depression is rooted in one but not the other. This is a radically materialist view now shared by millions of spiritualist people.” He is attempting to persuade that depression is as much a spiritual ailment as a bodily ailment. Something is dark within the spirit to cause such darkness in the body. Walsh says that he is not saying depressed people lack religiosity or are automatically atheist; based on his rhetoric, he is saying that although you may be a spiritual person depression indicates that there is something wrong in your soul. Fix that, and you fix the depression. Let’s backtrack for a minute. When someone is sick with any disease, whether it’s depression, heart disease, leukemia, etc., it does impact the soul. The body and the soul are intertwined. The disease works on the soul as well. However, that someone has not done anything to bring on the disease. The effect that the disease is having on them physically, emotionally, and spiritually is not their fault. There is no deficiency within the soul to bring on the disease of depression. It is indeed a chemical imbalance of the body which, if you are a religious person, may affect the health of your soul solely because any battle weighs on the soul. It is NOT a deficiency of the soul that then causes the chemical imbalance within the body.

Walsh also wrote in his recent blog that worse than believing Williams died from a disease is the “fact that we seem to approach it with an attitude that nearly resembles admiration.” He explains that the language with which we are talking about his death resembles admiration. The Academy of Motion Pictures tweeted “Genie, you’re free,” and many others have said that now he is in a better place. Walsh asserts, however, that using rhetoric like this is as good as giving a suicidal person a gun. I do not agree. Firstly, this “glowing” rhetoric we are using regarding the death of Robin Williams is not for the dead. It is for the living. It consoles us. It’s an attempt to make the incomprehensible understandable. We are paying tribute to a man who touched our lives in so many ways and mourning not just his death but a world without him. We know he is free from his suffering with his disease. We also know that he made this last act absolute. No one knows with 100% certainty what the great beyond holds for us. One would have to be suffering unimaginably to choose this because uncertainty is terrifying. Would one turn to nothingness or even a white hot netherworld if suffering was endurable? Williams starred in What Dreams May Come. He contemplated the after-ness. Secondly, we are not admiring suicide or even the disease of depression. We may say “you are free” because scientifically we understand the suffering. By explaining suicide through the scientific terms of depression, we are simply explaining. We are not downplaying suicide; there are real reasons that lead to suicide. By talking about these we are hoping to encourage people to get help rather than turn to the ultimate absolute. It is not a hopeless disease that leaves one completely powerless. Doctors understand it now. There is treatment. There is help. Some people reach a point where suicide is the only option. We hope to reach people before they reach this point.

What it all comes down to is this. Suicide is tragic. It is a tragedy NOT a choice. There are ways to prevent it. There is help out there. But for those left behind after a suicide, do not let your words become daggers that stab an already wounded heart. Do not call their loved one a coward that made a choice instead of a person who suffered from a disease. The people left behind were loved and appreciated. The person who took his life knew he was loved. Depression won this battle, though.

For Robin Williams, you are already missed in our household. I grew up watching Mrs. Doubtfire every time I would visit my grandparents in Omaha. My brother’s first trip to the movie theater was to see Aladdin. My brother and I would pretend to fly after every viewing of Hook, and we bought the game Jumanji to try to act out the movie. I’ve seen Dead Poet’s Society numerous times and have shared it with countless students. I will cherish every laugh he gave and every time he lifted the spirits within our household.

O Captain! my Captain! your fearful trip is done.
After every heart who watched your art, is now forever won.

If you’re suffering with depression, don’t keep silent. Reach out. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and visit this website.

Country, Why Have You Changed?

I grew up listening to country music. We stayed mostly in the South, even though my dad was in the military, so it was kind of a requirement to listen to country. Even now driving home to South Georgia, the radio stations change to predominantly country, permeating the car with honky-tonk. It’s my father’s favorite music genre, the only music my maternal grandpa knew existed, and the genre my paternal grandpa rocked out to in his later years. So why have I had such an issue listening to it recently?

