Why I'm here....

Since I've always been quick with an opinion an old friend once lost and again found suggested that perhaps I should share with more people my commentary. Never being one to pass on a challenge I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Laid to Rest: January 21, 2012

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life is bite my tongue.  It’s not in my nature and definitely not something my friends would characterize me for, but I did it today out of respect for two men.  One man still here and one man no longer with us, but both very deserving of respect.  I knew it would be hard.  I don’t say goodbye to those I love easily no matter how they may go.  I drove up to the church wondering what to expect, I half expect that is normal, as I walked up the walk way I felt light headed and a knot grew in the pit of my stomach.  A beautiful young girl, Rob’s Niece answered my walk by opening the door for me and welcoming me to his memorial.  Canvassing the room I found the faces that were familiar to me out of Rob’s family and saw a few tables that had flowers and pictures on them.  I decided to hang up my coat before greeting anyone.  As I was hanging up my coat a frail looking old man came towards me.  “Are you Sheila?”  He asked me.  Before he said it I knew exactly who he was from a photo I’d seen online.  “I’m Rob, Mikes dad, I mean I’m Rob’s dad.”  I replied by sticking out my hand and he grabbed me and hugged me.  I wasn’t at all certain how I felt about that but I didn’t pull away.  He thanked me again for all I had done for Rob and all I had done for Steve.  He then went on to say a child shouldn’t go first, who would have thought it.  I simply replied with as sickly as he was it had to be almost expected.  He again went on to talk to me about how badly Rob had not been taking his medications and how much medication he had in his apartment that he had to throw away.  His manor of saying it was almost accusatory as to say it was Rob’s fault he wasn’t here.  I saw no reason to inform him or correct him on the fact that doctors had asked Rob to stop taking some of the medications for a while so they could get him regulated again or to go from my own experience and say they often fill more than you need.  I have a ton of medications at home that would take me forever to take because the doctors order it in 30 day supplies yet have me taking it every other day.  You still fill it every month.  It accumulates.  I still found it an odd thing to think but dismissed it as possible unease due to the circumstances and perhaps even some lower level of guilt of his own on the way he had treated his son.  As soon as I walked away from him and back into the open room I was approached by Rob’s brother and given a hug and thanks for coming.  It was nice because it was sort of for a moment like Rob was there.  I feel the worst for Rob’s brother.  Those two genuinely loved each other with all their hearts.  I then looked over all the photos on the table and came across the box with Rob’s ashes in it.  For a moment my heart stopped as I looked down at the label that stated that inside this box are the remains of Robert M. Hogg.  I looked over the ribbons and his work badge and I signed the guest register then walked over and found a place to stand and wait.  Rob’s brother had told me that the family would be sitting on the right but that I could sit on that side with them or on the left with his dad and his dad’s wife.  I dismissed that out of my mind for a bit, finding it odd that they couldn’t put aside whatever differences for one day to all sit together as a family.  At this point a nice looking little old lady who I had noticed crying the whole time we were there came up to me and asked if I was Sheila.  It was Rob’s mom.  She hugged me.  I had been watching this woman and yes she was so wrong on so many levels for not having seen her son at Christmas and she was wrong for going all those years and not trying to add her son back into her life, but I couldn’t be angry at her.  The hurt and pain in her eyes was genuine.  I found myself liking her but still wishing she had talked with Rob before he died.  She said she hadn’t had the strength to look at the pictures and things on the table yet.  I simply told her “lets look at them together.”   I could have stood at that table forever because Rob’s ashes were there so somehow it was like he was there but I knew that would have been off.  After looking over the pictures and discussing them with his mom I excused myself to find the ladies room.  While in there I heard voices.  The one older woman was telling the younger one she appreciated her coming with her because she really didn’t want to be here.  I thought that an odd statement for anyone since no one liked being at memorials but it’s a respect issue and something you only do once for someone.  I was washing my hands when the ladies came out of their stalls.  The older one grabbed me and hugged me and said she was Rob’s step mom.  I said nice to meet you, pulled away and left immediately.  She looked exactly like I would have expected her to look.  The difference in the looks of the mom and the step mom were amazing.  The mom looked like a mom.  The step mom didn’t look like anyone I wanted to know, but I did know her for some reason.  I just can’t think of where I’ve seen her before yet but it will come to me I’m sure.  I walked into the chapel to take a seat and as I walked towards the alter there was a picture of Rob in uniform that made me start crying.  I  sat down three rows back on the right, behind where his family would be sitting.   Everyone was asked to stand and Scottish bagpipes started playing.  Rob’s brother carried the box with him in it down the isle and placed it on the table with his photo.  The speakers at Rob’s funeral were all men.  They were assembled from friends from his childhood, his brother and the minister.  They all told stories of childhood and playing games or of college times.  His brother told how Rob had wanted children but that at forty he had given up because he had never found the right woman, the one.  I knew that wasn’t right because Rob had told me Carrie was the one.  He thought about children with her but was afraid to have them because he was afraid they would be inflicted with his illness and he didn’t want to do that to a child.  Rob did love children very much.  He was hoping to be a part of a child's life that was just born to a woman friend of his back in late October or Early November.  It would have given him the time to be there for someone and nurture them which he loved to do as well.  I wonder if she knows he passed away or just thinks he abandoned the promise he made to be there for her.  I hope she would know he would never do that.  