My kids are all asleep, and husband is in the philippines. which means i have a very quiet house minus the animals attacking my garbage cans outside my office window. I have been up late packing for an unexpected trip. On thursday morning I will be taking the kiddos to Nevada, where we will meet up with husband and attend my father-in-laws funeral on friday. He passed away yesterday – on May 21st. Technically, he had a stroke that caused serious damage. But mostly, it was the end of a health battle that had gone on over the past few years.

When you receive a phone call with bad news – first, someone is calling who you don’t usually hear from – or, they call late – or, there is a pause immediately in the beginning of the phone conversation and whichever one of these happens. you know. i received the first call like this on sunday evening, and have been reflecting on our papa’s life ever since.

Alexander Forbes a.k.a. papa was an extraordinary man. Tall. Strong. In my memories he’s always wearing a white or black track suit. He was mr. Vegas – with style and a beautiful head of white hair. I met him on my very first official date with my husband. At the time i was living in Cedar City and attending Southern Utah University. Dusty asked me to meet him in St. George where he was playing in a mens fast pitch softball tournament with Alexander. I showed up, met Alex, and was instantly impressed with the mans athletic ability for his age! At the time he was 57 years old, and was playing baseball just as good as all the twenty-somethings on the field. He was kind, jovial, and competitive.

My husband didn’t grow-up with Alexander, he was raised by a Step-Dad who was another great man. Yet, over the years as I came to know Alexander – it was fascinating to see how similar Dusty and Alexander were knowing they didn’t spend any time together as Dusty was growing up. Those Forbes genes are mighty fierce! These two handsome men shared an interest in entertaining – always the life of the party, wherever they are. I’ve never known anyone else who could become best friends with strangers quicker than these two. They both sing in the shower, sing around the house, sing in the car, sing to everyone around them. They share an unparalleled competitiveness that could sometimes use a little bridling. ::smiles:: They have a common interest in entrepreneurial business. They both share a deep appreciation for the opposite sex. ha! I could guarantee you that if you were with either of these men, you are having a good time. It’s as simple as that.

Husbands step-Dad died over seventeen years ago, and his mom died a few years ago, and now his real father has passed away. There is a certain sense of orphan-ness that settles in my soul when thinking about this. We all keep the family lines going with our own children, and yet we have such legacies to carry when the torch is passed. Because my own father has also died, I think i’ve held myself together pretty well this week. Yet, our kids have had consistent moments of tears and heartache. We had been planning to have our papa visit us in Boston soon, and they feel disappointed that that trip will not happen. As i’ve tried to explain to them that papa was so full of life, that he lived every minute with zeal, he would not want us to be unhappy – he would want us to remember his joy. remember his teasing nature. He would want us to rejoice in the beauty of life,  work hard – play hard – and most specifically, to be winners. ::wink::

The thing i keep thinking about the most, is a print Alex gave us a few years ago in our last home. There is a picture of an ivory bone and in Maori it says:

Kotahi te Koowhao o te ngira,
e kuhuna ai te miro maa,
te miro pango, te miro whero.
I muri, kia mau ki te aroha,
ki te ture, me te whakapono.

the translation is:

There is but one eye of the needle through
which the white, black, and red threads
must pass. After I am gone, hold fast to
the love, to the law and to the faith.

– Pootatau Te Wherowhero

This framed print hangs near our front door, and as if Papa knew what was ahead – we will hold fast to the love.

you can read Alexander’s obituary here.

More posts with our papa here, and here, and here.

{photos by me.}

14 responses to “Papa

  1. wow baby… you wrote it all up so nicely. you are amazing.. just as he always said… you are truly amazing! now tears…

  2. Jane-you have such a talent to express your feelings through writing. I was so touched by your tribute to your father-in-law and it helps me really put into perspective what is important in life. I wish you well traveling with your kids and send my condolences to your entire family.

  3. i remember him at grandparent day so well!! he is ONE handsome man! i love how he was the life of the party, totally DUSTY!! How awesome to have left such a beautiful Maori legacy through your children. They have such an beautiful look to them.

    big hugs and lots of loves from the Taylors!

  4. The world has lost a truly dynamic man–one we feel honored to have know even just a little. We’re praying for your family. Hugs.

  5. I’m sorry for your loss. Your words here are so beautiful. Safe travels and may the sadness in your hearts be lightened by the joy in remembering him.

  6. Very touching tribute to your father-in-law. It is very obvious that love runs deep in your family.

  7. So sorry to hear about Dusty’s Dad. He sounds like he was a wonderful man and it is so awesome that he was a part of your lives. It will be 8 years on the 29th since my Dad passed away. I miss him terribly every day, but I am constantly reminded of all the wonderful things I love about it him. Safe travels to you all!

  8. thanks for sharing this post. I know how hard it is to express painful things on a blog… I have found a lot of healing this way on mine. Of course, he would want you to remember the happy and good…(it’s easier said than done). It sounds like he was so full of life! Remember, he still is around your darling family.

  9. Jane your message is so beautiful! I’m so glad that u are there for my buddy Dusty’s good times and bad…I to have lost my parents this journey will bring u even closer and make him even a stronger man! He is truly blessed with u and his kiddos! Hugs

  10. Jane and Dusty,
    I have not been online for months and was saddened to read about the passing of your papa! I will never forget having the opportunity of meeting him when we were all still in Provo. He was so kind, gentle, and had the BEST smile. May you and your darling family find peace.
    All our love,
    Matt, Jesicca and Kade

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