Today I randomly found the last photo that I had taken with both of my parents. Here is a little message to my dad…
“Today I’m randomly going through media and SD cards that I have piled around the house… and not only did I find a card that contained my last visit to Grandma’s, but I also found this little gem … which I’m pretty sure is the last photo I have with you and mom. This was the day you guys signed your papers … and you two were getting along beautifully. Pretty sure we went to tequilas after this to celebrate… yum. Oh – and just so you know, that place burnt down too. What a shitty year :) But just like everything good in life, it will be re-built – bigger and better. Hope your having fun up there…”
Susan Hydle + Les Hydle + Greg Hydle = A Good Time (always!)
To all of you, my closest friends and family, I want to say that I love you.
I say this today in particular in memory of my late father who passed 16 years ago today. It has not been easy to be without the incredible man who was my father as I go through life. But I like to think that the final lesson I learned from my father that this is life. Something fleeting and temporary. Each moment can not be reproduced and should be treated as such. This lesson has taught me to appreciate each one of these moments. Furthermore, I have learned that the people that we experience these moments with and who make most of these moments so special are also temporary. Health and life are precious and fragile things. I understand this through and through.
With this final lesson from my father, I try to live each day appreciating every moment, and every experience; acknowledging and understanding how special each one is.
But as a the question goes, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, is there a sound? Each moment is not nearly as important nor memorable as it is when we can share these moments with the ones we love and care about.
So, on this important day, I’d like to take a moment to tell you all that I love you all. You make my life important and make me happy to live each of these moments that I have the opportunity to live.
I look forward to every moment we spend together, all the experiences we share, and all the great food and music we enjoy with an expression of bassface.
With all my heart and my sincere love,
Alex – thank you for sharing – you are awesome!
Having also recently lost my father I too cherish the moments that we consider the right here and right now. I believe that is something I have always been particularly good at, but when you lose someone or something that is particularly important to you, it is funny how you are somehow re-reminded to cherish the important people and things that are still in your life.
For you to take the time to reflect about your father and then to share it with your friends means a lot to me and I feel privileged to be included. I wish we all did more thinking, reflecting and especially sharing… Just like you have now :)
I spent a lot of time trying to prepare for what was about to happen last Friday, October 12th, 2012. As a family we were finally able to take one huge step forward in attending the sentencing of the man that unmistakably took my fathers life. This was the first time we were able to meet him face to face and hear a small portion of his side of the story.
I can not even begin to explain to you the range of emotion my family has put ourselves through to prepare for this day. I was personally fearful of not knowing what to expect, and it was completely driving me nuts. My feelings inside just wanted to know everything I possibly could about this man who turned in front of my dad. What kind of person was he really? Is he a decent man? Does he come from a decent family? I felt deep inside that my feelings of forgiveness and anger-ness would all be determined off of my own confirmation on who this man really was. Upon some simple researching – I found a very close connection that we both shared… and was able to confirm that Geoffrey Birney was in fact the person I thought he was all along. I can’t even tell you what a relief this was. I was still confused, trying to process this information and wondering how I was supposed to feel heading into the courts on Friday. I was also concerned with where each member of my family was at processing their anger… and was completely amazed when every single one of us delivered such amazing forgiveness to the family of Mr. Birney during his sentencing.
Below are some excerpts from my amazing family on their feelings and emotions from this day. I love you family… you continue to blow me away in how we have responded to this horrible accident.
Mary Hydle – Oct 13th, 2012 – 8:00am – Facebook
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the sentencing of the young man who accidentally took my father in laws life. What a huge lesson in life about forgiveness. I watched each member of my husband’s family stand before the judge and this young man and express their forgiveness. A simply true test to the human spirit. There was no anger or hatred towards this man who simply made a mistake. I am honored to be apart of the Hydle clan. And feel more honored I was able to hug this young man and look him in the eye and tell him I forgave him as well.
