“It was sudden. He never knew what happened.”
Sudden death is such an intriguing term to me. Isn’t death always sudden? It certainly is immediate. I guess we term it that when someone passes without a journey through disease or as an effect or result of a prolonged process. It is sudden in that one moment a person is alive and responsive and the next they have left the human experience with no notice of an imminent departure.
My friend Roger died suddenly. One moment he was here, and then suddenly he was not. He put on his shoes and he went outside to do we do not know what. He went outside by himself, and with no notice or fanfare he suddenly left the planet. He suddenly left throngs of people who were then suddenly notified that he was no longer here. The impact of the suddenness was for me enormous. No time to prepare. No time to ready. No time to cushion or reason or soften. Just a sudden call of a sudden death leaving a sudden void.
It is said we die the way we have lived. I have witnessed evidence of that repeatedly. Yet perhaps never as clearly as with Roger.
I don’t recall the details of how Roger entered my life and heart. Suddenly, Roger was there.
There was something quite sudden about Roger. He was brilliant, caring, creative, funny, unfiltered, authentic. If Roger had not been so completely real, he would have been unnerving to me. I never knew what he was going to say. He seemed to have no pretense whatsoever. He would have a thought, a feeling, a response and he would share it. Suddenly there was Roger. Being Roger. It was never in my experience unkind. It was never mean or calculated. It was not premeditated. It was Roger being his glorious, perfectly imperfect sudden self.
Others think about what they might do to help others, to help the world. While others were thinking Roger was doing. There was a need and then there was a sudden solution in the form of Roger. His spirituality had Nikes on. Roger put his whole sudden self into everything he did. His art. His music. His writing. His caring. His service. His environmental concerns. His loving.
Roger loved suddenly and relentlessly. He loved his wife Linda. He loved his mother. He loved his daughter, his chosen-son, his family. He loved his dogs. Roger loved his community, his church, his friends. Golfing, cooking, serving, singing, creating something where there was nothing. Spaces became suddenly filled with Roger. With Roger’s love.
Roger loved loving.
Roger died suddenly of a too-large heart.
Of a too large heart.
Roger cried easily and shamelessly. His heart and tear ducts had a clear and unobstructed connection. I will always love and appreciate that about Roger. Unfiltered Roger would weep at beauty, transcendence, goodness, Truth. That big, open, glorious heart would spill forth streams of loving, caring, compassion. It startled some people. It only inspired me. Roger would often say what I didn’t dare to say. Roger would let the tears flow when I might try to hold them back. Roger would seize the opportunity while I was still looking for the possibility.
Suddenly Roger was in my life. And now suddenly he is gone.
Physically he is gone.
Roger’s heart, caring, love, tears, uniqueness, rawness live on in me. Traces of Roger will always be a part of my own heart. I know that I am different because suddenly Roger came into my life. And I am different because suddenly he died.
I am somehow more.
I memorialize Roger by being more unfiltered. By laughing fully and crying freely. By being even more engaged in life, in love, in giving, in creating. By loving with more abandon and less pretense. By being unabatingly real. Genuine. Sudden.
I remember my dear friend Roger by being more sudden.
Thanks, my Raja. You are forever a part of me.