When I get into my car, in which only the radio works for music, I never tune into a country station. I have one in my presets, but I haven’t touched it for almost three years. I hadn’t realized how I had grown to dislike it so much until I was at a physical therapy appointment, and I had to ask them to change the music from country to the rock classics they normally played. I surprised myself by this. The therapist asked why I disliked country, and I was at a lost. I mumbled out how I was just burnt out on it from listening to it as a child so much, but I was bothered. I still listened to my Sugarland, Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert, Shania Twain, and Martina McBride tracks on my iPod, but instead of instantly going for the country station and keeping up with the top 20 songs as I once did, I realized that I hadn’t listened to country on purpose for years. Why?

The answer came a few days later. One of the pages I like on Facebook posted an article on Maddie & Tae’s new song “Girl in a Country Song.” These female artists that are somewhat new to the scene of country music explain how they don’t want to be a girl in a country song. They’re tired of the “painted-on cut-off jeans” and bikini tops. They’re tired of being called girl, honey, sugar, and baby. They’re not about to shake their moneymaker or give you “some of that.” They miss the days of Conway Twitty and George Strait. And what woman can blame them? “Bro Country” has taken over the music scene in Nashville, and the misogyny is running rampant. (“Bro Country” refers to the most popular country artists today and include Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Lee Brice.)

In country music today, few women are ever called women. They are called “girl” no matter the age of the singer or the subject. This is a problem for many reasons, one of which being how the woman of interest is being infantilized. Gross! There are also many songs that objectify women by not talking about the female as a whole. Instead, like many advertisements, females are known by body parts alone. Lyrics are filled with “sun-tanned legs” and “moneymakers,” and don’t even get me started on how many music videos only show body parts or focus on specific body parts of their scantily clad females. This is also a problem for many reasons, including the fact that this is dismembering women even if it is figuratively. Prevalent themes of country music include getting females drunk and/or taking them for a drive on secluded country roads. Does that sound eerily like rape? For more on this, please read this article. Amy McCarthy does a much better job of explaining these issues within Bro Country and explains these in more detail.

So I realized one of the main reasons I had turned away from country was the lyrics and how these had somehow turned to objectifying and sexualizing women. However, I also realized a big reason for this lack of interest was the fact that there are not as many female country artists. According to the article referenced above, “in the last 10 years, only ten percent of No. 1 country hits were performed by women, a 14 percent drop from the 1990s.” Charts are no longer being topped by artists like Faith Hill and Reba McIntyre. Bro Country has taken over, and its objectification of women is clearly hurting the female artists as well as the listeners. There were only three solo female artists in the top 20 on GAC when I checked this morning, and that’s a shame. I buy a lot of music, and when it comes to country, I like female artists better. It’s not because I dislike male artists; it’s simply because I buy country music in order to sing to it. Female artists are easier for me to sing along with, not to mention their song lyrics are usually more female-friendly for my feminist ears.

If it wasn’t for a CD of songs my father recently made and gave me that includes many country hits we all used to listen to, I probably would have let this issue slide, chalking it up to it’s just another music genre where women are not seen as important. However, the CD changed things. I remembered how much I used to love country music, sometimes just driving around longer to finish a song or listen to the radio longer with no one to pester me about it. I miss those days. I miss the days of Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Rascal Flatts. The days when women and young girls (in the true sense of the word) could hear about love as being more than just sex. Until the tide changes in the country arena, though, I will cleave to my Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Reba McIntyre albums and will try to find solace in the newer songs of Maddie & Tae, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood. I have not given up on country music yet, but I’m skeptical of where it will go.

I wanted to include this music video that was quite controversial at the time but much needed.

Love this music video and the role reversals of the females and males!