Jessica Hydle – Oct 12th, 2012 – 11:00pm – Facebook
Well, we survived. It was hard and sucked quite a bit. But, at least this part is over. He pled guilty and the judge accepted the terms of the community service. She then told us that for as much as she hates cases like this, because there is clearly no winner, she was glad that she was assigned it. She stated that she did not know before today, but realized when we brought pictures into the room, that she had met my dad. The crazy thing was, we were pushing for community service through the National Sports Center for the Disabled, who my dad volunteered with for over 30 years. The judge told us that this all came full circle for her when she saw his picture and realized that she had actually met him up at Winter Park at a clinic for the NSCD where she was getting information on the program to use it’s benefits for the cases within the Mental Health Court, which she is the judge for. My dad is the one who told her all about the program and the benefits it offers. — with Les Hydle.
Sheila Hydle – Oct 12th, 2012 – 3:00pm – In Court
For months I’ve wanted to be able to see you face to face and say what I have to say. The following is MY point of view and I am only speaking for myself.
I fully realize that nothing I say here today will affect sentencing. We’ve all already worked that out together to a mutually agreed on solution. But, I think that not only do I have things I need to say, I have things I need you to hear.
First off – I forgive you and I’m not angry with you. I in no way discount the fact you took my father’s life, but it was an accident in the purest sense of the word. I’ve never been angry with you – only the situation. If you had been drunk or texting or something – you can bet I’d be saying something completely different, but according to the police report, you weren’t. This was an accident. A horrible, life changing, excruciatingly painful accident. You didn’t mean for this to happen. But, it did. We can’t change it, we can’t understand it, we can only try to accept it.
I don’t know anything about you or the accident except for what I’ve read in the police report – and for me, that’s plenty. The images there are enough. My father was an excellent rider – there was no logical explanation for why this happened. He was careful. He was alert. He knew that driver’s don’t see motorcycles. For some reason, on this day at this moment this seemingly senseless tragedy was meant to happen.
There is not a person in this room who hasn’t driven to work only to think to themselves “wow – I don’t even know how I got here!”. There’s not a person in this room who hasn’t zoned out on the road. There’s not a person in here that hasn’t stopped paying attention for just a moment while they switch the radio, find something on the floor or mess with the mirrors. And that’s all it takes, doesn’t it? One. Single. Moment. That’s all it took for you to hit my Dad. One moment of your life changed countless lives forever, including yours. I can’t be angry at you. I can’t blame. What happened to you could have happened to any of us.
Not to mince words – but this accident has indeed devastated our family. It has torn me down. It was horrific. It was terrifying. Seeing my father that way brought up a place of pain in me that I didn’t even know could exist. However, I know that eventually, I will be OK. My family is close and loving and we are together in this. The pain I feel of losing my Dad is equal to the love I feel for my family. While I don’t think one ever truly gets over the death of a parent, I do think that this pain will lessen over time. I do think the weird crying jags will subside. I know I will honor my Dad and his legacy. I know we all will. I know I’m a good person and I will constantly strive to be better.
I’m sure that this has devastated you and your family as well. But through all of this – we all have something to learn. My Dad coined the phrase “new normal” with me back when I was in college. We all have a “new normal” and what we choose to do with it will dictate the rest of our lives. We can choose to keep spiraling in grief, keep feeling sorry, keep being sad, keep beating ourselves up for what we did and didn’t do for an endless amount of time – but that doesn’t honor Dad, nor does it give us the opportunity to grow out of tragedy. I truly believe that some of our greatest growth can come from our greatest pains.
I will continue to allow my Dad’s death to change my life in a very positive, drastic and dramatic way. It was meant to be this way – *I* was meant to be this way. I know it. All of this was meant to be – although I don’t know why. I really don’t know why any of us had to take this route of our life’s journey in order to learn what we needed to. This is a crappy route. For some reason – we all had something to discover. We all had something to experience. That is the reason this happened. I don’t know you – but you had something to learn from this and I hope your heart and mind is open to it – and you embrace it and take it with you. I hope whatever it is that you had to learn from this changes you in some positive way.
