Dear Friends and family:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
††††††††††† I am writing to respond to so many of you who wrote or called after Rogerís obituary appeared in The Baylor Line and to update those of you are often on my mind, but seldom in my company.
††††††††††† It has now been nearly a year since Roger passed away.† Those words have such a sense of unreality to them Ė probably always will.† In many ways, the girls and I were violently launched on a trip from which we can never return on that day in October.† And we have seen such strange, and strangely beautiful, territory.† Weíve had days of wild emotional lurching and days of aching emptiness.† But there have been little glimmers of peace, too.†† Your prayers have been companions of comfort through these months.† My mantra at those moments is a line from Kahlil Gibran:† ďThe deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.Ē† Even so, there are days when Iíd be happy with a little less potential joy.
††††††††††† I know some of you did not know Roger well, and even if you knew us a s a couple, you probably didnít get much of a chance because I was the verbal half of our equation.† But I would like to share a bit of him with you.†† He was the proverbial unseen bloom:† few knew the depth of his creative, calm, intelligent strength.† Ten years ago he attended the funeral of a casual acquaintance.† His thoughts began to wander and several days later his family and I received this letter (which Iíve excerpted a little):†
††††††††††† Roger writes:† During the funeral I wondered how I would feel if someone else were in the coffin in front of me, someone I cared a lot more about.† Sorry, Mom and Dad, but you two were the first to ďgo inĒ.† I know this is strange, but in that moment my overwhelming emotion was one of pride in you two as people.† I canít possibly imagine my life with you being any better than it was.† I thank you and love you more than youíll ever know.† I looked around at all the people from my past who would be at your funerals, in body or in spirit, and I got the most incredibly warm feeling from that group of souls.
††††††††††† Of course, there is no guarantee that you guys are going to be the next in line.† I put myself in the coffin.† One of the reasons for this letter is for you all to know, without a shadow of a doubt, if I should precede any or all of you to the other side, that I truly believe my own life must have equaled or exceeded any on this planet in terms of quality.
††††††††††† No matter what happens in the future, no matter what I must endure, the beauty and magnificence of life on this earth in this country at this time with all the people, family and friends that I have shared journey with so far . . . well, all I can say is ďThank you, God, for all our many blessings.Ē
††††††††††† I approach death with absolute peace and no regrets.† Donít yaíll forget.
††††††††††† As I type these words, tears are running down my face and I have a very dry feeling in my throat.† I donít believe this emotion is sadness or pain, but some blessing beyond both.† And Iím back to gratitude† . . . to my parents, to God and to you all.† Itís been great.† Love Roger.
††††††††††† Whatever his failings, Roger was a prince of a man, and I pray this is how he lives in your memory.†† My deep wish is that Rogerís death may glorify God and be instrumental to His ultimate purpose.† He would have wanted that, too.†† I thank God for the strength and peace your many thoughts and prayers have afforded us over these months.† I pray his richest blessings on you all.