Growing Love and Learning Through Love

Reflecting on the Year We’ve Had:

I recently celebrated my fourth anniversary with my husband. It has been a crazy summer for us both. A few weeks after the miscarriage, we traveled to Arkansas to visit my father and his family. I found out my stepfather’s gallbladder surgery was moved up, so not even a full 24 hours after getting back home in Georgia, I left for the Savannah area to be with my family for that. While there, I found out my grandfather in Omaha had passed. I drove back up to the Atlanta area to quickly wash my clothes and pack. Not even a full 24 hours after arriving home, my brother and I left for Omaha. My husband was unable to go to Savannah or Omaha due to starting a new job on the day I left for Savannah, so we hadn’t really seen each other for about two weeks and hadn’t had actual alone time (except for driving to and from Arkansas) for three weeks. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions these past three months. These may have created some issues for others, but for us, these tribulations have brought us closer together.

That’s not to say this hasn’t been a tough year. Shortly after our third anniversary, I found out I had plantar fasciitis, and that ordeal began which led to my surgery in January. My foot is still not back to normal, and I’m in physical therapy for it twice a week. This is nothing compared to the miscarriage on June 24th, but it’s still a constant bother. I can no longer exercise as intensely as I was a year ago, I have trouble walking for long distances and pay for it later, and to be honest, I can turn into a bear when I’m not feeling well. My husband has always supported me, both figuratively and literally, throughout this trial, and without him, recovery would have been nearly impossible.

With all of this, one would think this was the most difficult year of marriage. It wasn’t. We grew closer together perhaps because of these tribulations. We found that instead of pulling apart, we cleaved to each other. We grew a new kind of love for one another, the kind of love full of patience and compassion when one is sick. I realize everything this year could have been a lot worse. Plantar fasciitis isn’t that big of a deal. A miscarriage happens to one in three pregnancies. I am grateful we were not faced with more difficult medical issues. And although I know it could have been a lot worse medically, I am also aware that it could have been a lot worse emotionally had I not had Hans through everything. He was there when I needed to cry or bitch or mourn. He was there to make me laugh when I was feeling like the crust on the bottom of the barrel. He was my rock that kept the household going when I couldn’t leave the bed. He is patient, kind, and loving. He is the perfect man for me, and I hope I can be as good a wife to him as he is a husband to me.

My Struggle as a Wife:

I still struggle as a wife, though. I’ve had a few failed relationships and some even abusive relationships. It took a while for me to see my worth as a person and as a woman. My feminism I touted in my teenage years had been wiped out by some very nasty men, and to be honest, I allowed this to happen in most cases. I didn’t stand up for myself because I failed to see my own importance. I didn’t allow this to go on for long, though. I turned my back on relationships for two years and focused on getting myself right. When I was working on myself, becoming the person that I wanted to be and that I would want to date (because how can we find a good person if we are not a good person first), I found Hans. He was the type of man to turn me back to relationships. He was, and still is, quiet and compassionate. He doesn’t raise his voice in anger, and he has patience in most everything. In short, he was the opposite of me and just what I needed. In turn, I showed him what it meant to have a voice in the important things, to love the nerdy side of himself when others in the past had not, and to make time for himself. We balanced each other out and still continue to do that today.

However, I did struggle with what it meant to be a feminist while still wanting to be a good wife. It helps that Hans is a big believer in women’s rights and finds most of what I find appalling upsetting as well. He dislikes the lack of strong women in video games, he hates the sexualization of women in advertising, and he abhors laws limiting the rights of women specifically. With all this, though, I found myself struggling with what it meant to be a good wife. Add to that the Christian layer I had been taught that a wife is a “help-mate” to her husband. The husband comes first and foremost and makes the decisions. Perhaps that’s how some marriages work. For me, though, I could not take second chair. I was now a strong, independent woman, and getting married could not tame these characteristics. We were either going to be equal partners or nothing at all. And surprisingly, this was fine with Hans. Why then did I struggle with it so much? Every meal I made or load of laundry I did, I had to ask myself if I was doing this just because it was a wife’s duty. I shouldn’t have been so worried because Hans helped with the housework and even made meals as well, but I had trouble reconciling the two roles of feminist and wife.

