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In The News

6 Nov

There’s a reasonable chance you’re here thanks to recent news articles and segments regarding the memorial video we made for our sons Rudyard, Desmond and Oscar.  If that’s the case, thank you for your interest. It does mean a lot to my wife and me.  In interviews, we’ve tried our best to represent our own experiences and the feelings of those of us in the grief community who’ve chosen to celebrate and remember our loved ones’ lives in the form of online media.

If you’re looking for the video, you can find it here.

Or, if you’re curious about the illustrations I drew of the boys, you can see them in this post.

Or, if you want to know a bit more about the circumstances of our sons’ birth and passing, please refer to the FAQ.

Thank you again.

– Jeremy Bear

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Memorial Video: The Bear Triplets

28 Jun

Below is the video produced for the June 25th, 2011 memorial service for Rudyard, Desmond and Oscar Bear, our triplet sons.

Please be warned: while this video contains a handful of images from their brief lives, it also contains some imagery captured shortly after their passing. If you’re disturbed or offended by this sort of thing, please don’t feel any obligation to watch.

Thanks for celebrating them with us.

Faces

25 Jun

Today was our boys’ memorial, which was shared with a few dear friends and family.  It’s another example of something I’d like to talk more about later, but suffice it to say it was a really tremendous time.  If you were there in person or in spirit, thank you.

It probably hasn’t escaped you that Carey and I have been very precious about sharing photos of the boys.  Only a very few people have seen them and that may change eventually, but to commemorate the day, it seemed a good time to share my drawings of our sons, produced for the memorial.


Rudyard


Desmond


Oscar

Good night and God bless.

Daniel

24 May

Let me tell you about Daniel (poor bastard).

You’ll recall last Monday’s Baby Care class.  Well, last night was Becoming Parents, once again hosted by Susan (etc.), chock full of helpful information.  (What does a baby look like in the first few days?  What changes and how fast?  Why is he crying/laughing/ignoring you?)

A quick sketch of Daniel. Probably not a very good likeness, but the best I could do from memory.

During an informal “introduce yourself to your neighbor” moment toward the beginning, we met Daniel and his wife, whose little girl is due in early July.  Nice folks.  They offered the appropriate congratulations/sympathies when we told them about the triplets.

Class began and it became immediately clear that Daniel (poor bastard) is a fidgety sort of guy, kind of uncomfortable in his own skin.  At least a few times over the course of the evening, he’d stand up and pace to the back of the room, wait a minute or two, then return to his seat.  After awhile, I began wondering if it was some sort of medical issue or tic.

Susan is good about asking for questions and our class asked a lot of them.  Mostly, it was a good group.  This is Long Beach, so the whole gamut was represented: the cultured and educated, the shell-shocked teens, the blue collar crowd, the granola hipsters, whites, blacks, hispanics, asians and anyone else you can think of.  A lot of hands were going up and Susan was making time for everyone.

Including Daniel: “I have a question.  How, um, involved does the father need to be with the late-night stuff?”

“How ‘involved’?”

“Yeah, I mean, if they usually just need to be fed or something, the mom can probably take care of that, right?”

Chuckles.  Daniel’s wife smiled, winked at us and mouthed: “He’s trying to get out of it.”  Susan explained that, well, babies cry in the night for all sorts of reasons other than feeding, so you’ll probably need to take your share of night shifts.

The class continued.  Susan outlined the importance of getting help if you need it, but not so much visitor activity that the baby becomes over-stimulated and, consequently, awake at all hours.  “Friends, in-laws, people from church… don’t be shy about asking and be specific,” she said and nodded to me and Carey, “particularly if you’ve got multiples on the way, like our triplet mom and dad over here.”

Daniel raised his hand: “Actually, the grandma is going to come stay with us for awhile to get started.  Between her and my wife, they’ve probably got the late-night thing covered, right?  I mean, unless you’re saying that the middle of the night is an important bonding time with fathers or something…”

No smiles and winks from Daniel’s wife this time around.  Susan fielded it.  “Well, in this case, it’s probably more important to stay bonded with your wife.”

More laughter at Daniel’s expense.  Susan moved things along.

Over the course of the next couple of hours, Daniel raised his hand a few more times, always with questions that began with “Is it really necessary for me to” and “Do dads typically” and, as Susan says, et cetera.

Eventually, we stopped for a quick break.  Carey and I took the opportunity to wolf down chips and sandwiches she’d brought with her and, as we did, we noticed a minor queue forming at Susan’s podium.  She was answering specific concerns people had about their individual situations.  At the front of the line, no surprise, there was Daniel (poor bastard).  It was hard to make out what he was saying, but we heard a few keywords and phrases:

“…just saying, if grandma’s there, it’s probably okay for me to sleep as long as…”

His wife was looking optimistic, but a little defeated.  I turned to Carey: “dude’s mission in life is to get out of s#%&.”

Carey said, “shh.  He can probably hear you.”

Of all the tidbits I took from Becoming Parents… the advice on feeding and sleeping and crying, the discussions on your mental health and your partner’s, the instructions about bedding and medicine and the proper time to use a pacifier and the benefits of a sling versus a Bjorn… I think I might’ve learned the most from Daniel.

And I don’t know the guy.  Maybe he has a really specific situation and he needs every possible hour he can get his hands on in order to make the rent.  Maybe he’ll wind up being the best dad in the room.  Could happen.  But, judging by my brief interaction with him, he doesn’t seem to be off to a ripping start.

