I hate goodbyes. Perhaps it is because I have loved and lost. Or maybe it is that there is such uncertainty between the now and when we meet again. They all take a toll on me, one that I feel more and more with the passing of time. Saying goodbye today to another cherish friend has me contemplating all the whys around why the goodbyes are so hard.
Maybe it is as simple as I know the hole their absence will leave in my life. Maybe it is more selfish in nature; knowing how unique it is to find friends that just “get me.”
Roger was that kind of friend. A big brother more than friend, and one that while I am sure there were more than one moment in time, he rolled his eyes at my very nature.. He also just seemed to know me. And for me, well he had me at hello. His precocious nature, I found so endearing. Always with that “cat that ate the canary” smile on his face, as if he already knew something that I didn’t know. His boyish charm, hiding his wealth of wisdom, keeping one almost off-guard to what was coming.
He had an uncanny ability to see through me, straight to the heart of the matter. One couldn’t really hide behind a smile with Roger, he didn’t fall for that. He had an ability to see straight through to your heart and it’s prevailing hurt. It was daunting for me in the beginning, someone use to hiding behind the facade… I had no where to go when he was around, except straight to the issue at hand.
He was rare, to me, on so many levels. One being that he was one of the few that I did let in. I trusted him with my heart and he knew it. I could be vulnerable, teachable , even pliable, not necessarily traits that come easily for me.
He lead and lived by example. He loved, as if he had never been hurt, as I white knuckled my way through love and friendship, both rough waters for me… I still recall the conversation about Trust; that when you give yourself to another and they abuse the trust you have given, it isn’t about YOU failing, it is their failing.. It doesn’t mean we don’t continue to trust and love and give…. “why would you change” he challenged. “You didn’t fail.” In that same conversation, sitting under the stars watching the lightening in the distance, debating how long we had until the storm reached us, or even if it would, I can still hear him saying, “If we let those people change us, we let them win.” It has been a fight to not let those people, hurts and disappointments change me. I think I will always hear him counsel me, when life gets hard. Even if it is from heaven.
I adored his playful side. I forget to play sometimes. I take things too serious. He knew that, and he often times gave me opportunity to take myself less serious. Like the time, I had my reporter hat on and we were at a dog clinic at the Edwards Ranch. He asked me to pick up a shovel and enter the arena.. Reluctantly I did so. He had the ducks turned out and told me to sort them guiding them with my shovel. Thinking that something profound was coming next, he said… “I just wanted to see if you could make the shovel mind….. ” He graded me with a D. He was so honorary… But we both laughed.
There are folks that knew him longer, but even in the short time that I had him in my life, I have stories… because he was ever present. When he was with you… he was 100% present. Leaving little pieces of himself in a million different ways.
My heart is absolutely broken today, yet I find comfort in knowing that so many are celebrating the fact that we knew him. That God allowed us to be graced by this man, to know and to experience what love is, and what it feels like. To be gently guided to take the high road, to walk in grace, to love without fear, to be present for one another.
If there were one thing I could say to Roger today, it would simply be, “You had me at hello.”