Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A tribute to Rodger
As I said in the previous post, I found out that my chiropractor, and friend died on Friday May 16,2008.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Our Bishop says he has known several who have had it, and no one he has known has ever made it past 102 days. Rodger didn't make it to that mark.
He was such a good man. Besides his full-time job as Chiropractor, he was the Family History Director for as long as I can remember. He was very knowledgeable in computers and Family History. He was very kind and good with people and served many hours there. He also served on the High Council in our Stake, as Fire Chief of our local Fire Department. He also ran for and was voted into the City Council at that last election in November. He served for many years on Thursdays in the Temple as well. He also served as our Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher.
I never heard a word of complaint. I remember once I had a pinched nerve in my neck. I went to him to see if he could fix it. He worked for weeks, and I cried on his "shoulder" about how bad it was. It was Rodger who finally helped me cure it after 5 months of agony. He mentioned that he wished he could prescribe ultra sound. I had never heard of that being used to heal, usually it was to see how big the baby is, and tell the gender. He said an MD had to prescribe it, and I asked him which doctor in town would go along with his advice. He told me, and I went to that doctor. He was reluctant, but went along with it and after the first session I could feel a definite difference. After 6 treatments in the space of two weeks I was cured. Thanks Rodger. At the time I was serving with his wife in the Relief Society and in the Genealogy Library as well. I was thinking about quitting everything, but because of Rodger I was able to continue everything. Towards the end of his life, when the hospice workers were assessing his pain. They asked him how he would rate his pain, the worst being 10, the least being 1. His reply? "If 10 is what the Savior felt when He was on the cross, then I am a 1." And I complained and cried with a pinched nerve.
He and I had long talks, between the chiropractor visits and the Family History work. We were sort of kindred spirits in that we both love to travel. This man was amazing. He spoke French. He served a mission in France and majored in French. I remember once my husband mentioned to Rodger that he just got done reading the unabridged version of Les Miserables. My husband was so proud of having slogged his way through hundreds of pages of French history. Rodger said he had read it too, in French!
Today in the funeral, the Stake President mentioned his last visit with Rodger. He asked him if he could do anything for him. After a long pause, Rodger said he wanted his family to understand how much he loved them, but how after mourning, he wanted them to get on with life and not stay stuck in the mourning state. Then he mentioned he wanted his Temple Recommend renewed. Lastly, he bore his testimony of his knowledge that Jesus is our Savior, he died for us and because of this we all will be able to be resurrected and live with God again. He wanted his children to hear his testimony and asked the Stake President to speak at his funeral and convey this to them. I have to say, it was a "15-Kleenex-tissue funeral." A record for me.
A fitting tribute to him was the firemen of our local volunteer fire department who came in dress uniform. There were about 15 of them sitting in a row in the back. A large fire truck and a medium fire truck led the way and another SUV fire truck transported the casket to the cemetery. What Kleenex I hadn't used up at the funeral were finished off with this sweet tribute.
The image I will always have of Rodger is of he and Mary walking in the early hours of the morning past my house. Getting fit, talking and enjoying life together.
I always appreciated his kindness. The words I most often heard him say were "I understand." He has left a very large gaping hole in this community which will never be filled again. I am glad for this Canadian's life, and that he chose to spend over 20 years in this community. I am glad for my close association with him and his family.
His life and his sudden death have taught me two things:
1. I want to live a more Christ-like life.
2. I want to be sure I tell all those around me that I love them and cherish my association with them.
May God Bless you Rodger, and your dear sweet family. God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again.