Posted by Felicia A. Petro on April 20, 2004 at 14:44:07:
I wish I hadn't taken so long to respond to Bob's death, but it has not been forgotten. I was very upset the weekend I learned of his passing. There was a funeral that weekend for the father of my two half-sisters. Their dad died the same day and time as my father. That weekend, I was opening mail I hadn't looked at for a while. One was the announcement of Bob's death. It was around Christmas.
I want to say how much Bob means to me. He spent countless hours on the phone answering questions I had about difficult things. He never thought any question was a bad question. He never ignored anything I asked. He was so patient in answering every single one. He filled the need I had to be fostered in my intellect. He encouraged me in my mind. I was too young and insecure to think anything good about myself at the time, but Bob was the first person in my life who nurtured my mind. He was the first to cause me to even consider that I was bright during a time when I was suffering from arrested development. I was in a hostile environment, where there was a lot of fighting and hardly any communication. I lived on the wrong side of the tracks. I felt different. I felt alone.
Bob answered my questions, even when they were painstakingly analytical, clouded, or below his maturity level. It was a dark period in my life, where significant people either ignored my need to communicate, abused it or didn't know how to handle me. I don't think Bob really knew that. I don't think we ever really talked about those things. And it's strange how the closest people in my life never knew about Bob. Yet, he was so important. He was like a beacon that lit through my dark place. Others came down the pike who helped me along in different ways, but Bob was always consistent and trustworthy. When he was suddenly taken, it was an insecure feeling because he was always there, even after we lost touch.
I'm now finishing my third degree by this summer. I'm a professional writer at a local, bi-weekly newspaper. And my thinking and communication skills have been sharpened since the days I was a young Christian hippie who heard a man and his wife speak about "A Tough Minded Christianity" during an arts and music festival in Illinois. Today, I challenge intellectuals who want to bash Christ or Christianity. My first exposure in learned how to do that was through Bob (and times when Gretchen would get on the line, too).
I will never forget him, or Gretchen or the kids (who aren't so little now). I know one day we will all be together with our Lord, and others who have gone before us. I'm sure Bob and my dad have met by now in this place where there is no weeping, no mourning, no more questions -- in this place of utimate peace and love and joy. Yes, come Lord Jesus.
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