Thursday, February 10, 2011

Please leave a short message for my friend: America's lost a hero.........

.....and this hero isn't anybody you know.  I didn't know him, either.  This hero's mother is a dear friend of mine.  Her son was diagnosed with cancer about 8 years ago, four months after having married the girl of his dreams.

This isn't his name, but I'm going to call this hero Rob because I want to protect his family's anonymity.  I wanted you to know about this man because he was smart, brave, funny, kind, giving, and lived and died a hero.  I think most policemen are heroes but Rob was special.  Rob was a policeman in a city some distance South of where I live and he did his job and he did more than that.  He was so loved by his fellow cops that they kept vigil at his home the whole three weeks he was in hospice care, having returned from the hospital to be at home with his wife and one-month old daughter when the end came. Yes, I said one month old daughter, born coincidentally on my birthday, born by amazing technology, and born 3 weeks early, as healthy as a little girl can be, born in time for her daddy to get to see and hold her for the 3 weeks until he left her and her mom to live in their hearts for the rest of their lives. In those last, sad weeks that he was under hospice care, his wife would put the baby in the crook of his arm and he would caress her and Daddy and his little girl would sleep together like that.  His colleague cops say they can't wait till his little girl is old enough to understand because they're eager to tell her what a great daddy she had.

I think Rob suffered more than anybody I have ever known.  Every time he finally sort of recovered from each setback which prompted really horrid, invasive surgeries and treatments, he'd go back to the work at the police force with neuropathy and nausea and worse. It was very hard for his mother and wife and friends to see what he was going through but, from what I've heard of his character, I think it was probably harder for him to know how much his mother and wife suffered watching his discomfort.

Rob worked almost to the end.   He was a hard worker, responsible, and dedicated to his calling. And he did more than just his job. His fellow cops tell his family that he would buy sandwiches and pass them out to homeless people on his beat.  Typical of what he'd do, he frequently visited an old lady who lived in a small trailer to make sure she had enough food and was doing okay and, when she heard he was on his death bed, she visited him, holding his hand while she sat by the hospital bed they had installed in the dining room of his home.  He fed stray cats, paid for vet care for poor peoples' animals, and bought cat and dog food for them.  He also helped the homeless with food and shelter when he could.  He was known by his colleagues and the people on his beat for having an extraordinary heart, so giving to everyone, so caring to stray animals. 

His mother raised Rob by herself, with no help from anyone; she gave him faith in Jesus Christ, she gave him love of this great country, she gave him good character, and she gave him what it takes to be a man.  His mother was with him when this hero took his last breath.  She's my hero, too. 

Please pray for my friend and her family......I know you don't know who they are, but God does.
Thanks a million.


Karen Howes said...

May Rob's memory be eternal!

Anonymous said...

" ... born in time for her daddy to get to see and hold her for the 3 weeks until he left her and her mom to live in their hearts for the rest of their lives. In those last, sad weeks that he was under hospice care, his wife would put the baby in the crook of his arm and he would caress her and Daddy and his little girl would sleep together like that."

How beautiful that is, Z! He loved life. He loved his family. He did his duty. He treated everyone kindly and generously. He gave his newborn child a foundation of love and left his wife and their baby a magnificent legacy. Better than that no one could hope to do.

Rob will live on in the hearts of those who loved him, and his presence will continue to guide and sustain them, because even though his life (by our standards) was much too brief, he did it right.

To love truly and unstintingly and to be loved in return is the greatest thing we could hope for in our earthly lives. Perhaps God took Rob at such a young age, because he had already fulfilled the purpose of his existence?

What Rob gave will endure as long as he is remembered with gratitude and affection by those who knew and loved him.

Emily Dickinson left us many profound statements of distilled truth and wisdom:

You left me, sweet,
Two legacies --
A legacy of Love
A heavenly Father would content
Had He the offer of.

You left me boundaries of pain --
Capacious as the sea --
Between eternity and Time
Your consciousness -- and me.

Life is a paradox. We cannot experience joy unless we also experience grief. The two polar opposites are necessary components of life. They complement and balance each other.

To bear our griefs with dignity, to remain always considerate of others, despite our personal suffering, and to remember always to be grateful for everything good we've ever had is our duty -- and the key to finding inner peace and ultimate fulfillment.

Thank you, Z, for bringing us this touching story. It helps remind us what's truly important in life.

"... Parting is all we know of Heaven --
And all we need of hell."

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

May Rob rest in peace.

My condolences to his family and friends who all love him so.


Susannah said...

Oh dear. What a poignant family story you've shared with us. They will, indeed, by in my prayers.

Opus #6 said...

I am so sorry to hear of this great loss. What a wonderful life he lead. I am glad that he was at least able to see and hold his own child before he left us. I don't understand why God takes away the good ones like this. :-(

cube said...

May everyone who knew this wonderful man keep his memory alive so that his daughter can one day know the sterling character of the man who was her father.

Opus #6 mirrors my thoughts. With so many evil people in the world that no one would miss for one second, why does God take people like Rob?

Z said...

Thanks, everyone..
I know what Opus and Cube mean....but I was thinking, there were so many "God things" associated with this the baby being born early, and many other things, that I figure "If God is in those good things, he's in what seems awful to us, too"
I wish we knew what GOd's up to half the time!

Right Truth said...

Oh my, sounds like such a magnificent family and hero. When I read stories like this, I wonder how many other similar stories are out there that we will never hear about.

Thanks for sharing and my best to the mother, wife, daughter.

Right Truth

Anonymous said...

He has a very special place in the hearts of all who knew him.


