Jesse was the love of my life and the most kind hearted person I ever knew. He would be understanding to anyone and everyone no matter how crazy it sounded.
I met him when I was 18, he was 19. We both worked at a restaurant. I had no interest in him at first and to make it worse he would pass me and tell me “to smile,” which I cannot stand when men do that. Eventually, I agreed to go to his house and I never left. Literally never left. I went to hang out and when I had to leave he would always make sure I was coming back tomorrow.
One of our first dates was at L.A. Fitness. He was 20 minutes late and it upset me greatly, but when he arrived he was really apologetic and made up some excuse about as to why. He told me later in life that he actually had to go buy all new work out clothes and shoes because he didn’t have any and didn’t want to look bad- and that’s what made him late.
I remember the first time he told me he loved me. We were driving back to his Moms on a road that didn’t have many houses, but tons of trees. I was admiring the trees and said “I love this road.” He blurted out “I love you too!” And then I had to awkwardly had to tell him I actually said I loved the road, but I loved him too.
He always made my birthdays or other holidays really special. He never bought me a tennis bracelet, but he did stop in the field near our house after work and pick wild flowers for me for no occasion. He would make gifts from hand from our favorite movie “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” or buy me a Sailor Moon figure and print out the lyrics as confetti in the package.
Jesse put so much effort into whatever he did for the kids and I. Ironically, he never thought it was enough. There are too many examples to name here.
When we would bring a new baby home, I never felt like it was just me taking care of the baby. We had a system where I wouldn’t move at night, I didn’t have to get up, he would. He would get up eight times a night to get the baby, make a bottle, or grab diapers and wipes. He would bring whatever I needed and the baby to bed. It worked well because I wouldn’t fully lose sleep, but then his quick task would be accomplished and he could go back to bed. It got to the point where he would stop waking me up and would just put the baby on me to nurse. I would wake up to find an infant nursing away.
When I announced I was pregnant with our first child, “C”- we were really young. I want to say I was 19 and he was 20. I remember him being happy, which I thought was kind of odd for a man of his age. No doubt he was a little worried, but he was smiling. When C was born he did everything for her. He would work long shifts and come home in smelly clothes, rushing in to play Barbies with her. He would play for so long I secretly thought he just liked Barbies. Being with C took over every aspect of his life. If he played a video game, he would hold her in his arms the entire time.
Our second child, “O”- came about three years later. I made him a cake the day I found out it was a girl and told him the inside would be pink or blue. We were not having a boy so I was sure he would have a little disappointment. I remember he got home and rushed through the door, wanting to cut the cake first thing, even though he was sweaty from working all day. He cut into in and it was pink. He began crying, which threw me off, but he was so happy he couldn’t help it. He loved being a girl dad. He loved that both of his girls were significantly different from each other.
Two years after that, we had a son, “R.” He was excited to finally get a boy. Although he had been a girl dad for a long time, he nailed being a boy dad too. He wanted R to be strong but also show his emotions. Jesse would always make the time to show R how to build or fix something. This would make a quick project, like fixing a sink, take an extra hour. But Jesse always allowed for the time. He saw R as his best friend.
While Jesse and I only had three (soon four) biological children, he played the role of “Dad” to other kids too. A close family friend “B” ended up being like a daughter to him. When she would spend the night he would always let all of the kids torture him in some way, like making him wear tons of make-up. I am forbidden to post those pictures.
We suffered a few losses too in our nearly 13 years together. He was supportive each time. One of them resulting in a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy (mostly because I was too stubborn to go to the doctors, lesson learned, I hope). The ectopic resulted in irreversible damage- so when I found out I was pregnant a few years later in 2020, I was somewhat surprised. This time we were both more worried than previous times. This time would result in a high-risk pregnancy due to the ectopic and it being a 4th c-section with a window present. Terminating the pregnancy was laid out to us, but it was so painful we couldn’t do it.
