Sunday, October 8, 2017

In Memoriam

How do we handle loss? We’ve all felt it ourselves, or stood next to it, or watched it unravel the lives of strangers. But what do we do with it? Where do we put it?

In several of my classes this year (2018) and last (2017), we read Amy Waldman’s 2011 novel, The Submission, a book that examines the depths of loss and the tensions that arise in attempting to acknowledge and contain it. The setup for the book is pretty simple: it’s two years after 9/11, and a committee has been formed to select a winner for a nationwide contest to design a memorial to those killed in the attacks. It’s a blind competition, so no one knows anything about the designers until one is selected. The committee chooses the winning design, and the designer is revealed. His name is Mohammad Khan, and he’s a Muslim. Naturally, controversies unfold and lives are damaged--some irrevocably.

Amidst these controversies, several issues emerge, and our discussions have tried to address all of them. For the purposes of this post, I want to focus on two: the complexities of public memory and the purpose of memorials. Khan’s design—a garden laid out according to rigid geometry—is meant as a public monument that will contain and reflect the personal memories and emotions of those affected. But given the plurality (and sometimes cross-purposes) of these memories and the racial tensions in our society, the difficulties of this task become too much to overcome.

And yet, these characters need to remember the dead, to offer some memorial to them, to gain closure and begin to heal. In one scene, near the end, a character honors his dead father by placing a small stone cairn in the corner of a garden. Waldman writes, “With a pile of stones, he had written a name.” The gesture is minor but meaningful. It is, in fact, the only real act of memorializing in a 300-plus page book about a memorial.

To connect more closely with the spirit of this character’s act, I decided that my students and I should create a memorial of our own—one that would be both individual and collective. So I bought a couple of bags of river rock at Lowe’s, hauled them to class in a bucket (nearly dislocating my shoulder in the process), and asked each student to take a few and place them somewhere on campus in memory of a family member, friend, or pet. After they found their spot and “wrote a name with a pile of rocks,” they took a picture and sent it to me with the name of the person memorialized. The rocks were meant to transform our campus into a group memorial comprised of individual acts of remembrance. And because people or weather or time will undoubtedly unstack these rocks, the pictures were meant to make permanent our memorial (as only the Internet can).

So here I present the memorial created by my Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 “Introduction to Literature” and “Critical Thinking through Literature” classes, a collection of pictures, stones, names, and stories (these appear down in the “Comments” section of this post):

Barbara Ann Neely

Andrea Nunez


Milo Fantone

Grandma Kiki

Rodolfo De La Torre

Chase Butterbean Robertson

Grandma Susanne

Martin Lopez

Thomasa Butler

All the Victims of School Shootings

Oscar Sotelo

Corporal Adam Wolff

Grandma Eunice

Art Vogel

Teresita Lozaro

Danita Raminha

Dwayne Drakeford

Michael Kahl

Nancy Carrol Nolan

Grandpa Bill

Grandpa Daniel


Nicacio Carapia

Jesus Gutierrez

Eileen Bender

Caliope Diacantaonis

Barbara Maple

Denise Delossantos


Joseph Tamborelli

Haley Knoll

Elton Gregory Joseph

Virgilio Lopez

Barbra Racheck

Uncle Mike

Jesus Hernandez

Byeonghyeon Min

Cliff Wenzlick

Daniela Pereyda, Francisco Malfavon, and Muffy

All the people I can't forget

Anna Marie and Porter Meisland


Burl Dean Ellis




Darrell Von Driska


Kitty Hart



John Gillmore



Doug Durrant (1st)
Doug Durrant (2nd)

Homero Perez

Carlos Preciado

Martin and Kai

Lexi Dale

Mina Sabeghi


Rajih Maida and Menum Barakat

Aunt Chansey

Adrian Avila

Ralph Richter


Rosa Garcia

Mike Kinsella

Gerald M. Bloomfield II


Olivia McClellan

Thomas Zielinski

Thomas Versaci



Ernesto Edraisa


Garland Ayers

Richard Peterson (Grandpa Pete)

Joy Smith


Brendon Arce


Victims of the Las Vegas shooting (1st)

Victims of the Las Vegas shooting (2nd)


  1. My memorial is in honor of my father, Thomas Versaci, who passed away this past January at the age of 91. I've written about my father before, most extensively in my book, "That Hidden Road," so in the interest of not repeating myself, I'll say this: he was born in New York, went to World War II, and came home to get married, have two sons, and work hard to give them a good life. He was unfailingly honest and loved his wife, sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. I can't listen to a Frank Sinatra song or watch a baseball game or sit at my office desk without thinking of him. I set up my memorial in a place that I pass by every day that I'm at work and that I can see from my third-floor office window. Rest in peace, Dad.

  2. This memorial is in honor of my grandfather, Darrell Von Driska. My grandpa passed away in 2014, at the age of 74 from cancer. He graduated from Hemet High School where he played football all four years of his high school career. He then continued to play ball at University of La Verne. Once he obtained his degree, he went back to his home town of Hemet and coached football for the Bulldogs until the day he passed away. He devoted every afternoon and every fall Friday night to be on the field, even after his retirement. That field is now named "The Von Driska Field". People liked to call him "Mr.Hemet". He always had the best stories and knew how to make everyone laugh. I will always cherish his stories, and will always be inspired of the impact he made on so many people. I will remember him everyday when I walk pass this memorial.