MathewK said...

Sounds like a wonderful human being Z. Thanks for letting us know. Rest in peace.

Faith said...

What a great Christian soul. I'm so glad he got to see his baby.

Anonymous said...

I think I know who you're talking about--the mother that is. She'll be in my prayers. If she's who I'm thinking it is, I found her to be warm and welcoming without drawing attention to herself--the type of person that makes you feel less tense.


christian soldier said...

What a lovely tribute to a friend-and his family ---


Brooke said...

A tragedy, but at least he got to hold his baby and his wife could deliver while he was still there.

I'm going to go get a tissue, now.

RedWood said...

You're tribute says it all.

Enough said.

Z said...

tio, is the lovely woman you know...I'll tell her you remember her.

Thanks, everyone...I know my friend will read these and draw comfort from the comments. I really appreciate all of your kind sentiments. xxx

Z said...

tio...Rob's mother remembers you well and thanks you very much xx

Anonymous said...

i remember talking to her a couple times...i think. when i was out there, there was a retirement party (i think you read a letter to the honoree). i'm not certain, but i think the mother was the person putting up decorations for that party. she asked me to hang some decorations from a tree because i could reach higher than she could. i remember thinking that her gratitude far exceded my effort.

the other time was one of the last wednesdays i was there. a lot of times people say "thanks for coming" or "glad you came" to be polite. i don't know if she used such words, but i got the message "glad you came" more than if she had just said it. talking to her made me feel, well, glad i came (more so, that is).

funny what we remember. in this case, i remember a welcoming and grateful lady.


Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your friend's loss, Z ... I shall remember her in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Much love to this family.
Rob's courage and dignity is admirable and it is my hope that this family will have a heritage of love and togetherness for many generations.

Anonymous said...

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet now I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven --
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if a chart were given.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Anonymous said...

Let nothing disturb thee;
Nothing affright thee.
God never changeth.
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things.
In whom God pleaseth
In nothing is lacking.
Alone God sufficeth.

~ St. Teresa - Lines written in her breviary
As translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

May God forever bless Rob and the dear family he left behind. May He given them strength, courage, confidence and serenity till they are reunited in Heaven.

"Earth has no sorrow that Love cannot heal."

A. Wellwisher

Anonymous said...

Death, be not proud,
though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful,
for thou art not so;
For those whom thou
think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death,
nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep,
which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then
from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men
with thee do go,
Rest of their bones,
and soul's delivery.

Thou art slave to fate, chance,
kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison,
war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms
can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke;
why swell'st thou then?

One short sleep past,
we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more;
Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne - 17th Century English poet and cleric

Anonymous said...

The Return from Town

As I sat down by Saddle Stream
To bathe my dusty feet there,
A boy was standing on the bridge
Any girl would meet there.

As I went over Woody Knob
And dipped into the hollow,
A youth was coming up the hill
Any maid would follow.

Then in I turned at my own gate,
And nothing to be sad for
To such a man as any wife
Would pass a pretty lad for.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
(from The Harp-Weaver, 1923)

To have experienced the kind of satisfaction Millay evokes here means you have enjoyed the best that life has to offer. Few do, so please cherish the dear memory, and be glad for what you've had. It will be sure to bless you for the rest of your mortal days. Remember him with gratitude and he will never leave you. Believe me, I know.

A. Wellwisher

elmers brother said...

I'm sorry about your friend Z. This hits home in too many ways for me to express.

May God grant peace and comfort to his family.

elmers brother said...

If God is in those good things, he's in what seems awful to us, too"

so well said Z.

Anonymous said...

" ALL things work together for good to those who love God."

To question that would be an insult to God, for if He truly is almighty, all-knowing, and ever-present, we have no choice but to accept whatever comes our way -- no matter how undesirable it may seem at the moment -- with good grace and gratitude.

He works in mysterious ways, and it is not given to us to understand His motives or to judge His activities.

Rejoice in the Lord alway
And again I say rejoice.
Be careful for nothing,
But in everything
With prayer and supplication
And thanksgiving
Let your requests
Be made known unto God.
And the peace of God,
Which passeth all understanding,
Shall keep your hearts and minds
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Great comfort and peace comes through the meek acceptance of things we have no power to change.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Ye now are sorrowful;
but I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.

- JOHN 16

As a mother comforts her child
so will I comfort you.
Behold with your eyes:
But for a little while
have I known Sorrow and labor
and found much rest.


Danny Wright said...

I'm so sad to hear this story, especially of the daughter who will not remember her father. As Christians we should be heartened that we do not suffer in vein.

Anonymous said...

Ghost House

by Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me--
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,--
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.

May these verses someday bring you the comfort of knowing that someone understands what you must be going through. Empathy is all I have to offer. I pray it be accepted in the compassionate spirit in which it has been given. God bless you and your little child.

A. Wellwisher

Z said...

Everyone, thanks so much.

I just spoke to Rob's mother and she specifically said to tell each and every one of you how much your comments meant to her..the poetry, the messages of faith, the well-wishing...she's printed out my article and your comments and said to tell you how grateful she is.

God bless you all. Z

Anonymous said...

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the end of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life's been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one' touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.


Unknown said...

This real testimony inspires me. I'm glad he is now with The Lord and he isn't suffering, in pain nor any illness. We don't understand The Lord's ways but I'm sure it was the best for him. To his mom: The Lord is bringing you comfort to your heart. To his wife and daughter: it is only: "see you later" and not "bye for ever". You all are blessed because The Lord is with you all and if he brings you to it, he will bring you through it. We are lifting you up in our prayers!