Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Colossal Robert J

Yesterday, I went to the funeral for Bob. 

I have to say at the outset that Bob is my best friend’s dad and my other best friend’s father-in-law (yes, my two besties married each other.). There are many so layers of powerful emotion to sort through for all of us over the next year or two or lifetime, but for now in this space, today, this is my personal memorial to Bob—a space for my grief. 

Bob was a big guy. Seemingly giant stature, colossal hands, bold eyes, big voice—although he spoke less than the people surrounding him—when he spoke, he commanded. He had a slow way of speaking, a Southern drawl and was an economist of words. He was sharp as a tack, slightly (and slyly) irreverent, and incredibly kind but with a dry, wicked sense of humor—an individual; his own man and no one else’s—no lemmings allowed—always proud of the weird roads we travel.  And although he never said so, I know that he liked me very much. Kindred souls, him & me.

Bob was one of those people I checked in with from time to time.  We never phoned or went for coffee, but, when opportune, I would request advice or look to him for a signal of approval or frown. I trusted him as a checkpoint. I believe that there are people in the world that reflect better than any mirror. There are people, friends, lovers, mothers, best friend’s fathers that can see something in you that you can’t/won’t/are too busy to see in yourself. Bob was one of those mirrors.

Bob’s son, B, is my friend in all of this life (and certainly in the next one). B is also a mirror. Genetic trait? Some ancient caste? A long-forgotten curse? (Maybe some research is due here. Road trip?) Maybe it has something to do with knowing someone for most of his/her life—the ability to see and reflect what ever the hell is going on below the beautiful calm surface. I think it’s a higher calling. One of the gifts, a third eye, a super power—part receiver/part reflector. There are so many reasons that B and I are friends—almost 3 decades now—to many reasons to list. He is, for me, a true measure, an honest gauge in my life. If B is worried about me, I should be too. 

I’m lucky to have one of these men in my life, but blessed beyond belief to have known two.  Even though none of these words seem enough and I’ve already blown the economy principle, with my whole heart, I honor Bob. I cherish the way he loved my friend and his son. I’m grateful by his interaction in my life. I will miss him in my own quiet way. And we are much more alone knowing that he is not there to mirror, to chat, to listen, and to take up space in his favorite chair. Saying that Bob will be missed is so painfully true.

Bourbon up. Cheers to a real Southern gentleman. Safe travels, brother.

(P.S., Bob, if you are reading this, I’ll help M look after B. No worries.)

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