October 11, 2008
It was sunny that day. I remember the top I had on and I remember that I never wore it again after that day. I remember sitting at the light heading to Southeast when mom got the call saying they were taking you to the medical center instead. There was confusion because they thought you were having a stroke. Thank God that paramedic made the call to head to the medical center.
Everything that day was strategic yet slow. Looking back it had to be God every step of the way. I love telling your story, dad! You are a walking miracle. One who was placed here and given so many chances at life… the dissection, the bike wrecks, the other issues and stays in the hospital.. God has you here!
You had gone to coach the little league football team and mom and I were going to run errands. Nelson called and said you went down on a knee complaining of back pain and shortness of breathe. It was concerning because you were never the type of man to complain unless it was bad. So we knew it must’ve been bad.
We got to the hospital and they wouldn’t let us see you yet. Then they yelled “Roeber, next of kin”. Never more powerful and scarier words had been spoken. Mom, Brandon, Laura and I walked as fast as we could to you. Your eyes were this dark blue. Not the normal blue we’d always known and it wasn’t you behind them. It was so strange.
There were so many people in there all saying different things. It was chaotic. We finally found focus on one guy and he was the one telling us they had done the echo and found Aortic Dissections. Yeah, not just one.. more than one!
Panic set in for all of us, but none of us wanted you to see us that way so we held back tears and told you we love you.
The rest is all a blur. I only recall the moment HOURS later when the surgeons came out to update us. It was dark out and everyone else in the waiting room had gone home. We seemed to have been there for days. Friends showed up and sat with us in hopes to make us forget the day that just played out in front of us.
It didn’t work. It still haunts us. Especially you.
The strongest man I’ve ever known had his life practically ripped from him in an instant. The man who loved our mom so much that he took in 2 little girls that weren’t his and never once called us his “step kids”. The man who STILL loves us through our good, bad and ugly.
Our lives forever changed that day, but it was the day you decided to love us as your own that changed our lives the most. Dad, you are by far one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. You tick me off sometimes, but you are. You’re honest, real, laid back, patient and just plain cool.
Our lives have changed, but yours… wow.. your life… every day you wake up in pain. Every day you walk in worry. While we go about our lives, yours is stuck at a standstill. A man needs his life. A man needs to be a man.
I’m sorry, dad.
I always say that “sometimes God throws us curve balls like that when we get too far out of His will just to remind us that He can take it all away.” We’ve learned this so many times through the years with the countless scares you’ve given us.
It scares me to get comfortable which is why I try so hard to seek ways to change and grow from the challenges of life, something you taught us.
I remember times you’d throw rocks at the windows hoping to talk to mom. Or leave her notes on her car just to tell her you were thinking about her. There were flowers, gifts, laughter, love. Y’all even had your first date at McDonald’s just so we could play! You are THAT good of a MAN!
Who does that? I have yet to meet a man so invested in me that he does that.
You are a man and you hold back and you try to pretend, but I know. I know your heart. We all do, dad. That’s why we love you. All those tattoos will never cover up the fact that you taught us to be aggressive on the road and always root for the underdog. I notice your tone and the sadness in your eyes when I cry over a guy.. I know you love me.
I’ll never forget the day I told you I was pregnant. I was terrified. Thinking back, I guess I was more afraid for myself than I was your reaction, but it was still scary! I started crying as you sat there and didn’t say anything… you just looked over at me and said “why are you crying?” I said “I don’t know, because you haven’t said anything.” and you looked at me with this look.. this Chad Roeber look with squinty eyes and you said “well, that’s because I’m trying to figure out why you’re upset. It’s going to be ok.”
That’s when I knew that my family was going to be there. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t do anything to shake your love for me. It was all I needed to hear.
I told mom once that I don’t think any man will ever be good enough or able to fill the shoes for Simon the way you did for us. It takes a special kind of person to love, support, accept and forgive as much as you have and still look at us with pride and you set the bar pretty damn high.
We may not say it near enough, dad, but we love you and WE are proud to call you “dad”. But not more proud than Simon is to call you “pop-pop”.
We are FAMILY.
We win together and we lose together. And no matter what, we have each other.
Let’s conquer this and get back to living our lives the Roeber way again.
If there is anything we’ve learned through this it’s this… life is short. Eat the cake, buy the shoes and love like you’ve never had your heartbroken.