Friday, August 07, 2015

What Bob Anderson Meant to Me - Mainecoonlady

A post from a follower that I wanted to share...

It was 2009 when my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Over the next year at home, she became increasingly worse with the onset of Dementia as well.  This drew on my ability to work, and I lost my job (career really) as well.  Soon Mom entered the hospital with pneumonia and was released to a rehab facility.  So my days were filled with constant battle with the repulsive care of my Mom in really bad health facility conditions.  In 2011, I found the Decorah Eagle Nest Cam.  I was enchanted.  I read and learned all I could about the work done by the Raptor Resource Project, Bob Anderson and our Eagles.  While not much into the science of things, I was just so amazed at their beauty, grace and freedom.  Freedom.  That word has become very important to me.

I watch the camera, and observed the chat.  2011 was an amazing time.  It was new and exciting.  So my days were filled with the horror of watching my Mom slowly slip away, and fighting literally for her care and health when so many wanted to give up on her and settle for substandard care.  It was very exhausting and demanding.  I was alone.  I was scared.  I was heartbroken. So each day, after tucking Mom safely in her bed, I drove home, ate some awful fast food and sat down to watch the nest.  Not chatting back then, but watching and listening.  Escape?  I watched these magnificent creatures build up the nest, mate, produce beautiful eggs that hatched into these precious little white fluffy bobbleheads.  To this day their sweetness brings tears every year.  I watched them eat, sleep and grow.  I waited breathlessly for the wingersizing, worried in the snow and the rain (yeah.. I know NWZ! But ya worry), I watch branching and the Y activities.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  FLIGHT!  I watched one by one as those little babes took off.  It was exhilarating. Freedom, in my world was unattainable both for my Mom and me.  But when they took off for the first time I felt their freedom deep inside that touched my soul.

I watched, I listened, and learned all I could.  I was living in hell by day and freedom and wonderment each night.  I read articles, watched videos, watched all I could on Facebook and on RRP website.  Then there was that first transmitter.  Our Diva D1 was now on her way and we took that journey with her.  ESCAPE!  I found escape in her freedom.  I could not escape from the agony of the daylight but I lived for those nights with the eagles.

When the CAM was down for the season repairs, I kept up with the day to day through Facebook, RRP and even tried the Forum. In October 2011, Mom lost her battle and now I was left alone for real.  Camera was down for the season, and Mom was gone.  I had taken a useless part time job that at least allowed me to keep going.  I moved in with my sister and rented out my house, since nothing was selling.  It was a rough couple of months and a lonely winter.  I had lost everything I treasured.

Then there was activity in the nest.  Our parents we preparing.  So busy, so intricate in the design. Finally the camera was back and the life cycle had begun again.  D12, that regal elegant eaglet; D13, the steady faithful sidekick and D14, the most amazing little creature I have ever seen.  I learned a new phenomenon.  Our eaglets have individual distinct personalities.  D14 will forever be etched in my heart with his loving style, silly antics, camera technician abilities, and that sweet little white speck above the eye.  The original CAM HAM.  In 2011, I learned about eagles, in 2012 I fell in love with them.

Then the heartbreak. There was Bob.  It was at this point I learned that he was not just a scientist, he was a fan.  That big burly down to business man, loved them too.  I was intrigued. He was so business-like about the goals that needed to be reality for all the raptors.  He was the most compassionate man, the most informative leader, he understood that he brought a beautiful treasure to us and with this, he felt this enormous sense of responsibility to the raptors and to us.  He would post a message that was factual and scientific, informative and hopeful in the face of tragedy.  But under it all, was a great man with a huge heart.  He made a family with this nest, not only with Mom, Dad and their offspring, but with us. Over the years, I joined chat, participated with questions and information.  I am proud to say that I am part of that chatter family now.  FRIENDS.  Bob opened a world of beauty to us and gave us each other, he gave us friendship.

My life in these past four years is very different.  I finally have a great job, not like I had but a good solid job where I feel my talents can contribute.  Being out of work does crazy things to your self-esteem.  Then I bought a small townhouse, and recently sold the other house, finally.  I followed the amazing yet tragic 2012, the unknown 2013 with N2, the horrendous 2014 season, and this year's 2015 stellar year for our eagles.  And through it all was Bob, like a rock, like the leader of the pack. He worked behind the scenes taking care of our eagles, falcon, turkey vultures and so many more.

Bob? I know you are listening now.  Do you know what your work meant to our eagles?  Do you know what your life meant to all of us?  You gave me peace in turmoil, you gave me fun in the face of despair, you made me care about something besides the darkness in my life, you educated me about something I didn't even know I cared about, you got me excited about wildlife, you made me spread the word and get my friends to check out this amazing new camera event!!!  YOU Bob!  Now multiply that by the millions around the world who love this as much as I do.

I can't express my gratitude for all you have given.  I know your work will continue but you will be missed.  You will be remembered as a hero, to our raptors and to me.  You saved them and you saved me, in more ways than you can imagine.  I will remember your smile, your tender voice, your caring drive to care for our raptors and bring us a joyous event, console us through the tragedies and give us hope for the future.

Thank you, Bob Anderson.  Those words just don't seem like enough.  You will be missed.  Hug our babes for us, D12, D14, D18 and D19.  You are our eagle angel now!   You are B1, the one and only!