In memory of Bob
A true story.
It was in spring of two thousand when I first saw Bob. I’d just started working at Perth Dental hospital, and in fact it was my first day there. I walked up to the front door of this building, but it wasn’t yet opened. So I turned around and went to sit in the bus shelter which was just outside the building. As I went to sit down I noted a dark skinned gentleman sitting there with a happy, benign look on his face. He was about five feet eight give or take a little, and he was rather a thickset man who looked like he’d done his fair share of hard work in his sixty years or more.
There was something about this Gentleman that I could not quite put my finger on. He had a certain charisma about him; not the phony kind of charisma that one seen in the car salesman or the philanderer who messes with women’s heads, no, Bob had a kind of friendly smile for everyone that he met, and he seemed to draw people into him with his love, and gigantic heart. I knew as soon as I met him that Bob was most definitely for me.
As Bob looked at me and smiled, the whole world seemed to open up. He said “Ow ya going mate” in a loud ebullient manner, then we started to chat. Bob was like myself, a thinker, and straight away we started philosophizing about this, that, and the other, and it was like we had known each other forever. Then all of a sudden I found Bob talking about death, and the difference in the way the Maori people faced death, compared to the rather the silly way us white folk look at the subject with great fear in our hearts. Now this had always interested me, and somehow it just seemed natural to talk to this Maori gentlemen on this subject, and we spoke about it till the doors opened and it was time to work.
I don’t think anything happens just by chance, and I definitely have this feeling that Bob and I were meant to meet, and I really think this was a major destiny thing. I have found during the course of my life, that as I am aging, I can feel something pushing me into a certain direction, and I always felt that Bob was part of all this; and I had much to learn from him. Although I have never believed in organized religion, and never followed one I have always felt deeply spiritual, and I have met many people who I learned from, and Bob was most definitely one of them with all his great wisdom and patience. As I came to know Bob, we had many dialogues together, on many subjects. Bob used to love music and could always have time to plonk away on his guitar. He used to come round to my place and we would play songs together, though both he and I were no Eric Clapton’s, I would bang around on my guitar and play the harp, while we would both take out turns at singing. We’d have a smoke or a beer or two, and we’d play songs all day long, ahhh, I remember those days well, the memories are so strong.
Bob was one hell of a man, I could tell that he had been a wild one in his youth,
But when I knew him in his sixties he was an icon of wisdom and virtue; he had a kind word for everyone, and gave all his time to anybody who needed him, always.
He used to hear me waffling on like an idiot, trying to make him like me [as I always did] but never once did he tell me how foolish I was, he would just smile knowingly at me. He used to stand there at the window for hours, just drinking in the trees, or the clouds in the sky, and yet he was so aware, I used to try to sneak up on him; it couldn’t be done. His awareness was incredible.
Then one day Bob fell ill with terminal cancer, and he knew that he had very little time left on this Earth. He lay there sick for days in intolerable pain, but you never heard one complaint from him, even when he only had days to live, he was still worrying about the welfare of others. When the day finally come for Bob to leave his shell; he was lying there in deep sleep, when all of a sudden he woke up, with a smile on his face. His children asked him ‘Dad, do you want some pain killers” Bob laughed, compassion written all over his face, and he said to them ‘Not one of you has a clue, have you’ and he died with a big smile on his face.
His daughter got in touch with me, and told me about his death, and also told me that his last wish was to have me watch his soul leave his body. I felt very honored about this and went and sat with his body [as Maoris do]. I got the most peaceful feeling come to me [which I presume was his spirit leaving his body] as I watched his silent body, a Mari war stick and a beautiful rose lay across his chest. I still see it, and I feel blessed by it. He was my Maori warrior, and I adored the man.