Ethan & Grandpa John

A time for tears, a time for laughter

Ethan’s Star Wars Celebration

Our son, Ethan Forster, died July 26. He would have turned 7 on August 21. For the past year he had been begging us to let him watch “Star Wars,” but we kept telling him he wasn’t old enough. About two months ago we gave in and said he could watch the movie on his birthday. In the weeks leading up to his death, rarely a day went by that he didn’t remind us, and everyone else he knew, that he was going to watch “Star Wars” on his birthday.

We plan to honor this promise to our son, and we are asking everyone, wherever you are, to watch “Star Wars” (the first movie, which came out in 1977) on Thursday, August 21.

Since Ethan’s death, we have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of love and compassion by family, friends and complete strangers. This “Star Wars” gathering is for us a tribute to the memory of our son, but we also see it as a opportunity to bring people together in celebration of the bonds that join us as family and friends — sort of like a Thanksgiving in August.

Ethan would have loved the idea of a big “Star Wars” party — boys and girls (and adults too) from far and wide proclaiming “may the force be with you” as Luke Skywalker battles the Imperial Forces.

So we’re asking you, if you feel comfortable doing so, to forward this message to your friends and family. We’ve already heard that several “Star Wars” costume parties will take place on August 21, one as far away as Washington, DC. We’re inviting everyone to email us their “Star Wars” party photos so we can post them on the blog. Our hope is to turn this into a global celebration.

If you have any questions, you can reach us by email at

David and Lisa Forster


August 13, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I am Ethan’s grandma in Santa Rosa CA. This child was the light of my life, I loved him as much as any parent would love a child and my heart is aching. Ethan gave us so much, and I wonder if he knew how special he was.

    His granpa Chuck and I had just spent a week with Ethan and his sister Ava at Loon lake Lodge and we made the most of it. You should have seen Ethan’s face when he scaled the big hill all by himself, his smile lit the sky. We picked up many sticks along the way and when he discovered they were missing the next day, taken by the campers next to us for their fire, he was devastated. We went on another hike and collected six so we had extras, and this time we hid them so no one would find them.

    We took the kids swimming and he was tempting fate even then always wanting to go just a little further out but when I cautioned him he came closer to the shore because he hated to see us worry. We roasted marshmellows, played at the play area the the BLM campground down the road, we went to town and let them pick out some groceries, and played ball. Ethan and I snuck up to the lodge and had a chocolate sundae, just the two of us.

    I will always treasure that week, I had so many hugs, kisses and good times with the kids. We spent time with these kids in Sacramento, Ohio and Oregon. It didn’t matter how far they lived, they were worth the drive. We were so fortunate to have created so many memories with them but these memories makes it harder to function now. Every place we go, things we see, remembering all the places we took them brings pain but joy too that we were able to give them some fun in their lives. I thank my daughter and David for giving us all these remarkable times to share our lives with them and to make memories that we will cherich for all time.

    I made up a song that I sang to Ethan on the phone or in person, it was to the tune of Fera Jacka…, I would just sing the three words Granma loves you, Grandma loves you, yes she does, yes she does, she really really loves you, she really really loves you, yes she does, yes she does. Even though he would sing it back to me with the words no no no, I knew that he loved this song.

    I would call Ethan every day to just say good night. He would start up a long conversation about his day and then all of a sudden he would say, “Grandma, I thought you just wanted to say goodnight” and I would tell him he did all the talking. We talked about what he wanted for his birthday, Surprise! he wanted Legos, again. We wanted to get him a digital watch because he had learned to tell time and we were going to get him the Star Wars movie until mom said she was. I loved to spoil these kids, they appreciated everything they got. A simple piece of candy would put a smile on their faces.

    These are some things that Ethan has said to me over the years that I found to be funny.

    02/05/04 Age 3

    Ethan says to me, “Don’t scratch me with your finger nails, grandma, I’m fragile”.

