Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The death of a friend can take one by surprise and after our initial emotions are done flowing, most of us reflect on our own lives and contemplate our own end as if we are constructing the basis of a novel that few will read. We are all but a drop of rain in a big pond, but for some, the ripples that will emanate from that drop as it strikes the surface can go on for a long time. In some cases they will reverberate from shore to shore many times having an untold affect on the stillness of the body of water which it strikes. I suppose this is my metaphor, describing how we all have an effect on those around us.
Bruce Robertson, left Sitka, AK on a hunting trip on August 25th and just before he left he posted the following on his Facebook page:
Today is the day! heading out to the woods to chase deer. If you don't hear from me, it's only because a bear got to me. Will post photos later. Have a good day
everyone! Mom, I love you!
Those last four words are so powerful and so important. I got into the habit a few years ago of saying I love you to my kids and sisters whenever we finish talking either in person or on the phone. My first born is still uncomfortable with that because I am sure that when he was a little kid I didn't say it much and for that I am sorry son. I have an idea that a number of people that were close enough to Bruce to feel the ripples of his life will say "I love you," more often. Consider it a beautiful reminder and a gift from Bruce, I know that his mother does.
Bruce failed to return from his hunting trip. On August 30th, he was discovered at the base of a ravine by friends and search and rescue personnel. The announcement was made on his Facebook page by Gary White in a heartfelt way. Gary pointed out that Bruce was doing what he loved to do; he was hunting in some of the most beautiful country in the world. Bruce was truly a real Alaskan outdoorsman and what better way for him to depart this life and send out that last ripple. As fitting as it was Bruce, that ripple kept a number of people under water for a bit too long, mainly because it came too soon my friend, it just came too soon.
Since Bruce's last ripple spread throughout the pond, some of his very close friends and relatives struggle to reach the surface, and I worry about them. The message from Bruce is that you must take advantage of his strength and remember how tall he stands. Stand on his shoulders until you reach the surface and breathe, you will be okay.
Something strange about writing this story, one of the few people I would normally be sending this to for an opinion was Bruce. We exchanged a number of writing projects looking for approval of our written thoughts, and ideas, pardon me as I prepare for another one of Bruce's ripples.
Bruce did not choose the time of his passing but if he had, it would have been at the end of an August month while he was hunting in the mountains that surround Sitka Alaska. In a number of ways that is a comforting thought. For me, a nice fall day would be preferable. I love the color and smell of fall just like Bruce loved the smells and challenges of a good hunt in his beloved Alaska Mountains and one more thing, thanks Bruce for choosing our pond, love you buddy!
Bruce Robertson 1969-2010