The Stars are Finite
Last night, word reached me that a friend died suddenly over the weekend. I’ve known Robert Schug ever since he and his partner Steven joined the Renaissance Festival cast. Like many of my friends, I’ve seen them far less frequently than I would have liked in the last few years.
Robert was exuberant, proud, and generous. When a fire devastated part of the festival several years ago, he was instrumental in creating the Phoenix project, which helped crafters rebuild their booths.
Many people have referred to Robert as being a member of the fops and that isn’t correct. He and Steven were their royal highnesses Prince Puph and Phluph from the realm of materialism. As he himself put it, Robert was the fluffy one. They received the Cracked Cup for rookie of the year and as a member of the group that voted for awards that year, I’ve never had an easier decision to make.
Note: My point is not to suggest that Steven and Robert were better or worse than the Fops. Rather, I think it is important to remember that they were different.
Robert had his faults, as we all do. I can’t for the life of me recall what they were and it isn’t as if they matter.
He was filled with joy and life and he is gone.
As I read all the memories of Robert, I am taken by the fact that death erases the negative and leaves only the positive. We all remember what a kind and joyous man he was.
We are all made up of good and bad traits. None of us is perfect. Yet when we pass, our friends forget the bad and focus only on the good. If you sense a regret, it is only for the fact that we should all try to do the same thing when our friends are alive.
I myself fall into the trap of saying things like “he’s a great person but for this one thing that really annoys me” or “yeah, she can be a pain sometimes.” They are private things and they are part of natural conversation. Yet they belie a tendency to ignore or downplay the best in others.
When someone passes, we finally take a moment to think only about what made them so special.
Robert is gone. There are no new stars in the sky. He will not be the last person we know to die. Death is part of our existence and that will never change no matter how many prayers are uttered or candles burned.
The consequence of having good people in our lives is we will lose them. Better to celebrate the fact they were good people and they touched our lives.
And while we do that, perhaps we should take a few moments to celebrate all the other good people in our lives and forget their faults as well. To all of my friends and family, thank you for being in my life. You are what make me look forward to every day of my existence.
Goodbye, Robert. I wish there was some way for you to know how many people are missing you today. The world may be a little less bright now that you are gone but I can’t imagine how much dimmer it would have been had you never lived at all.