    Lisa tells Ethan he is special and she loves him. He says grandma is special too and I love her.

    I put Ethan into the tub for his bath and he cried out, “Grandma, the water is burning my penis”.

    Ethan wanted me to come into the bathroom with him and then he tells me “shut the door grandma, I need my privacy”.

    Ethan has been singing “These boots are made for walking and also I am too sexy for my shirt” from Shrek 2.

    08/08/04 Age 3

    Ethan says mommy and daddy spank me sometimes because they are mean to me.

    Mommy and daddy are the only mean guys.

    03/12/05 Age 3.5

    “Grandma, stop kissing me, you are getting your germs all over me”.

    I banged my leg and he says “Grandma, you should be more careful”.

    I told him to shake his penis when he is done going to the bathroom and he says there is still a sparkle on his penis.

    We are sleeping in our camper and he wakes up and says it isn’t dark anymore and he also says “Grandma, it is raining outside”. I tell him it is grandpa going pee in the porta potti.

    Your dad, David, asks Lisa if she has fed the barn animal yet (AKA the dog)

    Ethan asks his dad “Who is your woman”?

    09/15/05 Age 4

    “I don’t like your attitude grandma”. I was showing him how to make an A.

    “Don’t make me frustrated grandma”. I was tying his shoes and the loops weren’t right for him.

    12/05 Age 4

    “Grandma, do you know what Dinosaur Land is? Yes, it is where Dinosaur’s live. Ethan says “My mom doesn’t know that, she doesn’t know anything. Only you know everything, why”? I say because I am older. Ethan says, “ No grandma, you are just old”.

    01/30/06 Age 4

    Ethan eats spaghetti worms and poop balls.

    05/07/06 Age 4.5

    Ethan tells me he doesn’t want me to be Amanda and Macy’s grandma. He wants me to be just HIS grandma.

    He tells me he is a bad boy. I asked him why and he says mom and dad get mad at him when he is bad and I asked him if they get as mad as grandpa and he says they are worse. When he goes to Kindergarten he will only get one chance and then he’ll have to sit forever.

    05/09/06 Age 4.5

    David asked Ethan if he was in PJ’s and Ethan said he was going to sleep in his underwear. He said Daddy you used to sleep in your underwear but now you sleep in your (I forgot what word he used but I am pretty sure he meant that David now sleeps nude.)

    08/17/06 Ethan says Happy Julios for Carl Jr’s.

    04/07 I asked Ethan to tell me what he is giving his mom for Mother’s Day. He won’t tell me because he says I’ll tell. I say I’ll give him all my money if I tell and he says will you give me all your money and your credit card? He then tells me he is giving her a pillow. The funniest part is the pillow is one they have had on their couch for a long time.

    10/05/07 Age 6

    We bought a Legos for XMass and put it in the back of the car. Ethan found it and asked if it was for him. We said it was for another little boy. He said he would give us a “buck” for it. When we finally told him it was his Christmas gift he said “What about the other little boy”?

    11/07 Age 6

    Ethan tells me on the phone that he back talked to his mom when I asked him if he had been a good boy. He also said he was a little good and a little bad.

    01/08 Ethan says: First grade isn’t for smart people. It is to learn.

    01/08 I helped the kids make pet rocks. Ethan made an Indian Rabbit. He used pipe cleaners for the tail and 2 cotton balls for what he called the butt tox (buttox)

    03/07 Ethan wants to leave some carrots in a bowl for the Leprechauns he is sure is coming. He puts the bowl out on the porch.

    In the morning he sees green foot prints in the kitchen. He is a little apprehensive as he goes to the door and peeks out and then he notices the carrots are gone but there are no green foot prints on the porch so he is sure the leprechaun is hiding inside the house.

    03/08 We are talking at dinner and I was asking the kids if they want to come sleep at the motel. Ethan says he is staying home so he can watch TV and play with his lego’s in the morning. Chuck is bribing Ava saying if she comes she can have ice cream, soda and all the bad things and Ethan says; “Grandpa, stop advertsing to Ava”.