We found out a few months later we were having another girl. I really wanted two boys and two girls. Again I thought he would want the same, but nope- he was thrilled to get another little princess. I don’t think he actually cared about the sex of our children as much as I did. I think he simply just loved that he would have another little life to love and hold on to. Jesse didn’t get to finalize her name with me, but we had semi-agreed to “W.”
As for me, Jesse taught me what it was truly like to be loved. He would put what I wanted first. I could come to him with the most painful of ideas and situations and he wouldn’t make me feel alone. Trauma I had from different issues he never got tired of listening to me. He would always just support me in any way he could. He successfully made me feel like I was beautiful. He had to tell me every day, but he did, without fail. Every. Single. Day. He preferred how I looked naturally to how I looked with make-up any day. Prior to him, I thought I had dull, boring, brown eyes. He would tell me my eyes were the most beautiful, a color he couldn’t describe. Maybe a brown/amber with golden honey in them.
It made me happy to hear for 13 years how much Jesse adored me. I heard the same thing and continue to hear the same thing from all different types of people: young and old, rich and poor, best friends and acquaintances, all different types of people telling me the same thing: “Jesse adored you, he was so proud of you, he loves his kids. You all are all he ever speaks about. He is so proud that you are in school. He is so proud of your career. He says you are a great mother to his children.” This was always so flattering, but as time passed it began to hurt too.
What did Jesse say about himself?
If you don’t know, I will tell you. Jesse enjoyed:
- Films & Shows- Jesse could spot a good movie just by watching the trailer. I always told him he should be a film critic. He was ALWAYS right, even if society had high expectations, he could call it out before he even saw it. He introduced me to a lot of good films. He loved Casino, The Godfather, Game of Thrones (but not the last seasons), West World, Bleach.
- The Human Mind- Jesse thought the human mind was more complex than we could fathom. After I graduated, one of things he was interested in pursuing was a degree in therapy or psychology. Mental health was what he took most interest in.
- Cooking- Jesse was an excellent cook. He was such a perfectionist when it came to measurements and techniques. He excelled at cooking steaks and I hope I am able to somewhat replicate what he did. It was really simple: A rib eye or NY Strip, cast iron skillet, hot olive oil and butter, fresh rosemary from our garden. He would cook it and make sure the steak rested on a seasoned cutting board. He also made an excellent beef wellington. He also made great ribs. My favorite were the Malibu Coconut Rum infused ones.
- Dan Harmon- Dan Harmon is the writer of Rick and Morty as well as Community. Dan also has a podcast “Harmon Town,” and a show “Harmon Quest.” I have to stick him in here because this was Jesse’s other soulmate. Basically, Jesse listen to every podcast so many times that I could recite the words, even though I wasn’t always completely listening. He loved him because he would just go on rants about life but his concepts were sometimes considered out there. If you want to honor Jesse, go listen to Harmon Town. But not with your kids around.
- Living beings- He would hate it if he knew I was writing this but God was he a cat dad if I ever saw one. We have 4 cats and he would take them outside and let them climb to the top of our tree. He would notice when they were depressed or were not feeling well and see what he could do to improve their mood. When he noticed animals suffering outside our home, like a rabbit that had it’s back legs ran over in the road, he looked up how to make it a “bunny wheel-chair,” out of PVC pipe so the bunny could know what it was like to move again. I remember telling him the damage was too extensive and there was nothing we could do to help it. If there was a spider in our house, C would beg him to kill it, but he would tell them that’s wrong and just place it out side.
- Writing- Jesse loved writing. He was our Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons. Despite me buying him pre-written books, he would just write his own stories. His stories were fully detailed with main characters, places, fights, key details, you name it. I have one of his stories- although it’s missing pages, I might post it one day. His character name was Sappen Burn Leaf.
There is actually more to Jesse than this. Like a ton more. That’s why I keep updating this with photos or things I think are important. He was a super complex beautiful person. Eventually I will explain his entire self. But I am not sure when that will be.
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