Our lives are forever intertwined now – although I may never see you again. But my Dad is a part of your life now too. We all need to find some kind of affirmation for ourselves in this situation – Dad would have wanted that. There has to be some growth that comes from this for you too. I don’t know what it is. I may never know – but I have to believe in my heart that we can ALL take something from this and utilize it to make ourselves stronger, better people. If we can’t, Dad’s death would be pointless. It would mean nothing. I can’t accept that.
Again, I wanted to talk today not because it makes a difference in your sentencing, but for some reason I need you to know I empathize with you and your family as well. I can’t even imagine being in the position you are – I can’t imagine the pain you’ve gone through too. Yes, my family has been turned upside down and has grieved and felt unimaginable pain– but you took a man’s life. I’m not sure how one moves on from that.
I’ve given that a lot of thought. Just how does one move on from taking someone’s life?
Well, first, I want to tell you that if my Dad was here (which I think he is), I believe he would give you a hug and tell you that it’s ok. He’s not mad at you either. I just know he isn’t. Let yourself feel that comfort. My Dad had a brother that died over 35 years ago in a motorcycle accident. Three months to the day my Dad died, his brother also passed away unexpectedly. So, Dad is up there right now with his two brothers and is probably having a ball. Finally at peace from all the stresses of this world.
I also know that when people close to me have died, I’ve always done things to honor them in a consistent, constructive manner. My hope for you is that you find a way to honor my Dad in a way that doesn’t bring you sadness, but reminds you how fleeting life is and that you should appreciate every moment. Something that reminds you of whatever your “lesson” is here and keeps you grounded and following that path. Something that will keep the spirit of Les Hydle alive in your life in a beneficial and encouraging way. Your community service is one huge step in that direction. You have no idea how delighted I am that you are doing community service for NSCD. The lenient sentence for this type of accident actually boggled my mind at first and I’m so very happy that you also agreed to do the service. THIS will honor my Dad. THIS will help make his death mean something. My Dad had to stop participating after decades of teaching disabled people how to ski at NSCD, and it devastated him. Maybe that is why this happened – maybe you were meant to be there for some reason because my Dad couldn’t be anymore. Maybe this is where you make a difference and leave your mark on the world. I don’t know.
There are a million ways you could honor him – should you choose to do so. I do hope that’s what you choose. You may not see it now, but how you live from this moment on is your choice. It really is. Just as it is mine.
Today is October 10th, 2012 which marks the 4 month anniversary of the day we laid my father to rest after being involved in a tragic motorcycle accident while leaving my neighborhood. To summarize the last 4 months, I can only say that time, memories and emotions have basically all blurred into one surreal adventure where it is hard to decipher between what should affect me and what shouldn’t. In addition to my attempts of coming to terms with what happened on June 9th, 2012 – there have been countless other interesting and emotional events that have prevented me from fully dealing with the loss of my father. Colorado nearly burned to death, Aurora was tragically shot up, Dixie took rest, uncle RT (my dads brother) passed exactly a month ago and now I’ve been forced to nearly give up on one of my most meaningful and important relationships. Everything aside – there have been a lot of positives that have also occurred through business ventures, travel, family communication and finding an all to real *real*ness in this world… but it is hard to focus attention on these without fully dealing with this sub-par hand of cards that has been dealt through the summer of 2012.
In two days we will head to court for the criminal case against the 27 year old driver who illegally, and unknowingly pulled directly in front of my father after our heartfelt time we spent together. He has since pleaded guilty to his charges and we only await a sentencing hearing… where we will get a chance to meet the man responsible for this accident. It is hard to say how my family and I will respond to this long awaited meeting, I’m sure there will be some existence of anger and hate, but I personally know that all of the anger is going to have to be overcome to fully heal from this loss.