I cried a lot during those services for Rob.  I will miss him a lot.  I do miss him a lot.  He was a good friend who accepted me for who I was.  He accepted that friendship was what I had to offer and if more grew fine if it didn’t then we would still be there for each other.  Talking to several people though I realize Rob had deeper feelings for me than I knew, although I suspected.  I was told I had made his last few months happy and that he cherished time with me whether on the phone or computer or in person.  That made me smile.  At the end of the services Rob’s brother gave me a bag with the Net book I had let Rob borrow back in it, two pictures of Rob and I together and a card sighed with love from Sheila.  I wasn’t the Sheila who gave it to him.  Rob had told me about that Sheila.  He cared about her but wasn’t sure on some levels but she had hurt him.  They had filed for a marriage licence and they had a wedding date set but her mother didn’t like him.  He wondered what it was with mothers and why they didn’t like him.  My mother liked him just fine and said she was saddened by his death.  Her mother came between them and they broke up.  That had hurt Rob.  If she had loved him she would have chosen him.  I’m sure Rob’s brother had thought the card from me or he wouldn’t have given it to me.  The fact that Rob had held on to it meant it was special to him I believe.   The things I gave Rob were friendship and over the months of getting to know each other I had given him a colts bear and blanket for his birthday. Colts seat covers, a computer microphone, A Colts watch, a Star Trek book of remembrances and cologne.  Yes there was a theme.  Rob loved his Colts and he loved Star Trek.  It saddens me to think he’s not around to enjoy those things.  They are only material things though and it made me happy to see him smile when I gave them to him.  Rob didn’t smile much.  I was always telling him to smile.  I don’t think he felt well very often and I think he knew his time was winding down.  I just think he thought he had months to go, not days.  I have a lot of wonderful memories of him.  I still say he was a big kid in a grown mans body and that was part of the charm I loved about him.  He was so excited to show me Houston and Galveston.  That time will always be precious to me.  I can still see him grinning from ear to ear when I bought him a root beer float in Galveston when we stopped to take a breather and cool down.    That shop was fascinating and they had tons of old fashioned candies an ice creams, all of which of course Rob offered to buy me if I wanted but I knew money was tight and I didn’t need it so I bought him a float and myself an ice cream and we sat and enjoyed the break.    Rob also took me to see the gulf coast and we parked on the beach.  It was very windy that day and the waters were a little wild, but it was beautiful to see.  On that day we also went over to this aquarium to look at fish and sea lions.  Rob really seemed to be fascinated by these.  I noticed he had to sit and rest every little bit though.  It was hard for him I could tell and I know he probably pushed himself for me.    I learned a lot in those couple of days I spent with him.  He was lonely.  He missed Carrie and he missed his family but this is where his life was and where his work was. He was a proud man and he wanted to make it on his own.  I think he was courageous on so many levels.  I think a lot of people in the shape he was in with his heart would have been staying with someone or on disability and not trying to make it on their own.  I know it was hard for him.  He was looking forward to seeing his family but he so hoped his mom would see him.  He wanted to be welcomed into his dads home.  Neither of these really happened for him.  He stayed at the Days Inn off Washington when his dad and step mom had extra bedrooms.  I will never understand that one.  I only have one bedroom or I would have let him stay with me even though it would not have looked appropriate.  His mom never saw him.  His dad did please him by calling him out of the blue one morning and asking him to come over and they spent the day together.  I was all day cooking a special meal for Rob but he text and asked if I’d be hurt or upset if he stayed with his dad because he’d been invited to dinner.   He wanted to feel a part of his family so badly I could never have said I was even if I had of been.  Being with his dad was making him happy and being invited to dinner was an amazing thing to him.  I love that I got the time I did with him and I will cherish those memories.  It will haunt me forever though the memory of watching him drive away that morning on the 1st of January.  I heard from him all day.  He would give me updates on which airport and if it was on time.  He updated me when he landed in Houston and that he was awaiting a shuttle to take him home and he let me know when he got home and that he’d fed the boys.  His boys is what he called his cats.  It saddens me to think that at least two and maybe all three were put to sleep because that would have killed Rob.  So he’s been laid to rest at the foot of his great grandfathers grave in Goshen.  I wasn’t family so I wasn’t allowed to go to the grave site.  Another thing I think would have killed Rob but then it is what it is.  I have his “pig” collectibles that I will clean up and try to EBay for his brother.  One I’ll buy myself because he and I talked about it when I was in Houston and I found it amusing that a big guy like him would have a Miss Piggy on a Harley.  I have it on my desk at work, along with a picture of Rob and I and the paper from his funeral.   I know time will make things easier but for now it’s just hard not hearing from him and not being able to tell him about my day.  I suppose by writing this I am no really holding my tongue all that much, but I needed to write it down and get it out.  I needed to tell his story and mine.  I just know the hardest thing I ever did was say nothing when so many things went through my mind.  I’d rather have Rob back than any belongings.  I could sit through service with Satin sitting on my lap if it were for someone I loved.   I can’t imagine separating yourself out of old pettiness or worrying about what he did or didn’t do or what he did or did not leave to you.  Rob’s brother loved him.  After seeing his mother cry so hard and so much I believe she loved him although she should have told him.  His dad I have no clue.  I want to believe he did and on some levels I think he did but I’m not sure his son believed he did.  Hopefully he’ll do better by Rob’s brother over the years.  I will miss my friend Rob, but I will never forget him. 

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