We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Sometimes it was a Triathlon with biking, but most often just a Biathlon, 7-10 mile run race and a one mile swim race across and back Long Pond in Wellfleet. Last time I did that I almost drowned trying to keep up with my brother, who is a Master Swimmer, a world competitor. We have Bookish-Athletes in my family. And Good Olde Cape Cod. Bob loved it. Heaven for him. We always angled our morning runs through the ancient graveyards...
Often, the youth would bike along while the grown ups ran, until they got strong enough to keep up with the runs. Sometimes 20+ people on the road, including kids. An annual August family ritual for my extended family. Mrs. BD never participated. She thinks we're all crazy.
I named the race after my brother-in-law Bob because he was the fire of the event. A fit, strong, skinny Vietnam Navy vet who ran 5 miles every morning, biked, skiied, and swam like a fish. Giants fan, Red Sox fan. Ardent Dem, but I never hold that against anybody (tho they tend to hold my views so against me - so ungracious and intolerant). Bob would just grin with his handsome, manly grin.
Bob loved hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A relentless hiker like my sis. But I think his favorite thing was distance swimming. He would jump into any body of water he encountered, and take off for a distant shore. He was a fast swimmer. He and I were/are body-surfing addicts. Endless laughs. And water football in Wellfleet Harbor. And fishing for Bluefish. Sheesh, just so much fun and activity over the years.
Like his wife, my eldest sis, he never considered retiring because of the cash-flow desire for their annual Cape Cod, Caribbean (St. John) and European trips. Plus they have used the Farm in MA all year for hiking and cross-country skiing and everybody had to support that.
Our urban hiking and country hiking pals were all fond of Bob for his dry humor, his warmth, his energy, and his general positiveness about life. An easy guy to love and enjoy. People loved to get near him. That gift of good cheer and wit is from God.
Bob worked hard and played hard. His work had him doing international travel every two weeks. One thing about Bob is that he was always up for anything and easily took everything in stride. The Go-Go-Hi-Ho attitude I admire. And he was always up to date on books too, using the Sunday Times book review as his guide. A book per week guy like me. On Sunday mornings he would run 3 miles for the Sunday Times, toss it in his daypack, and run home for coffee. He and my sis were book people, no TV. Two lads, both wonderful and doing their own things happily in Colorado and Canada, who I used to ski with. Crazy skiers, wild.
That sis and he had a movie and dinner date nite out once per week. No more. Our dear Bob died this week, far too young, with a massive stroke. All I can think is that he was the first of our hiking crew up the daunting Labyrinth at Mohonk just a few weeks ago. That was a fine memory to hold on to. Jokes and beers, etc. after with our big hiking crew, with the amazing Mohonk late brunch.
RIP dear pal. There will be a big hole in the table at Thanksgiving this year. Your care and attention to my ageing parents is something I will never forget. And who will dry the dishes after my brother washes them all? That was always your job, Bob.
After age 50, it's all a matter of chance. Prepare for the worst, and Carpe Diem, friends, without gloominess but with good cheer.
I'll be the best support I can be for that sis of mine, but she hates emotional support.
On Grief: The depth of my pain, mirrors the depth of my love. I acknowledge it and move forward each day. I wake with it, and I sleep each night with it. I do not love it, nor do I hate it, it simply exists within me until it doesn't. In the shadows of my heart it resides this heavy sorrow, this loss. But I am grateful, yes grateful, for I experienced that deepest well of true love. How could I feel such grief if it were not so.
I'm sorry that your friend is gone so suddenly, and too soon - but there are worse ways to go.
For example, is it really a blessing to have, instead of one massive stroke, a series of smaller ones? A hospital stay followed by a few months of speech therapy and physical therapy while you are utterly exhausted, struggling to get back to 80% or 90% of what you could do before, followed a few years later by another small stroke, another hospital stay, then more months of PT and ST, and struggling back again, trying to achieve a lower plateau, and wondering when the NEXT one will knock you a few more steps down the ladder?
I had an old friend who had in his youth been one of the few Jewish POWs in a Nazi POW camp, having bailed out of his B-17 over Germany. Survived and came home whole and fit, and had a long career as a firefighter. Then the first stroke... And then another, and another, until finally, he spent the last couple of years sitting in his wheelchair, unable to speak, almost blind. He rests in Arlington now, but his memory haunts me - having taken two steps down that ladder myself.
I wonder; when the next stroke comes, do I really WANT to survive it? Or do I hope to step off the ladder entirely? I will ponder that question while I wait....
Sounds like Bob had a good life and a quick end. That may have been merciful. But I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.
BD, sorry to hear of the great loss of your b-i-l. Even more shocking since he was so healthy and vital till the end. Guess we never know at this point, but can be grateful for each new day....seems especially hard to lose a fav loved one at this time of year. Sincere wishes to you and your family.