  3. My memorial is to honor a friend who was more like an aunt to me. She was one of the few who genuinely showed interest in my future for school, always encouraging me with uplifting words. It will be a year since she passed last December 24, 2016. It's surreal that she's even gone. She was a wonderful mother to four amazing children, and 19, 14, 9, and 6 year old. Know for her strong and kind personality, Rosa worked at a rehabilitation center, where she touched many lives along the way. She also touched many lives in her volunteer service as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Her dedication to study and live by God's word the Bible was something she was known for. She made sure that everyone knew, whether they wanted to listen or not, what she had learned over the years. It was also a top priority of hers to instill the same passion and love she had for God in her children's heart. It's funny. Even if someone didn't want to listen, she had this contagious energy about her that made you want to listen to her. Rosa knew that one day there will be a resurrection hope for all those who have passed her on Earth. In fact, one of her favorite scriptures was Rev. 21:4 where it reads, "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning not outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." This scripture is also what keeps me looking towards the future, and I can't wait to embrace my aunt once again.

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  5. My memorial is dedicated to my best friend that passed away a little over a month ago. She was an FIU student living in Miami on her way to her freshman orientation when she was struck by a car crossing the street. Her name was Lexi Dale, and in lieu of writing about her, I've copied the letter I wrote from when I spoke at her memorial:

    We met in 6th grade and I'm not really quite sure how but we moved from consistently sharing the food in my dented silver thermos to me practically living at your house within the span of just a month. It felt like every time you moved, we found new ways to annoy your neighbors more; we spent so many summer days hopping fences and stealing oranges from the grove near one of your houses.
    We used to crouch on top of anything tall just for a picture (not sure why?) and I'd be wearing your clothes even though I was a twig and nothing actually fit me. I still have a shirt of yours from eighth grade that I sleep in sometimes.
    I'm pretty sure I accidentally took it home after we jumped in the pool together fully clothed that one time. That may have been the same night we started watching Ghost Adventures together (the best and worst show in your spooky as all hell house); your ice maker that sounded like footsteps and the bear that ran out of batteries and kept dementedly repeating "I love you Lexi" on its own were literally the most terrifying aspects of my childhood.
    We spent every birthday we actually celebrated together, too; for my thirteenth, we were in LA and you found the Zoltar machine (I kept the fortune) and we got the princess & dinosaur cakes for our fourteenth at the roller rink.
    Our Nerd Herd from the Christmas play we were in together was all there for that one (I still have the onesies from that production). We made good use of those on the eighth grade D.C. trip when we were bus buddies and had to deal with Allen the tour guide screaming over the intercom all the way to Gettysburg.
    A lot of that trip we spent sharing a ton of music with each other and swapping beanies (even though yours was actually James') and I can say my taste in music is primarily because of you.
    We were so young and stupid sometimes but I'll miss when you'd ride around on my back or we'd hold hands and skip just because we could.
    Even though we went separate ways for high school, we kept close and I could always count on you to pick up when I needed you. By the way, you sure proved the point you made to me about life worth living when we were up talking that late night on the golf course. I really miss you, but I'm mostly just grateful for the impact you had on who I am and what I love because of the time we spent together.
    Thanks for making me love twilight so much.
    Love always,

  6. my memorial is in honor of my cousin Lydia Vigil. She was taken by sickness, a sickness we wouldn't even think twice about today and yet in those days it claimed her life. this was the first time I saw the angel of death, the first time I was forced to understand something I couldn't. the only thing I knew was one minute she was there and the next she was gone. its been about 10 years now and it seems like its a different universe and that universe was put in a box and tucked away safely. I was young, and the years I knew her I was younger the only thing I can remember was the day she was gone. I sometimes wish I could. ever since I got my license me and my sister visit her grave. my sister tells me everything about her, the things she loved, how she was, what she wanted to be when she grew up, her favorite music, and the day she left. I feel her void, it is my void as well, her for her sister and me for mine. even if Its hard to remember she will live on in my sisters heart and in mine. I still don't understand death and maybe I never will, and maybe I don't have too, because as long as we remember then she will always be alive.

  7. Ralph Richter was born in Germany, and was at a boarding school in Warsaw, Poland when the Nazis invaded. After the teachers abandoned him, he marched across Poland and Germany to his family in Berlin, carrying a sack of rendered fat as food. An American soldier mistook him for a Nazi and bashed him over the head with the butt of a rifle on the way. He eventually made it, and after several years of work as a carpenter in post-war Germany he bought a boat ticket to Canada. Didn't speak a word of English. Met my grandmother, had a few kids in Toronto, then moved to East County San Diego so his kids (one of which was my mother) could go to college.

    His wife, Barbara, died several years ago. He wasn't ever the same. My mom would always tell me how bleak his worldview was, and about two years ago he died an angry man. I never knew him that well. In my formative years I wasn't as sociable, and shared little interests with anyone. I can't help but feel a sense of guilt. I could have learned so much from him, and maybe made his final years better.

    Here's to you Grandpapa.

