A Turtle’s Tribute:
From Bob’s Mom October 17, 1995 – My Dear TCC:
Well, it’s been a year now since Bob left us. Since we all know it is true that
“Pain is the essence of beauty” (Bobbi Brady, 1994).
I think I must be among the most beautiful women in the world, and I know you are, indeed, the most beautiful men.
The most important thing I tell all of you, herein, is how very grateful I am to you for all your help last October. The money you sent me covered the cost of the funeral expenses. I could not have managed without it; Thank You. Bob’s timing was off as it related to our financial lives and he caught us at an all-time low. But then he never did let money get in his way, did he?
The memorial service you gave us was meaningful behond words. That we have it on tape is a truly precious gift.
The CD of “When We No Longer Touch,” and the tape of “After Goodbye,” have been the most important healing tools for me, largely because Bob participated in both of them. So my sense has been that they were a gift from him to help in my transition time (whether he thought about it that way or not).
I am so very indebted to all of you for your kindness, for your gifts, and most important of all for you help in loving my son while he walked and danced among us. Thank you.
Before too much time goes by, I wonder if I could ask for one more thing from those of you who are willing to give it. I know that we each must protect ourselves from the pain of our grief in our own way, so I trust that you will do exactly that in considering my request. I wish that I had a collection of memories or anecdotes about Bob/Bobby/Bobbi from his friends. Please know that I loved and accepted my son with no conditions attached, and that I am as roud of Bob as I am of Bobby as I m of Bobbi (who was going to be Miss Gay America!). I say that so that you will hopefully not be temped to edit out fond memories because you are worried about the reader. Sometimes when I am remembering him I begin to hear Paul Anka singing, “I Did It My Way”, in my head; surely we all knew the same man.
I am also very proud of all of you. That may not make sense to each of you. If that’s true, please take my word for it. Because I am a mom and also a grandmother: I am taking a liberty here to pass on to you something I have ovserved. I pray it is a pearl of wisdom. There are moments when you are performing that you achieve the personification of “The Kingdom of God.: As I experience it with you when it happens, I can only assume that this truth is there for you as well. That is a great gift to give yourselves and your audience.
If I were allowed to give each of you any advice (and legitimately I am not), I would ask you to seriously consider staying with TCC, as much as you can manage in your life. Focus on the GROUP as a whole, not so much on its parts. This is indeed one of those times when the sum is much, much greter than its parts. (Now, don’t you be hearin’ what I am NOT sayin’. No, I do not mean that each of you is a little shit. Although, I do suspect that, like Bobby, there are those RARE times when you do act like one.)
When Bobby was a little boy beginning at age 2 years, he spent alot of time at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melbourne, Florida. He went to school there and church and sunday school (Wasn’t I the mean mother?1?) Anyway, every year when it was his birthday time little Bobby Lankow went up to the alter* rail on Sunday morning and the priest led all of us to say for him together,
Many happy returns
on the day of thy birth,
And may seasons of joy be given.
And may our dear Father
prepare thee on earth,
For a glorious birthday in heaven.
Will You help me celebrate his Glorious Birthday in Heaven? I know he was prepared.
You remain in my heart
P.S. *a typo that I suspect is a real Freudian slip. Should be “altar”