rest in peace pops

Ohana Photographers San Diego California

since we started our blog i don’t think we’ve ever gone nearly 2 months without posting something so i thought i should let those of you who don’t already know what happened, know what happened.

shortly after our anniversary we were told that kim’s dad, who had battling cancer and an ever weakening heart, was given only weeks to live. we literally dropped everything we were doing and spent every possible moment by his side for the following days.

they were some of the most difficult days in all of our lives.

wanting to be in his own home and on his own terms, pops chose home hospice over a hospital room. he never did like being in hospitals, or going to see a doctor for that matter. i’m not sure if it was just his thick skull or the fact that he had the highest pain threshold of anyone i have ever known. either way, it was his stubbornness to see a doctor when his symptoms first began that led directly to his prostate cancer being inoperable. what is it about that generation and their fear of hospitals? my dad is the same way. ( putting soapbox away now. )

i have to say it was a bit surreal watching pops’ bedroom being turned into a makeshift hospital room. they brought in a motorized bed, a wheelchair, an oxygen machine, and various other supplies, all of which were meant to offer some measurable amount of comfort during his final days.

pops was ok for the first few days… walking around his house with a walker, talking with everyone, eating, watching movies. but then his illness began to progress faster than any of us could possibly prepare for it. we could see him weakening almost by the hour. one day he stopped eating, the next he stopped walking, then he stopped drinking. within a span of 4 days he was bed ridden and unable to speak or open his eyes. offering all the love and support we possibly could, we watched helplessly as he endured unimaginable pain. the last day he spoke was the hardest for us to witness. it was terrible seeing him in that much pain. although his body and mind were physically shutting down, his will to live was not.

he fought death as if it were a choice.

whenever he would lay down the pain in his spine was so intense that he would grasp the handrail on his bed and pull himself back upright to sit on the edge of the bed. he did this repeatedly, so much so that he wore small tears in the paper thin flesh on his right arm. all of our efforts did little to comfort him. ultimately, pain gave way to sheer exhaustion. having no strength left, a sort of serenity took over his body. for nearly 2 days his body was still, the only movement he made was the rise and fall of his chest with every labored breath. the only sounds in his room were the humming of an oxygen machine, and his ever worsening “death rattle.”

the last day i spent with him i played some of his favorite old country and bluegrass music. at the end of “El Paso”, one of his favorite songs, i saw his eyelids rise as if to follow the pitch of the song. i said my goodbyes to him a few songs after that. later that night he left us.

obviously, kim and i, along with the rest of his family have taken his passing extremely hard. of all of our parents, he was the first to pass. every day since then has had it’s ups and downs. it has definitely been a learning experience. we are slowly trying to get everything back to as normal as possible. we do apologize for neglecting our communications and we are extremely grateful for all the support and understanding you all have given us during this extremely difficult time. thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. you mean more to us than we can possibly express. we feel very blessed to know you all.

i’ll be posting more about pops soon, but i wanted to get this up just so everyone would know what’s been going on.

until then, here’s one of our favorite shots of pops. he’s walking with his mom after he graduated from Navy boot camp in san diego. we love the vintage cracker jacks Navy dress blue uniform! we know he’s probably smiling this same smile now that he is walking with his mom again. we miss you dad and grandma.

Donald Dale Ross walks in his 1949 US Navy dress blue cracker jack uniform with his mom after graduating Navy boot camp in San Diego

Donald Dale Ross with his family in San Diego California

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my condolences (hugs). thank you for sharing, hard to read without tears, love the photos of pops, blessings to you all

:'( this broke my heart. love to you guys.

thinking of you all.. I am sorry for your loss.. know that you are in my heart and mind..

So glad you guys are back. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with this. Losing a loved one is so incredibly difficult. I adore that picture, she looks so proud of him. Many love and blessings to you and I pray that you find comfort knowing he’ll always be with you in your heart.

tears in my eyes, lump in my throat. love you!

Such a touching post, brought me to tears.
Cancer sucks :(
I hope you can all find peace as time passes.

This was very nicely done and Don would be proud! Rene & I really miss him – the lake is not the same nor is our daily coffee at Panera without him.

This brought tears to this old sailors eyes. Don was a good friend. He and I were shipmates in VF 213.
The next time you guys get together have a beer for Don and me.
Don always kept me posted on April, I would like to hear how she is doing if you have time, I have a granddaughter the same age and we liked to brag on them.