  8. My memorial is in honor of Mina Sabeghi. She was my best friend Leila's mom who passed away from cancer at age 29. I never met Mina, but I hear about her all the time through Leila and her family.
    She was the mediator of her family who constantly misunderstood each other. She was able to see the good in each of her parents and siblings individually that, often, the others could not appreciate. She was the kind of person who was mentioned alongside Martin Luther King Jr. when her friend was asked who her heroes were. She was the kind of mom who made sure her daughters ate healthy during the week and then treated them to pizza and movies on Fridays. She was the kind of mom that brought her daughters with her to protests. She was a 90's fashion icon. Pictures of her surround Leila's apartment, and we constantly find ourselves trying to emulate her style. Her dream was to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist, which she unfortunatley did not have the chance to pursue. But now, that is Leila's goal, and it suits her so well.
    Even though I never met Mina Sabeghi, I feel like I kind of know her because I notice so many of the details I hear about her reflected in Leila. I have lost family members of my own, but none of them that I was close to or that even had interests that mirror my own. From what I know of her, I feel like I have more in common with Mina than most of my own family members. So even though I did not experience the loss myself, it feels more personal to memorialize her because she means so much to Leila, and Leila means so much to me.
    I chose to place her memorial in the walkway between the MD and H buildings. This is where Leila and I often meet between our classes at Palomar, so I thought it seemed fitting.

  9. Elvina(Eunkee) Min

    My memorial is for my father who passed away four years ago from heart attack at the age of 48. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and had two children including myself. He worked as a dentist, but he used to tell me often that he originally wanted to be a pilot.
    He raised me alone since I was 6 years old for 9 years, and for all those years I've never felt like I was missing love from one of the parent because he loved me as much as any other two parents would love their child if not more. He was my best friend, and he used to say that I am his sole reason to live, even if I didn't understand how heavy those words were at the time. Sometimes I still forget that he is gone, and I feel like I can find a way to talk to him or call him somehow.
    I chose to place him right near the HS building surrounded by other rocks because I wanted the memorial to blend in and last longer, and I also walk by it often on campus.

  10. My memorial is dedicated to Anthony Nguyen. Many people know him as the "Teenager found floating in Oceanside Harbor (3/26/2016)," but to me, Anthony was someone I could look up to from my freshman to my junior year in high school when he passed. The one thing I remember most about him was how easy it was for others to become friends with him and how naturally likable he was. This was one of the reasons I appreciated him so much.
    The hardest part of coping was trying to cope in the atmosphere of the school in the weeks following his death. The entire school seemed quieter. Since he was such a sociable person, people from all parts of the school were mourning with me. People had to be dismissed from class almost hourly so they could talk to the grief counselors. The impact of his loss was so great that even our teachers were having difficulty. He was such a bright person and he had so much to live for. So many people still leave messages to him on his social media accounts, letting him know he's being thought of and missed.
    I made my memorial on some leaves under a flowering bush and I get to see it everyday on my way to class.

  11. I didn’t know Jimi personally. I only know him through what others have told me, mainly my boyfriend. He left this world too soon, in his early twenties, and left a lot of people behind. The nights after my boyfriend got the call were rough. I found myself crying into the pillow long after we hung up the phone because the grief that was in his voice was making me cry, because the way Cody talked about him made me feel like I knew him too. He thought so highly of Jimi. He was one of the only people that Cody considered one of his best friends. I would listen as he reminisced about the good times with Jimi, a big thing being that Jimi made him more confident in pretty much every way. It wasn’t uncommon for my boyfriend to accredit our relationship to Jimi’s guidance. And then he often told me about how much Jimi would have liked me (at which point I usually started tearing up). The sorrow in his voice was truly unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. When given this assignment I immediately thought of Jimi. I myself have not lost someone since I was three years old, far too little to remember much of the loss. But this was recent. And although I didn’t know Jimi personally I saw through my boyfriend’s eyes how great of a person he was, and how much he was missed. Seeing someone make such an impact on another person, without witnessing it directly, is truly an experience that I don’t have words for. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all in one. I just wish that there was more for me to say about him. I wish that I had known this amazing person who touched so many people and brought joy into so many people's lives in many different ways.

    I put the memorial in front of the theater. A place that I’ve come to understand is perfectly fitting for a memorial dedicated to him.

  12. My memorial is dedicated to my grandfather, John Idso, who passed away in June of 1997. I hadn't truly known him in life, being only an infant when he passed. What I do know of him come from bits and pieces that I've picked up on through family memory. Although, the subject of him didn't come up often in conversation (perhaps in respect for him or from a need to move on). My grandmother, father, and aunt all remember him with a certain fondness. He was an honest hard-working man who moved from Dakota after having a falling out with his family. This was because there was opposition to the woman who he was in love with, and whom he eventually settled down with in Arizona. In the years leading to his death, he grew increasing ill but left with parting words for each of his family members. From what I've heard, this included private words for me although I had no way of remembering them being only three months old at the time. Years later, my grandmother showed me an old box filled with mementos of his including joke books, watches, class rings etc. It revealed to me his love for his family and an odd sense of humor that trickled into my father, and ultimately to me. I can tell that he was well loved and continues to be missed.
    I placed the memorial in front of the library, hidden in the brush and in front of a tree. It reflects my memory of him, ever present but looking to be discovered.

  13. My memorial is one dedicated to the memory of my great great grandmother, Ascension, or as my family and I called her, Nanita. Little Nana. She passed away at over a hundred years old when I was just entering my pre-teen years, having known her all my life up to that point. Given her age, she was always ready with a story to tell to everyone that visited. It was also at this same old age that she helped my parents tend to me and my brother when we were infants with all the vigor and care any parent would show for their own child.
    My memory of my Nanita is widely varied. The taped on paper clock she always had taped to the inside of her apartment window. The chair positioned next to the glass table that I would always find her seated at, just watching the household, sometimes a pair of knitting needles being twiddled in her hands. Her soft voice when she spoke to me and my brother. And the harsh one whenever we did wrong. And the most prominent: the smile she always wore on her face whenever we had the pleasure to visit her. The same smile she bore in her apartment was the very same one present when we stepped into her hospital room. Even as we were crying over her knowing that her time with us was coming to a peaceful close.

