Anticipated but heartbreaking. Word is received that our friend Roger passed away quietly in the night. The peaceful passing stands in contrast to his final years battling an array of cancers and therapies.
Initially rejecting treatment for cancer, he gave in to his family’s pleas to attempt recovery for their sakes. Younger daughter clinched the argument sharing her dream for him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.
The wedding took place just days after Roger’s death. His wife, four adult children and spouses, and grandchildren mourned as they celebrated. It would not surprise me if Roger had made his presence known.
In our group of 10, Roger, like Frank before him, took more than his share of 20% of personality. His presence was enough, full of warmth and humor. He kept us laughing one evening as he tested Amazons’s Alexa: who is the smartest? Who is the funniest? Tell us a joke.
Never loud, he nonetheless commanded attention without dominating the conversation. No wonder that he was admired in the world of teaching, honored with awards of which he didn’t boast and likely did not seek. His eyes revealed his honesty: he was interested in you. He wanted to hear what you had to say.
Willing to tackle almost any remodeling task, he stepped aside when becoming ill to tolerate his wife’s passion for painting every item in the house and those found on the curbs. I fully expected to see Roger on Facebook covered in mineral fusion paint. A different color each week.
Now our group of 10 is down to 8, 20% off. But the loss is much greater. Covid deprived us of almost two years of friendship as, not wanting to risk infection, we could not visit both Frank and Roger during their illnesses. Covid deprived us of the comfort of mourning, the sharing of casseroles and memories.
This is hard to write, as tears fill my eyes. I am in sorrow for the loss of wonderful friends, but I am also angry at those who will not do what is needed to control this pandemic.
But I end on a note of love. Roger positively impacted the lives of hundreds of children. He and Frank both left remarkable families. And friends. How lucky I am to have known them.