Two weeks ago, after a spectacular mountain bike ride with friends through the San Juan National Forest on a new trail we helped build, we were greeted with multiple text messages and later calls that Kayla’s paternal grandfather passed away. Why post about loss, especially since we haven’t posted in some time? We have been living our life, adjusting to living in our new home, with our new commute, still getting out, traveling for fun, family and work, and unfortunately being “somewhat busy,” which I feel is a terrible excuse for not reaching out or communicating. The news of the loss, hurt us both very deeply because of the love and passion he had for life and for cheering on Kayla. Two weeks later, we are back to our life, but we still feel the space that he left. We can only speak to our relationship with him, the man we knew and hope to memorialize a little of the spirit that we were fortunate to have had in our life.
Kayla’s grandfather, Lamar, was a man who lived his life so fully, his cup absolutely overflowed. He lived so big, that sometimes the fall was hard, but that is the human condition, and he didn’t let himself stay down for long. He knew all that was good and sweet, as well as all that was hard and dirty. Stories of his youth and young adulthood were filled with rodeo, honkey-tonks and reckless adventure, then he progressed to worldly adventure, then to living and working hard, rekindling lost relationships and building new and lasting ones. Although he never lived close, he has always been a presence in Kayla’s life since she was born, through quick visits, longer trips to visit, phone calls, and text messages, he always expressed his love and excitement for Kayla’s life. Since, he lived so passionately, it made him so happy to see Kayla chasing life, not despite her medical conditions, but because of the joy she gained from these pursuits. It just tickled him that she was mountain biking, climbing mountains, exploring long-lost desert canyons, rafting wild rivers, and still being herself, and discovering herself, in nature and outside of nature. He was the one grandparent that didn’t tell her to be careful, but applauded her more when the adventure was a little more serious. He was always on the top of her must call list after any adventure! They would sit on the phone for hours recounting her adventures and misadventures, all while he imparted some sage advise from his life.
Thank you Lamar. Thank you for being a big part of Kayla’s life. Thank you for being a cheerleader for her, but also for one for me, as I navigate parenthood and life. I promise that I will always be there to help Kayla dream big, but most importantly to live, to live with passion and excitement about every adventure, even the simple ones. Our hearts break with our loss on earth, but one day, we hope to meet up again and exchange crazy adventure stories. You will always hold a special place in our heart and will think of you after every adventure. We love you so damn big, Lamar. Gosh, darn.
For everyone else, loss is part of the adventure. Make sure you tell those you love, how much you love them. Return those missed calls. Or, make a point to reach out. Tomorrow may be too late.
The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even though it is vast and empty and untouchable – and knows no kindness with all its beauty. -Georgia O’Keeffe
My grandpa Lamar was one of the greatest men I ever knew, for many reasons, but mostly because he loved me so much. I still remember calling him after the first time I went snowboarding, he was so happy knowing that I was getting out and trying new things. After, I climbed my first 14er and did a winter rafting trip, he was the first to know. He was always encouraging me to get outside and be active, and was excited about how I was doing in school. I do miss him, but I know he is still cheering me on.