  14. My memorial is dedicated to my first pet, a Green Cheek Conure named Rescue. I got him from a bird rescue when I was eight and we quickly became best friends, all the way up until his death when I was 13. Even though he bit me the first time I handled him, just two days later we became inseparable and he never nipped me again. Rescue would dance with me, fluff up against my face, and try to steal my food. He also had a penchant for eating my homework and attacking any remotes or hairbrushes left around, especially if I was near. He treated everyone in my family a little differently, but everyone said it was obvious I was his favorite and I couldn't disagree.

    Rescue was actually my emotional support animal, and he really helped me when I was first diagnosed with clinical depression just a year after I got him. My favorite memory of him is when he flew across the house, from his cage to my room, and tapped his beak on my door on a particularly hard night. I wasn't totally surprised when I opened it to see him on the floor, but it was a very appreciated visit. I picked him up and he spent a few hours with me, sitting against my cheek while I did homework. He wouldn't stop saying "happy happy," which was one of his most common phrases to repeat whenever I was around. He could also say "ice cream, love you," and my name, along with a few other words. "Happy" was always his go to thing to say, though. Rescue nipped at my brother when he tried to put him into his cage for the night, which he hardly did to him. It was just three weeks before he passed on from a known issue.

    I miss him far more than I can express in words alone, and whenever I think of him I get teary eyed. I never knew such a small bird could have such a big impact on me, but he was truly my best friend. I set his memorial near the MD building, slightly tucked away but in eyesight of where I sit between classes.

    Fly high, Rescue.


  15. My memorial is dedicated to Ernesto Edraisa, my boyfriend's grandfather, who passed away this past May from cancer. My boyfriend grew up without a father and had always looked up to his grandfather. Ernesto served in the Navy as Master Chief. He served in Vietnam and Persian Gulf. Ernesto supported his grandsons with whatever they put their hearts to. He was always at their football games ready to record with his camera. Being stubborn runs in their family. And during his viewing I learned that with him being stubborn, Ernesto never gave up on anything he did. Whatever it was, he kept pushing until he got it done. And that was one of the perks of being stubborn. Ernesto would always tell the corniest jokes and you'd always find him yelling at the tv because of the baseball game he was watching. We weren't blood but we were definitely family. Rest in peace Master Chief.

    Nicole Sevilla

  16. My memorial is dedicated to Doug Durrant who was one of the art professors at Palomar College. Professor Durrant was my art instructor for Drawing II and Watercolor I & II during my long stay at Palomar. What Professor Durrant taught me was not just art, it was being able to live as one. Helping you develop a personal color palette when you paint (in my case love to use earthen tones when I paint). He always ended one of his numerous stories with the works "Ya dig?" every time. Even though he understood at the time that I was dealing with personal issues, he told me to stay strong. When I heard of his passing, I was working on a project for a client and stood at my monitor dumbfound for almost an hour. His death didn't seem real to me and when I called my friend to verify it, then it hit home. The words that my mother told me years ago, "As you get older, you watch your friends and loves ones go one, by one," sounded in my head louder than ever... Rest in peace Professor Doug Durrant.

    -Elisa Elaine Luevanos (10/11/17)

  17. Pocahontas was a loyal and dear friend. I have knew her all her life before she passed, due to old age. Although she loved my mom more, I loved having this little kitty cat inside the house as a voice to talk to. She was there for me when I had no friends at school, and I was there for her when her brother died of cancer. She was there for me when my parents were at work and sister at sports, when I was all alone in a big house she was my protector, and I was there for her when she fall slowly asleep for the last time. I still wonder if she dream then, if so I wonder what it was about.

    In her younger years she loved to play. You could hear her crying from down stair and when I mewed back she came running up. You could not sit her down for more than a minute. It was not until she became older that she liked sitting in your lap. Even when my legs got numb, I had to pee, i has work to do, my eyes were burning to rest, or my stomach yelled at me for food, I did not dare move an inch. I told my bladder to wait, I told my work to be patient, I told my eyes to get over it, and I told my stomach to shut up or you will wake her. I liked her there, and I saw the end coming.

    I have two more cats now, and I love them as much as Pocahontas. I can not look at them running around without thinking of her, the good and the bad. I love my new cats, and I still and will always love Pocahontas, and I miss her.

  18. My memorial is in honor of my grandmother who died of cancer when I was young. I didn't know her all that well, but i saw the light she put into people's lives. My dad mentions her all the time and never has anything bad to say about her. My family misses her dearly but we all know where she is. I took this picture in the morning(I don't know if you can tell) but I did this because she was soft and innocent like morning, very quiet and was an exceptional listener. She still plays a big role in my families life as she taught them how to deal with many difficulties such as cancer. My aunt and my dad have both had cancer in the last year and it has been hard but they bring up grandma Joy and they seem to cheer up. She was a great light in this world and touched a lot of people and that is why I commemorate my memorial to her.