How did this change? Over time and through a lot of reflection. I began to realize that I did a lot of the stereotypical duties of the wife because I had been doing them when I lived alone. They came naturally to me, and in a weird way, I enjoyed doing them. I enjoyed having the house clean, I enjoyed cooking dinner to have it appreciated, but most of all, I enjoyed making things easier for Hans. He doesn’t expect me to clean the house, to wash his clothes, or to make him meals. Perhaps this lack of expectation is what motivates me to do these things. I believe most of us are rebels at heart, so the very fact that Hans never tells me to do anything makes it easier for me to actually do things. The moment a man tells me to do something is the moment it will never get done. Hans doesn’t give me orders and doesn’t expect things. We work as a loving partnership. Because of this, I will continue to make his coffee for the morning, I will not feel less of a feminist for making him breakfast before he goes to work, and I will not feel guilty when I enjoy having a clean house for him as well as for me. Who knew it would take a man to teach me how to be a better woman? But what a man he is!

Others’ Blessings on Our Marriage:

As I mentioned, this has been a tough year, and our family and friends know it. They’ve seen us and listened to us as we went through rough times. They’ve watched us succeed in a marriage, being stronger together, even when the world was relentless. And we’ve been blessed by the people around us. We’ve been made stronger because of the support of those around us. Thank you to our family and friends for the support through the surgery, the miscarriage, and the death of my grandfather. Thank you for the wonderful gifts given to us from paying and planning our anniversary meal at Seed Kitchen & Bar in Marietta to gifts of love to help us celebrate our anniversary to listening to Hans or me when we needed a friend to talk to or shoulder to cry on to reading this blog and commenting on the blog itself, through Facebook, through text, or face to face. We appreciate each and every one of you and know that our lives are blessed even more by having people like you in them. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And to repeat a sentiment that I mentioned above, I hope I am as good a friend to you as you have been to me.

A Man Who Impacted the World

If hope is the thing with feathers, death is the thing with claws. It bloodies the people around it and demands attention, knowing no time or boundaries. It is a rude entity and expensive venture. It is a lonely endeavor. There is no eventual escape as it eventually claims all. It is the one constant in life. It is an idea that permeates every culture and every religion. There are so many flowery verses and poems to help us cope with death, but what it all comes down to is death is a bitch. No matter the manner of dying, death is a nasty beast for those left behind. It claws at the heart, leaving a hole filled by grief.

However, a life is not determined by its death. How people respond to one’s death is a measure of one’s life. Did people travel from all around to mourn? Are there tears along with laughter and hugs? Is there reminiscing of the good times that lasts into the night? Is there toasting of beer to a man who will not be forgotten?

My grandfather recently passed, and my brother and I went to Omaha to mourn his passing. My grandfather, whom I lovingly called Pop-Bob, was a great man. He was a flawed man but a genuine man. He swore like a sailor and loved with his whole heart. He taught lessons and carved out time for those around him. With his passing, the family came together not just to mourn him but to celebrate him. His three kids made the trip to Omaha, as well as all his grandchildren. We enjoyed seeing one another and having a beer or three on our grandfather’s behalf. At the viewing and funeral, numerous friends from ages past showed up. He was loved because he loved, and it showed.

Thank you, Pop-Bob, for teaching me how to play Ms. Pac-Man and for schooling me at Spider-Man pinball. Thank you for teaching me how to build a snowman and how to sled down massive hills. Thank you for taking me to the Omaha Zoo no matter the weather. Thank you for showing me what a marriage should look like and how a woman should be respected through my grandmother Sue-Sue. Thank you for being such a presence in my life growing up. Thank you for loving me. You will be missed.

Pop Bob and Me Pop Bob, Sam and Me