All I can do is remember the amazing person my father was and how incredible the time was we were literally *just* able to spend together. At my fathers service, I presented the final moments we spent together into a playlist – my father’s final playlist. I will eventually release the video of my speech to everyone, but today I release to you these final moments through memories, movies, songs and writing. Within these final moments I was able to build him a playlist he would be proud of. Everything seemed to happen naturally… and with little effort. If I had known this would have been the final hour I would ever get to spend with my father… I still don’t think I would have changed a thing.
My Father’s Final Playlist
It was a calm and sunny Saturday summer morning when my father pulled up into my driveway on his brand new to him Yamaha Venture. It was a big bike, cherry red and gorgeous… and I could immediately tell from the smile on his face that he was happy. He wanted to show me this bike and I took the time to look at it. We played with gadgets, disc changers and radio stations. I was super surprised that a guy like my dad hadn’t yet taken the time to figure out his own stereo so he could at least listen to music while he cruised. I figured it out for him… taught him… balanced his speakers… and programmed some radio stations. We spent at least 20 minutes in the hot colorado sun mesmerizing over his added extras and light bar additions to the bike. This bike was reflective… my dad was glowing. We eventually rolled inside and as we were looking at a random appliance problems in my kitchen … he simply asked me – “what happened to your microwave?” To which I answered… “oh, you didn’t see that video? – come here”
So I pulled him to my upstairs computer… and I showed him this.
Track 1 – Video – Beer Run
After watching … and laughing at this video peace – I previously had another open video just sitting there on my computer. Also revolving beer.
Track 2 – Video – St. Patty’s Day
My Dad chuckled at the Guinness comments… so staying on the Beer theme I asked him “Dad – did you know that we have our own beer?” And I cued this up.
Track 3 – Video – Hydle Ale Release
Post Hydle Ale video, man he laughed at the Hydle Ale Logo… so I asked him if he saw our KOHL’s rock out video? — which is a beautiful peace with all my nephews and his grandchildren.
Track 4 – Video – KOHL’s Party
Now at this point… I command-tabbed over to final cut where a project I was previously working on was open. It was from the Denver Day of Rock show that took place only two weeks prior and I KNEW my dad would be intrigued. He’d never listened to Amanda Capper – So I let him watch… and listen.
Track 5 – Song + Video – Someone Like You
I knew my dad was in kind of a hurry… he had to go somewhere and a quick call from his girlfriend made me leave the room. I never respected or wanted to show any appreciation for his new relations, which he knew, so even though I know he only talked to her for a couple seconds… I still managed to leave the room and go to the garage. What my Dad didn’t know – is I was setting him up for his final 3 songs in a new listening environment.
I listened to him watch a video… and engage in the music you just listened to. Came back upstairs and asked – “did you like that?” To which the reply was an obvious “yes.” So I led him to the garage and started playing this, which I knew he would love even more.
Track 6 – Song – Baby I’m Amazed
It was fun… shooting the shit with him, as he had no idea what the intro to the song was all about or what song was coming up. But as soon as the keyboardist drops into the beginning riff … he belted out “Paul McCartney – Baby I’m Amazed!” and sat on the couch. I knew he would know exactly what song it was – This was fun. I sat on the couch across from him… It’s orange – we call it Bronco… and we listened to music. Loud music – The way he would make me sit and listen when I was a kid.
We get to the part where Amanda Capper starts singing… he sits up and points to his arm, looks up at me and energizes, “You know those hairs on your arm that stand up?? Those goose bumps? — Yah!!” To which I simply reply … “You just got CAPPER’d” and we sit and listen to the rest of the song.
— Emotional Acoustic Version
— Denver Day of Rock Live Version
As I explain the jam session video we shot in Utah singing drift away to a very special BMX crowd revolving around an injured rider – Stephen Murray… I transitioned into the Craig Hospital video I had just completed. I explained about bringing Amanda Capper into the mix and how we accomplished what we did. I commented aggressively about him having not seen the video… since this was something I hold dear to my heart and means a lot to me. But since he didn’t have time to watch the 9 minute masterpiece … I explained enough to him so he would understand where this next song comes from. It was an Amanda Capper original, her own creation from watching the video I created. She was inspired to write a song about life from the perspective of a little girl … only this girl had a name – Briley Alberi, the daughter of one of the most amazing families I had ever met. The Alberi’s were the subject of a Montana creation for the 2012 push dinner video. I told my dad how I had video of Amanda playing the first idea of this next song sitting upstairs in my living room in early February… and that this was the first time she ever played it live. I told him about how it is the ultimate complement when your work inspires the work of others… and this is where his final song on my dads final playlist came from.