  19. My memorial is for my grandparents, Anna Marie and Porter Meisland. I never met my grandmother but I feel like she has always been with me spiritually. When I was born my mother went to a psychic and said there was a grandmother auroa around me. My grandfather though, was the first death I ever experienced. I was so proud of him because he served 30 yeads in the military. He was always so kind and gentle with me. My grandparents did such a good job at raising my mom, and she always had amazing things to say about them it was a no brainer to give them a memorial. They were soul mates so I could not memorial one and not the other. I love them both and know they are in peace together where ever they are.

  20. My memorial is for my father Carlos Preciado who passed away in 2012 at the age of 56. My father moved to the united states after the devastating earthquake in Mexico city in 1985 where he met my mother. There's not a day I hear a melody sung by Paul McCartney or John Lennon that I do not immediately think of my father. He had four children including myself and worked in construction.

    I chose The blue rocks in the MD building for the spot for my memorial due to the beautiful yet unique landscape and it is also a place I often walk by as I attend my classes, a promise I made to my father to pursue.

  21. My memorial was for my father Gerald M. Bloomfield II who passed away at 2005 at age 38. My father was a Major in the Marine Core, and he was about to be promoted to Lieutenant colonel. I say he was about to be because if he had survived his latest deployment in Iraq he would have received the promotion. He was a Super AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter and on his last tour he was supporting ground troops with cover fire. These men my dad was covering lived because of his heroic actions. I had the opportunity to speak to the ground troops who my father was helping, and they spoke highly of what my dad did. They were also tho ones who extracted his body from the helicopter after seeing him parish. Long story short, from their perspective, they saw my dad take ground fire and then unfortunately take an RPG to the tail of his helicopter and plummet to the earth. Because of his heroic actions he is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. This is also the reason i chose to memorialize him over potential others, and I think it is very fitting to put his little cairn by the veteran's memorial on Palomar Campus.

  22. My memorial is for my great grandfather Burl Dean Ellis. He was born and raised in Limestone, Arkansas by his aunt. He joined the Navy in his youth and eventually attended the University of Tennessee to learn how to teach. He would specialize as a Sonar Technician in the Navy and later be promoted to the highest petty officer rank, Master Chief. He took his skills and knowledge to the city of San Diego to teach others about sonar. He had 5 children with the love of his life that he met during his time at university. He would also help in the starting of the First Southern Baptist Church of Mira Mesa in the 1970's.

    I put my memorial by the HS building because I pass by it every day and it always reminds me to do better and strive for greatness. He was a very honorable man that always wanted the best for his loved ones.

  23. My memorial is for my dog tacu. We got him on a trip to Alaska when I was 7 as the first addition to our large husky family. He's named after the village we got him from. He turned out to be more wolf than dog, which we came to realize as he got older and would not stop growing. I couldnt walk him alone because if he saw something and went for it I too would go flying with him. He was my fluffy best friend and always seem to be smiling. When he passed I struggled with the idea of religion, not sure if I could believe in an afterlife especially one without my best friend. I had a dream one night filled with sunshine. It poured from the sky, I felt it on my skin, warm and soft. I heard Gods voice tell me that hes quite a handful but he can see why I loved him so. I woke up crying. I have had a hard time giving up religion due to this dream. I feel like god was there for me when I needed him in a way I wasnt expecting.

  24. In memory of my grandmother. She was a Mexican immigrant in the 70's who crossed the boarder with 3 children under 7 years old. She worked hard to provide a comfortable life for her growing family. She loved nature and looked to it for healing. I put the stones in a pretty place surrounded by the types of plants she loved,like the bougainvillea flowers and palm trees, and to remember her beauty, inside and out. She is survived by 5 children who had the chance at a better life thanks to her sacrifices.
    Te amo abuela y gracias por tu sacrificio

  25. My dear Great Uncle Garland. I think what I miss most about him is the way he used to howl at the dinner table. He talked with a thick West Virginian accent, despite living in California for all of his adult life. He used to sort through my grandma's records and only play the bluegrass ones, although her collection contains mostly swing music. He was the first out of his thirteen siblings to pass, which surprised all of us. Through his passing I learned that although I never saw him with a significant other, that he had had his life long love. My family referred to his love as a "roommate", but it turns out that he had been closeted his entire life. I hope that wherever his soul may be that he was able to reunite with his love and find peace.

  26. My memorial is in honor of my grandpa, Mike Kinsella. He died when I was around one year old so I don't remember him at all. I just know he was a Vietnam war veteran and from what my mom and grandma tell me he was a loving, caring and positive person. He always saw the good in people. It always makes me sad that I never really got a chance to meet him and also I feel for my mom because she was very close to her dad as they had to move quite frequently throughout her childhood. My mom always spoke highly of him. The way she described him I felt like I could have bonded closely with him. As I got older and matured my mom told me one day that me and her dad acted almost the same, I was a spitting image of him. This made me feel very mixed emotions because on one hand i most likely would have got very close to him but I think It is good for my mom to relive simple forgotten memories of her dad because I remind her of him. So although I never really talked to him I know I can say that he was a big influence on my life and the way I carry myself.

  27. My memorial is for my grandpa Thomas Zielinski. He was the first person that I ever really lost. He passed in February 2016 after suffering from Alzheimer's. His parents, my great grandparents, moved from Poland during WWII to give their family a better life. He was a father of four boys, has 8 grand kids, and 3 great grand kids and he loved us all. He worked as a nuclear engineer and was a very adventurous and free spirited person. He served in the military but didn't like it because he didn't like being told what to do. My dad always says that he is one of the smartest person he knew. My favorite story of my grandpa is when my dad was younger his dad had bought an airplane. He had never flown an airplane so he learned from a friend. He never got his pilot license because he felt he didn't need to and he felt it was a waste of time and money. So he decided to fly the airplane with no license from Florida to Idaho just for fun. He always traveled to different places. I remember going to his house and seeing magnets from all the states he had visited, which was mainly all of them. Grandpa Tom, you are missed every day and we love you.