I pray god I’m not too tempted to be the dad who’s trying to get by on as little as possible.  Who assumes, eh, the wife’s on top of things, I can skate.  And anyway, those little sleepless moments of torture might even turn out to be one of the most important parts of Dad Boot Camp.  (Hah.  Check back in with me in September.)

Either way, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be a Daniel, desperate to hang onto the safety and sanity of his old life.  Dodging responsibility, handing everything off to Mom.  Sleeping in, missing all the good stuff.

Because ugh.

(Poor bastard.)

Pre-Babies Bucket List

2 May

“Get it in now.”

That’s what Carey and I are hearing all the time, several times a week at least from loved ones who truly mean well.  They’re usually talking about sleep, but they also mention the other frills no-kids-couples take for granted: eating out, catching a movie, blowing disposable income on a spur-of-the-moment-whatever-it-is.  Because the time is coming, and that right soon, that even a trip to Subway is going to be A MAJOR FRICKIN’ ORDEAL.

A little about me, because you’re dying to know: I’m an illustrator and an advertising art director.  I do an awful lot of storyboard art and a fair amount of cartooning.  I’ve worked on video game covers, children’s books, character design, the odd comic book here and there.  I keep a blog of original comic strips I give away as gifts and, when I’m not doing any of the above, I do a lot of drawing for fun.  A few years ago, I did a kind of wild-guess calculation and estimated that I probably produce somewhere in the neighborhood of nearly 1,000 drawings a year.  I looked it up and that officially qualifies me as an “artist” but, then, so’s the guy who runs naked through Times Square with clothespins on his nipples.

No surprise, nearly all of my big ambitions are creative in nature, most of them publishing-related.  A handful of my dreams have come true and some have yet to.  It’s usually a little anticlimactic, but it still feels pretty good to check off something major.

So Carey and I have been looking at each other and asking each other if there’s anything big we want to get out of the way while it’s still just the two of us and we’ve more or less come to the conclusion that, sure, of course there is, but we don’t really have the time or energy, particularly if we need to rearrange everything in our lives over the course of the next 12-16 weeks.

But for some reason, I was looking through a few old blog entries recently and I came across a post from 2006.  Besides being amazed by how insanely long my blog posts used to be, I was struck by my list of “69 Weird Things About Me” (I know, I know).  Particularly item #45:

One day I will meet the artist Kevin Maguire and I will tell him that his work decided my career path. I don’t know how it will happen (mainly because I have no idea where he lives) and as the years go by, I get more and more nervous about it, but it will happen.


Kevin Maguire was and is a comic book artist and his artwork made me want to do what I do for a living.  I could go on (but I also discovered  I already did).  I suppose it’s more than a little geeky and possibly even creepy, but I’ve always wanted to meet the man himself and let him know that his work helped me decide who I wanted to be.

And as it turns out, Maguire was a special guest at a comics convention in Anaheim over the weekend.  He was autographing prints of his latest comics creation.  So I went:

A photo of Kevin Maguire, taken by me.

A photo of me, taken by Kevin Maguire. (Sorry, kids, his recent work's a little on the saucy side.)

We chatted for a minute or two about his work and what he’s enjoying about it and etc. etc.  I fought through embarrassment and gave him a hyper-abbreviated version of the speech I’ve been rehearsing for about 20 years and he accepted it graciously.  I told him he was the reason I went into art as a career and he said, “oh, so you’re blaming me?”  Of all the things I was expecting, the thing I’d least prepared for was what happened: my art-hero turned out to be a good-tempered, funny guy.

So, item #whoknowswhat on my personal Pre-Babies Bucket List: check.

Listen, I know this really has almost nothing to do with our triplets, but I thought I’d mention it here anyhow.  I suppose it’s sort of a post about following your dreams and doing what you need to do to realize them, and that’s what I want for my kids.

Or maybe it’s a post about rounding up the dangling plot threads from this chapter, clearing the stage for the next one.

Or I suppose it could be one of those stories I’ll bore the hell out of my boys with one day.

Whatever the case, I’d like to be somebody’s else’s Kevin Maguire.  You never know, could happen.  Inspiring people:  it’s what an artist should do.

Or a dad.

Sketch: Flowering Triplets

7 Apr

Sketches of babies have started infiltrating my notebooks for several weeks, which I guess is no surprise.  Half the time, I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to draw when I start and I’m almost as surprised as anyone by the end result.

Anyhow, this was doodled today at the office and, for some reason, it felt appropriate to post.  Not a great likeness of my wife, but I was drawing without a reference, so I guess that’s the way it goes.  Hope you like it:

Triplet Comics of Yesteryear

29 Mar

When I’m wearing my artist cap, I enjoy illustrating and cartooning.  Several years ago, I began doing short, strange comics for fun and giving them to the people that inspired them.  I don’t do nearly as many as I used to, but I try my best to stay in the habit.  At this point, I’ve drawn maybe 90 or so.

I remembered recently that I’d done a comic about a set of fictional triplets for my friend Kirsten.  It’s safe to say that, when I drew this, I never fathomed my wife and I might have triplet children of our own:

SororityApologies if it’s a little strange or grim for you, particularly if you came expecting new ultrasound images or screwball thoughts on baby strollers.

Anyhow, I thought it was too coincidental not to post.  (And wouldn’t it be weird if ours were born on the evening of September 3rd?  Entirely possible, that’ll be 35 weeks.  Cue Twilight Zone music.)