Track 8 – Song – Time To Try
We sat listening on my couches… across from one another. Not a word was said. My father loved music, and he loved the music I was playing for him. I knew this… because I could feel it. In the next couple days I would learn more about my dad and his true musical background than I previously knew about anything thing else about him. He was a known unknown in this world of rock and roll music growing up and he has proof of it. I would meet one of his best buds from his growth years… his real fast and free years of growing up without a care. I would learn that although my dad couldn’t or didn’t play an instrument, he would still instruct others how to play. He could belt out guitar riffs with his voice… he could hit the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and although he didn’t complete his pursuit of rock-stardom. His friends did.
We stood up… hugged – said our I love yous… walked out to his bike, listened as he revved his engine one last time, down my street and around the corner. I stared him off into the distance… stood barefoot, shirtless on my driveway – had an unnerving feeling, said a mental goodbye, paused. and walked inside. No more than 30 seconds after this moment, my father was tragically involved in a motorcycle accident he would not wake from. A vehicle would carelessly turn left directly in front of him before leaving my neighborhood… and I would never get to share another hug with this man I called dad.
I’m sorry it had to happen this way dad… and I know you are looking down and saying the same. As I expressed to you on our airport run in October, 2010 – “You really fucked things up here, and it will be interesting to see how you react to this situation.” And it was. But this wasn’t expected by anyone. You should never have had to spend the emotional energy on the feelings you were going through – it makes you “check out from real life.” I also told you this, but you didn’t listen and it sucks you had to go through this alone. Yes – I know enough to look into your emotions more… but I also know enough to let it go and move on. You are back where you belong… loved by your true family, who actually care about you.
Now it’s time for the next chapter. My dad’s latest project was reliving his past and rejuvenating elementary school stories back into the skull of one of his best friends growing up – trust me on this one, this is already one hell of a story. People go their own ways in life… some remember things – and some don’t. My dad remembered everything, which is the perfect match for someone who forgot it all. I’m a storyteller, just like you dad … but I possess some talents you didn’t have, and I’ve been inspired. May you and your brother Craig turn some SOIGDH in the heavens. Turn it up loud, so all those old dudes can hear you party. But keep it quiet enough so you can still chime in on what is happening down here. Doc and Capper might have something to say. True story by me, you mother HAWKer!
He was more than just a friend, my Uncle, a brother to my Father. I knew him as the gentle giant. Greeting me with his mountainous bear embrace and sitting on his lap to be engulfed in his brilliantly described anecdotes from start to finish. It was as if you were apart of the adventure he divulged in.
He put ketchup on his tacos. He wore a mustache better than Tom Selleck, and Ron Swanson. He gave his hand to help the world. He was more than Superman.
Music was his ecstasy, his drug of choice. He could absorb his entire attention into each tone being executed. He was a listener to musical poetry.
He rode a motorcycle and it was his vessel to his chronicles.
“Everybody believes in something. Some people believe in God. I believe in the Angels”.” ~ A Hells Angel.
Les you have always been an Angel. Now you have your wings. May you play fetch with Jackson and embark on an endless highway with the spirits.
It has officially been 1 month since we laid my father to rest. A lot of memories and emotions have stirred my family today … both good and bad. To recap the last 30 days as a complete blur wouldn’t be an exaggeration. As life moves forward and the reemergence of my family as one continues to take place – I still cannot thank you all enough for the love and support you have shown us. If you missed the service on June 15th – I will have a post this week that will share with you the final hour I was able to enjoy with my father. His final playlist.