  28. The memorial is for my Uncle Mike, who passed away about a year ago from pancreatic cancer. He was a scholarly genteman with a great sense of humor who was an elder in his local church and spent his time preaching at the local rescue mission.

    I put the rocks by a light pole where I park my car to walk into Palomar every day. My uncle was commonly viewed as a source of spiritual light in a dark world, and having it near where I park my car is something I think his sense of humor would have appreciated. (He was terrible with cars.) He will always be fondly remembered.

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  30. My memorial is for Eileen Bender who was grandma, or my mother's mom. She was an English professor for at least 30 years at Indiana University, South Bend. Her famous work includes her study on Joyce Carol Oates. She died in 2010 when my mom was informed she had fallen down and hurt herself so that following weekend we all went to visit her in the hospital and during that weekend she passed away. One minute I was with her and saying goodbye and saying that I would see her tomorrow and the next thing I know we get a call in the middle of night from the hospital saying she passed. She had many students who were sad when they learned she passed and I remember a lot of them offering their condolences to my family - some still reach out to my family. I never realized how many students my grandma had an impact on. There is actually a scholarship at IUSB in her name because that's how much of an impact she had on not only the students but all the faculty as well.

    This semester has been hard because since my grandma was an English professor then it's hard for me to not want to ask her thoughts on everything we've read so far in this class. One of her favorite books was actually the Handmaid's Tale. Whenever I read something interesting then she would be the first person I would go to to ask for her opinions and ideas. She always had interesting stories to share and being with her was never.a dull moment. My favorite memories with her are when I would go with my grandparents and family to see Shakespeare plays in Ontario, Canada. Also when I would spend a week in South Bend at my grandparents house - my grandma and I always did lots of fun things together. I miss her every day. I put the cairn near the art mural by the pool/gym area because I walk pass that mural on my way to my Political Science class or on when I go to the gym. Also because she loved abstract art. She had many art pieces from Harold Zisla and other artists in her home so whenever I came to visit my grandparents I always enjoyed looking at those art pieces.

    My grandpa died a year after my grandma died and I miss him just as equally and he was also a remarkable person and professor at Notre Dame University. However, the love story between my grandparents was amazing and something that will always inspire me. I miss both of them every day and doing this assignment was great because even if the rocks are moved then every time I walk past that art mural then I will always think of the fond memories I have of my grandma. I know that even though she's no longer here physically then at least she's here with me in spirit and in a way that always seems to comfort me whenever I'm sad and I miss her.

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  32. I made a cairn in memory of my grandfather, Elton Gregory Joseph, arranging the stones to mimic the flag of his home country, Trinidad. This is an island located in the West Indies, and is an island I identify with because it is literally half of me, my mom being from Chicago but my dad being from this island, and his father being from this island. My grandfather was a very relaxed man, who was still very much about his business. He was a great police captain in New York, a great father, and a great grandpa.

    -Love, your granddaughter

  33. My memorial is for my grandpa. He recently just passed away on March 8, 2018. I decided to do this memorial on him because he is my first grandparent that has passed away in my life and is someone that meant so much to me. My grandpa was only 68 years old and he loved to have his garden good taken care of and this is why I decided to place these rock by some pretty flowers I found on campus. These past days have been hard for me and my family because it was something unexpected. He was an awesome and funny man. He will always be the best grandpa.

  34. I did it for my great Aunt who recently passed away. Her name was Caliope Diacantaonis, and she lived to the ripe old age of 94. Aunt Cali was a loving Aunt that took the time to visit family on a regular basis and always showed her love and affection by bringing gifts to all of her relatives and friends during Christmas. We always looked forward to, and enjoyed her and her husband when they visited.

  35. My memorial is dedicated to my mother Barbara Ann Neely. This memorial is to hallow the memory of a person that sacrificed so much to adopt and raise three kids.September 21,2002; a day forever stained with loss and mourning. I don't believe in an afterlife, so I know the only place you live is in my memories.

  36. My memorial is dedicated to my grandmother Nancy Carrol Nolan. This memorial is special to me because there is a cross out on the mountains towards the Palomar football field. I choose that location because I want my grandmother is look at my accomplishment when I walk across the stage next year with my AA degree. I will continue to look and walk the same location I go to school to always remember her and have her look down upon me when I get my AA degree.

  37. My memorial is dedicated to my grandfather, Nicacio Carapia. He passed away on December 29th 2014 . He lived in Queretaro, Mexico. I’ve only seen him a couple of times in my life and I wasn’t really close to him. However, it was nice getting to know him. And it was nice to hear what my dad told me about him, of how he used to work really hard, maintaining his ranch, caring for his horses, planting vegetables before he was wheelchair-bound. He was a hardworking man just like my dad. I will do my best to be as hardworking for them and myself, for him and my dad’s hardwork to be paid off. I hope he’s resting peacefully.