I’m sobbing. The photos are so precious. I wish I had more pictures with my grandparents. ((HUGS)) to you guys and praying for you during this time of healing.

He had such kind eyes. I know he was loved dearly by all of you and I’m so sorry for your loss. Cancer really blows.
Thinking of all of you as you work your way through the muddy waters of grief.

Tears. Beautifully said. love you guys, prayers continue

Oh David, as I read through this I knew exactly what the journey was like for you. Seven months after losing my Dad I’m just starting to heal, it takes time and grief is different for everyone. Nothing, absolutely nothing can prepare you for losing a parent, even though we all know it will sadly happen to all of us. The moment it does happen the finality of it really hits hard. I still cry for my father, for the memories that we won’t have together. So, it is with that knowledge and understanding that I say to you and Kim, my biggest sympathies to you all. Please tell Kim that I hope she is okay, and if she’s not it is alright to let everything else go. Take care, Cath xxx

thinking of all of you. love the photos, what an adorable man. lots of love and continuous thoughts.

i am so sorry for your loss and am thinking of you during this difficult time. i just love these pics. much love.

I’m sure this comment won’t make any sense because I’m crying and when I cry, I don’t think straight. But I just wanted to let your families know that I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what this must feel like and please know that I am sending positive thoughts and hugs your way.

When I was young – I used to cry thinking about losing one of my parents… I never told anyone. I’d just cry and know that it’s not something I needed to worry about back then. Tragically we experienced that loss last year July – when Tara’s mom passed away about the same way your Pops did… Cancer – but at Hospice. taking hold of her… she didn’t want to go. She fought it as well. I was there… holding her hand that night as her last breath was taken. It’s hard… and I dearly miss her as you do him. I understand that grief and pain and my prayers are specific for your Ohana. I still cry about it … and I’m sure I still will in the years to come. You make me want to remember to call MY Mom and Dad… just to say I love you today.

Blessings to you and your family today. XOxoxoXO… //enoch

such a beautiful tribute. i can’t imagine the pain you are feeling. i am so very sorry for your loss, so very thankful you had that time together. may your pops rest in peace, love and prayers to you and your family~

My heart goes out to you and the entire family. I pray that God gives you the strength to deal with such a huge loss. This is painful but he lives on and so does the great memories.

Even though I kinda knew what was going on pre-blog post, I am in MAJOR tears right now. Again, I am so so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your description of the home-turned-hospital room brought me right back to the 16 year old me , watching my dad hooked up to monitors in a hospital bed in our living room. And all of the ups and downs we watched him go through during his 14 month battle with cancer. It honestly has to be one of the worst things that some one would have to go though, and it breaks my heart that you guys had to go through it too. Kimi, please do not hesitate to call if you ever want to talk. It has been a while since my dad passed, but I know that every time there is any kind of problem, I always feel like it would all be better if he were here. I know its a big hole that makes you feel so empty , and it will for a long time. Baxter fam, I love you guys lots, Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help at all! :)

I am so sorry for your loss. I remember you talking about him a while ago, and how he was ill, and how much your love for him was so clear and strong.

I am sorry you will miss him and my heart goes out to your family. I am thinking of you during this difficult time.

Much love and peace to you all.

Ohana’s, I didn’t read this until today. I am SO sorry to hear of your loss, and a loss to CANCER. Errrrrrrr…..we lost my Mother in Law, from Stomach Cancer, about 5 yrs ago. I feel she was robbed from getting to know her 1st grandchild from her son. The last picture, is BEAUTIFUL. The girls got to get to know their Grandfather.

David & Kim — I hope you are both doing well. I can only imagine how hard this must be. Be well and embrace time for yourself. How it goes by all too fast.

I have so many fond memories of this beautiful family! “Dad”, Mr. Ross was always so amazing. Have memories of him listening to baseball games sitting in his garage on his radio., Taking us to see the Kings play at the forum, lending his knowledge of bodywork to the ‘race machines’,cruising around in his Austin Healey (that I Believe was from family). I just want to share in his passing that I will never forget this great man and I thank everyday he made me feel welcome in his crazy but loving family of his! God Bless the Ross’…Forever a fan Tricia…Love to all the Ross Family!

[…] is her first birthday that we will not be able to celebrate with her father. as many of you know, pops passed away in june. he is dearly missed. not a day goes by that we don’t think of him, especially days like […]