My friend, Roger, died on Tuesday.
This was expected, but it does not make it any easier, of course.
He had MS for a long time, and it came to the point where his body just couldn't keep up anymore.
I met him in middle school - he was my friends father. I knew him in this way for a long time (you know, in that way you know your friend's dad) but after I graduated from college, he and his wife asked me do a presentation on lions to their book club. Then they asked me to join.
I can't tell you what this meant to me. It felt like being allowed to join some sort of secret society, though the book club was anything but secret. As the youngest by about a generation, I felt like being asked to join was a great honor. The book club consisted of smart, heady group of people who always seemed to read and understand the books on an entirely different plane. Every meeting was a learning experience for me, and the few times I had knowledge to impart to the group, they listened intently to me.
That's what Roger did though - he connected people. While he was limited physically he was never limited mentally, and compensated for the physical with the mental 100-fold. He knew SO much, and if he hadn't experienced something, he usually knew someone who had, and knew how to get you two together to talk or email.
He had a great sense of humor too - I walked into his house one day and his back was to the door. I said "hello everyone" and he said "Is that Nancy?" Knowing he loved a dirty joke here and there, I walked around to face him and said "No it's me...but you can call me Nancy if you want." He laughed and laughed and then made me repeat that to everyone as they came in. That's how I'm going to remember him - quick to laugh, lover of a good joke, strong spirit, amazing courage, and quick wit. That was Roger.