  38. My Memorial is in honor of my Grandpa Michael Kahl. Not only was he an incredible inspiration for my family and I, but he continues to touch many lives on a daily basis through thought and prayer. I often find myself setting my goals high only later realizing that I had learned such an amazing trait from my own grandfather. He was an advocate of education and believed in just about every person, gracing anyone he talked to with his witty stories and advice. He is the reason I continue to stay in school and will always be the one I look up to when life doesn't seem to go my way. In honor of my brilliant Grandpa, I love you so much. Rest in peace.

    Hannah Kahl

  39. My memorial is to remember my grandma Joseph Tamborelli. To me he was "Poppop." He passed away about 5 years ago. He served in the Navy for four years and then ran an ice cream truck up until he was an old man. He inspires me today because of his incredible strength in enduring the loss of both of his legs in the last two years of his life. He was a very stubborn man and always sought to do everything on his own but that was what made him who he was. He was hardworking and loved his 5 children and grandchildren. I remember him always telling me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me, even on his last day. I love you Poppop, I know I'll see you again someday.

    Jessica Tamborelli

  40. This is in remembrance for my late grandmother.

    You loved our family very much. I can still remember your cooking, your caring touch and doting nature that I often took for granted. We all still miss you. I will never forget that day when the paramedics came. The first time that eleven year old me had seen family lying on a hospital bed. I hope you found peace in your final moments. All of us prayed to the very end.

    I know at times I was a handful to manage, know that I did love you very much. Moments where I remember your laugh as you watched your favorite dramas are ones I fondly look back on. I hope you're as cheerful as ever, wherever you are. Thank you for everything Grandma.


  41. My memorial is dedicated to my mother's adopted sister Danita Raminha. She recently passed due to a brain tumor in her frontal lobe that made her journey even more difficult than she deserved. I have fond memories of her growing up and visiting her in Atascadero with my grandparents. She was energetic, loved motocross, and was a ball of light that everyone was attracted to. Even though we lost her before her death, there were still small glimmers of Danita left and those little treasures are stuck with myself and our family. I am beyond blessed she was introduced into our family and helped my mom grow into a strong person. She also left behind a kind husband, Jeff, and a young boy Garret. We have become stronger as a family and will always love Danita.

    In remembrance of a beautiful soul that was taken too early. We love you Danita.

    -Kaila Cain

  42. My Grandma Maple was my person. My childhood was anything but stable, and she was my one consistent rock through it all. She was my biggest cheerleader, my ultimate support system and the best role model. Unfortunately she passed away 15 years ago. A memory I cherish most was her last words to me. We were saying goodbye after catching up on the phone and before we hung up I told her I loved her. She said to me “I love you more than you’ll ever know.” She died 5 days later. Those words are forever imprinted into my heart.

    Megan Cornforth

  43. My memorial is honor of Dwayne Drakeford. We were engaged at the age of 19. He died in an automobile accident at the age of 20. It's very painful to talk about him (I've written and erased this post several times)...

    So many thoughts, so many words, I guess I'll just say...

    Your son looks just like you and we love you always.

    -Shakeda Truesdale

  44. My memorial is in honor of my dog, Rylee, who I lost to canine cancer last year. We should have had more time together; she was only 6. Rylee's death left me heartbroken, and I can honestly say was one of the hardest experiences of my life thus far. Rylee was always by my side to help me get through difficult times. She was my baby and best friend and will forever be missed. Love you, Ry.
    -Kailee Peter

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  46. This memorial is to honor Corporal Adam F. Wolff. KIA Helmand Province, June 20th, 2014.
    Three rocks for the Corps core values. Honor, Courage, Commitment.
    That's exactly what Cpl Wolff always demonstrated. The embodiment of a stellar Marine, and even better friend. Freedom isn't free for all.
    Cpl Wolff made the ultimate sacrifice. Although he resides his current post guarding the Pearly Gates, he will never be forgotten. Always full of optimism, crazy questions and a motivator spirit, I am so proud to be your sister in arms and even more so a friend.
    Until Valhalla brother, Rest in Peace.

  47. My memorial is in honor of my abuelita Andrea Nuñez. My abuelita passed away 3 years ago because of Alzheimer. She was a strong women that a very young age my abuelito her husband passed away. My abuelita after loosing her husband had to take care of 5 of her children by her self. She was the mom and dad at the same time. I get very emotional imagining what would’ve been if she was still alive. She was an amazing mother, amazing abuelita and was always there to help everyone. Until she got Alzheimer everything changed she wasn’t the same anymore because she kept forgetting things. I thank her because of her she was there for me when ever I wasn’t sure of something she taught me how to draw cute little houses and she would take care of me when my mom had to work. I know that she’s in a better place and from above she takes care of me and my family. Gracias por todo. Siempre en nuestros corazones abuelita. Te extraño mucho y Te amo.
    - Liliana Guzman

  48. Grandma Eunice,
    I will never forget how well you took care of me as a young child. You used to climb up the ladder with your feeble knees, to read me stories and poetry. I would throw together the most atrocious concoctions of whatever I could find in your fridge, and you would tell me they were delicious. You used to take me to listen to beautiful music, even though you always had trouble with your hearing aids.
    Grandma Eunice,
    You are the strongest woman I know, and I know a lot of women. You have successfully raised nine children on your own. You lost a child, on his way to school. Working three jobs is never easy, but you made it seem that way. Grandpa left, he did not deserve a woman like you.
    Grandma Eunice,
    I wish I could spend more time with you.
    I love you Grandma.