    So now you know a little more about “our” special little boy. He is so missed.

    Ethan we love you.


    Comment by Grandma Jean | August 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. Lisa, I never knew your son, but I loved the stories you told about him in class. I was looking forward to meeting him, since you said that one day you might bring him to class.
    The last time I talked to you, I remember us discussing Star Wars and how you were planning on showing it to Ethan on his birthday. As a Star Wars lover myself, I was so excited for him.
    I am deeply sorry for your loss, but even more moved by this celebration you are holding for your son. It has to be so hard to celebrate the life of a little boy when the wound is still fresh. It just goes to show how much hewas loved and how much happiness he brought to those around him.
    If work goes too long and stops me from attending the celebration on campus, I promise I will watch it at home for the joy of the movie and in remembrance of Ethan. I will drag out my old Jedi robe I made for the opening of Episode 3 and dig out my light saber and enjoy a night with Luke, Obi Wan, and Darth Vader.
    I think this celebration of life is a brilliant idea. I am so sorry once agian, but happy that your little boys life is being celebrated for the joy it brought to everyone.
    Take care and god bless.
    -Niki ES.
    P.S. The anticipated preview release of the new video game, The Force Unleashed, is also taking place on August 21st. So Star Wars will bea big hit that day, for the joy of the saga in general, and for the joy of Ethan for some.

    Comment by Niki | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Lisa & David,
    Val and I are just heartbroken for you and your family. Hearing the news from Scott put me in shock. I remember going downstairs to tell Val and then just losing it. The first time I have cried in years. Then we both went to Zoe’s room and laid with her in her bed. We have fond memories of going to see Rivercats baseball and going snowshoeing with you, David and Ethan. We know how much you both love your children and your family and we really wish we could be there watching Star Wars with you, nonetheless you, Ava and David will be in our thoughts and prayers (I own the box set of the original three StarWars movies so I will be sure and watch).
    With love,
    James and Valerie

    Comment by James & Val | August 22, 2008 | Reply

  4. may the force be with you ethan

    i miss you ethan

    star wars

    Comment by massimo | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] you haven’t already chosen your movie for the Weekend, or even if you have, please give this some thought and honor this […]

    Pingback by A Time For Tears, A Time For Laughter | Writer Dad | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  6. I am so so so so sorry for your loss.
    I will get Star Wars and watch it right away, even though the 21st has passed. I will think of your precious Ethan, and I will think of John, and I will think of you all, and pray that you find peace in your hearts again someday.

    Comment by Karen | August 24, 2008 | Reply

  7. Bless your heart, what a difficult loss.

    Comment by N | August 24, 2008 | Reply

  8. We are so sorry for your loss, and sorry we missed watching “Star Wars” on Ethan’s birthday. Because we missed the day, we linked your website to our blog – “Luke, I am Your Father” – along with a Legos “Star Wars” mini-movie. We like to think that Ethan would have liked it.

    Ethan sounds like a funny and happy little boy! What a joy he must have been to you and your family. We can only imagine the pain you are going through. We have a little boy of our own – Luke (of course) – he just turned one year old. We can’t think of anything more heartbreaking than losing him. Thank you for posting such a sweet and honest story. We will give Luke extra hugs this week – and we look forward to watching “Star Wars” with him when he is old enough too.

    Comment by James | August 25, 2008 | Reply

  9. Lisa, David, Ava…
    We’re so happy to witness, what looks like, the WORLD gathering around you guys during your time of need. If any family deserves this outpouring of love and support it’s yours! Thank you for allowing us to share in the celebration of Ethan’s life and, whats more, for allowing us to be a part of all of your lives. We miss you all. Forever your friends… The Silvis Family

    Comment by The Silvis Family | August 28, 2008 | Reply

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