Roderick was a close friend of mine who died last week of cancer. Doctors first found the colon cancer early in 2009, but since the cancer was detected early, the prognosis was good and he fought the first battle triumphantly. In the beginning of this year, he started to have pain in his lower back, and doctors found a mass, which they at first thought was benign, putting pressure on a nerve. They removed the mass, and Roderick was on his way to recovery, so he thought, and we all did, too. Turns out it was cancer. Last Tuesday night, 26 October 2010, he lost the war. Throughout his whole ordeal, Roderick, although he let us know how he was doing, never expressed his pain or any emotions. And that's why we all thought that he was going to kick cancer in the ass and live a long, happy life with us and with his family. But it just wasn't in the cards.
Following is a note that I ended up writing on Facebook and sharing with my friends. We did have two events , thrown in his honor, where people expressed their sadness and words for our dear Roddy. But I couldn't bring myself to say out loud what I wanted to say, because the sadness was just too great. I knew that if I even opened my mouth, I would fall apart. And I did anyway, but I wanted to share my love. So here goes:
One of the first times I met Roddy online on Yelp, we got to talking about our mutual love for Jonathan Rhys-Myers. He told me how raunchy The Tudors was, and I said that I MUST see it, but that I didn't get showtime. So he asked for my address and sent me a DVD of the first three episodes. I'll add here, just in case you're not sure, that we had not met yet. A few weeks later, a group of us met at Amsterdam Billiards on 4th ave and 11th for Pool Night the First. Julie K was there, making a mockery of the billiards institution, yet sweetly giggling her way through it. Sean T. showed us all how to play "golf pool". We met the fabulous Drew B. I walked over to the bar, famished, to get what turned out to be the most horrible plate of nachos in creation, and I looked to my right and saw this dude in a Red Sox cap. "Are you Roderick?" I took him over and made introductions, then we played our own game of pool. I think the Red Sox game was on tv, and I told him Dan Petry (pitcher for the Tigers and then the Angels in the 80s) was my cousin. Ok, twice removed. But still. I knew, without really knowing Roddy yet, that he would appreciate this. He was impressed. And I was impressed that he even remembered Petry. The first of many of my obscure references and factoids that he would "get" instantly.
And that was the beginning of a beautiful spring and summer, and then fall and winter, and then spring and summer again, and so on. Riding in the mirthmobile listening to Girl Talk, going out late on school nights (one night in particular, I was already in my pj's and winding down late on a Tuesday, when I get a Gchat - "Do you need a ride?" "To where, Rod?" "umm, to Gibney's. I'll pick you up in a few."). Izu with Audrey and the gang. The impromptu road trip to DC after the impromptu picnic in Washington Square Park. Javier getting all excited to see the Watergate in person. Renting a car from Benny the Walking Flirt. The AuJaMaRoRo take-over of Sugar restaurant and Mason-Dixon. Roddy's parking pimp-hand ("Ummm, I'm only parked across the street."). Bon-Chon chicken. Bibimbop at Sura (Chicken. White rice.) Verlaine, of course. Our Olivia Newton-John duet. A million more memories.
The way Roddy looked on at everyone else's bickering, online and off, without ever (ever ever) joining in or even taking sides. The way people, who might have had a lot of bad words for everyone else, and I include myself here, never ever had a bad word to say about Roddy. Javier mentioned to me last night that Roddy had the ability to be friends with everyone, in every crowd, because he was never so full of himself that he couldn't see the good in every single person he crossed paths with. Now, that's an ability I only wish I had, and I think I might be improving in that department. Slowly, and someday, surely. Only now in his death do I realize that that is my goal, to let go of my own shit and just let it be. I think maybe he knows how much he's inspired me, and I'm sure many of you as well. And though I'm distraught, although I miss him terribly, I know that he'll never let go of us, just like we'll never let go of him. Just as we all hold his hand, he holds all of ours. He was our angel, and it was just time to give him back. But he still watches over us. This both comforts me and scares the holy hell out of me. I better try and not mess up. I always did want to look cute for my Tito Rick.
The wake, mass and funeral were held this past weekend. The family apparently had no idea how huge Roddy's group of friends was, and we were a comfort to them. I'm glad for that. But as everyone was concerned about how the family would hold up, it was our group of friends who just completely fell apart. Each and every one of us, including people who hadn't seen him in a long time. Roderick really touched our lives in such a positive way, and unfortunately, we never realized the magnitude of that until he died. But isn't that always the way? One thing we always knew: he made us feel good about ourselves, and we all loved him so much. He was magic.