  49. My memorial is in honor of my uncle Martin Lopez. Although he died when I was only three years old, I feel like I knew him for many years. I remember being at my grandma's house after his passing, listening to her cry of sadness. She created a beautiful shrine for my beloved uncle surrounded with candles. I have never seen a moment without a candle lit for him. He was a kind, social, respectable man. No one had anything bad to say about him. He was a manager for a little league team called The Angels in Orange County. Every child wanted to be a part of his team and parents begged him to let their sons in. He was their inspiration. Unfortunately, three days before a game, my uncle passed in a car accident. His dedicated team still played that day, wearing black armbands, and won the game in honor of my uncle. To this day, my father still pulls out the newspaper, The Orange County Register, from May 11, 2000, where my uncle appears on the front page. A community, a family, was devastated by his loss and he is still missed very much.
    -Nicole Lopez

  50. Haley, you were the light for everyone that knew you. You were always the most positive person in the room and always had a smile. I know that you inspired many people through out the life you lived. Thank you for always bringing happiness and positivity in my families lives. I know that your memory will live on.
    -Jake M.

  51. My memorial is for my Grandpa Daniel who passed away when my mom was only 4 years old. He died of tuberculosis and got it from a black Rottweiler, he slowly started becoming very sick and when he went to the doctors all they said was that nothing could be done. In those times in, Mexico was very poor and a cure for tuberculosis was not found yet. My grandpa died at a young age and left his family of 7 children. I miss him even though I never met him he will always be in my heart. All the great stories I hear about him is what keeps him alive in my heart. Always and forever.
    -Michelle Sanchez Z.

  52. My memorial is for my Grandpa Daniel who passed away when my mom was only 4 years old. He died of tuberculosis and got it from a black Rottweiler, he slowly started becoming very sick and when he went to the doctors all they said was that nothing could be done. In those times in, Mexico was very poor and a cure for tuberculosis was not found yet. My grandpa died at a young age and left his family of 7 children. I miss him even though I never met him he will always be in my heart. All the great stories I hear about him is what keeps him alive in my heart. Always and forever.
    -Michelle Sanchez Z.

  53. This memorial is in honor of my cousin Oscar. He passed away six years ago. Not a day goes by that I have not thought about him. I still remember the day when my mother got that phone call and broke the news to us, I was so confused and in so many tears. My cousin passed away in a terrible car accident at the age of 13 and died at the scene. He was person with a big heart who always thought about others. I remember going into my third period class in eighth grade and always seeing him there, laughing and making jokes. You were an amazing soul who was taken from us too early. You left us with many great memories that will always remain in my heart. Love and miss you, Oscar.
    - Jennifer Jaimes

  54. My memorial is dedicated to my Aunt Denise who passed away at the age of 49, last year from lung cancer. She lived in South Carolina with her 12 year old son who she adored. She would do anything for him. She had a free spirit and crazy personality, one that you could not forget even if you tried. You will forever be in our hearts and memories. Love and miss you, Auntie<3
    -Mary Dee

  55. My memorial is dedicated to my grandpa Vogel. I didn't know any of my other grandparents besides him and he was one of the strongest people I know. He watched me from when I was about three till I was six everyday while my parents worked. And he was one of the closest people in my life besides my dad. I dont know anyone else who would of took on that job and took me to school and watched the same disney movies with me everyday. I think he shaped who I am today and even though its been about 10 years sense he passed I still miss him all the time.
    Cant wait to see him again.
    - Samantha Kaspar

  56. I dedicated this memorial to my late dog Chase Butterbean Robertson. When I was 9 years old my parents were going through a nasty divorce and cliche as it was they decided to give me and my younger siblings an English bulldog puppy to cope. He was the largest in the litter the biggest, clumsiest, goofball of a dog you would have ever seen. Whenever I could hear my parents fighting, somehow he understood and stayed by me the whole the night snoring louder than any dog should. Chase like most bulldogs had his fair share of medical problems but he survived for 9 years despite most vets saying he wouldn’t last 5 or 6. Chase was always there, he made through all 12 times we had moved over those 9 years. It was July after I had just graduated highschool in 2016 we had been in the middle of another move to a bigger house that was conveniently closer to college and we were going to bring the dogs over to the new house on the last day. We were 30 minutes away from loading them into the car when Chase started to hyperventilate, at first we thought it was just the summer heat but it got worse and a few minutes later he passed away in my arms due to natural causes. He was the most important thing to me during my childhood and got through my hardest times. I miss you everyday Chase and your deafening snoring.
    -Madison Robertson

  57. My cairn is dedicated to Amber, a girl who I grew close to in the short time I knew her before her passing two years ago. I think the situation we found ourselves in helped us bond, though sometimes I wish we had met under different circumstances. At risk of sounding melodramatic, I want to say that you didn't deserve what life put you through and I hope you knew that someone cared about you when you left.

  58. My picture is dedicated to my grandma Susanne. She was stubborn throughout life, and seeing how cancer took her constant stubbornness at the end of her life was tough. She was under enough painkillers to numb an elephant, and it's hard to not think that things should've gone better for her. I'll always love you,
    -James Galizio

  59. My memorial was of my grandmother, the woman who raised me. Growing up was difficult for me, not having parents & being separated from my siblings. Although my grandfather was mean to us my grandmother always protected me. She kept me safe, taught me to love people even when it’s hard to, & did everything she could to mold me into the person I am today. Although it’s only been a year since she’s past, I feel as if it’s been a century. I’ll always love you Kiki, & I’ll make sure to make you proud.
    Forever & Always your princess,