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Roger Elwood Strassner.
He is my stepfather.
30 years ago I was pregnant with my second child when my mother's hair dresser arranged for their blind date.
He joined us for Easter dinner. My mother cautioned us not to embarrass her . . . to no avail. When my first son filled his diaper at the dinner table, I turned to ask, "Christopher, are you packing a load?"
It didn't take long for us to learn that Roger had a twisted sense of humor just like the rest of us. He fit right in.
I lost my biological father three years ago. I love him. I miss him. I find myself longing, still, for all that might have been. For many reasons, he did not have the capacity to return the reach when I extended my arms. (Although he did on his death bed.) A memory I cherish.
Roger . . . . "Rodge"; aka Grandpa Rah Rah--he was my daddy. My head tells me I should be doing "more." Instead, I allow my heart time each day to grieve the unexpected loss of a man I loved dearly. Dearly. It's odd how grief comes in waves. How one minute I feel at ease and the next I'm crying in the bread isle at Walmart. (The man loved to grocery shop at Walmart.)
When the pilot program for a class-room series on forgiveness was approved at my parish, Roger said, "Kick ass, kid." Who's going to encourage me with swear words when I'm nervous about starting something new? Who's going to drink German beer with me and ignore my mother as she counts the bottles we throw into the bin? Rodge was diabetic and mom didn't think beer was a good idea even after his doctor (also German) said, "Oh, a couple of beers aren't going to hurt him."
I miss him so. He passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on October 9, just a few days before my next visit. I'd already purchased the ingredients for meatloaf. One of his favorites. I'd already planned to pick up his German beer.
My heart is broken. This is his favorite time of year. Chilly weather. Fall color. Home cooked meals. Music. Birds. Deer. (Their house is nestled in the woods.) His love for nature makes every gift of nature somehow greater than I already believe it to be.
Please join me in prayer for the repose of his soul.
Roger was good to me. As you know, I endured a lot of "not good" in my youth.
Roger was a good man--and good to me.
Good. To. Me.
There's a hole in the universe because he is not here.
I'm so aware . . .
God Almighty, I miss him.
Peace and good, Rodge. Welcome to the Light. Heaven trumps Pennsylvania. I promise to wear your shirt when the Cowboys play the Eagles, eat potato chips, and drink beer.
The memory of you will shine in my heart forever. See you again on the other side.
Praise to God for loving fathers; for good men.
Published on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 @ 5:36 PM CDT