Friday, July 09, 2010

Roger James

Strange how the world works. My brother-in-law, Roger James, died Tuesday morning, July 6th. I went up to Arkansas for the funeral, which was on Thursday. It was cancer, which also took his wife, my sister Dolores, five years ago.

Dying isn’t strange, of course. Dying is a waste of love and potential, but not strange. But there is a connection behind the scenes in this story, and that’s the subject of this post. On Monday morning, Killing Trail was published and I felt pretty good. Tuesday morning, we lost Roger and the good was gone. Yet, the connection I mentioned is between Roger and that book. Killing Trail is dedicated to two men. One is Louis L’Amour, the famous western author whose work influenced the stories in the collection. The other man is Roger, who was a big reader and who introduced me to L’Amour. Roger was famous only to his family and friends, many of whom just called him “Papa.” That was OK with him; it was all he would have wanted.

Fortunately, I sent the dedication, which included a short essay about Roger and L’Amour, to him about a month ago through his daughter, my niece, Anna. The essay included the story about how, as a kid, I used to borrow all of Roger’s books, and about how we often talked about the books once I’d read them. Roger liked a good story, and occasionally told a bit of a tall tale himself. Anna told me that Roger really liked the essay, and I’m glad he got to hear about how much I appreciated him before he passed. That doesn’t mitigate the tragedy of his loss. But somehow it lifts my spirits just a little. The good is not totally gone.

Roger was alive when I wrote that dedication. He’ll always be alive in its pages. And in our memories.
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63 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Charles, Condolences to you, Lana, and your family. How nice that Roger knew this fine collection was dedicated to him.

Rick said...

I'm so sorry, Charles. Like David said, condolences to you and yours. He'll live on through your dedication and thoughts. Hang tough.

Heather said...

So sorry for your loss, but I understand completely and you're lucky to have been able to profess your appreciation.

Charles Gramlich said...

David, thanks. I'm glad he did too.

Rick, thanks. I appreciate that.

Heather, thanks, my friend.

AvDeeBee said...

I'm so sorry to hear of another loss your family and you have had to bear this year. I hope the good times remembered and the knowledge you were able to express to him the importance of your relationship will bring you some comfort in the days ahead. I will be sure to read Killing Trail with his spirit in mind.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Charles, I bought 'Killing Trail' just after you mentioned brother-in-law's passing, so I was glad to see the dedication in the opening of the book.

Very glad to hear he got to read it, too.

Peace.

Evan Lewis said...

Every time a death hits close to home I'm surprised (all over again) at how much I feel it, feel the need to express that feeling, and feel inadequate in doing so. I probably read about a minimum of two fictional deaths a day, and see two more on TV. They rarely affect me, and some I even enjoy. But real death really sucks.

David J. West said...

It's wonderful to have those people in our lives that help us along and inspire. All the best.

writtenwyrdd said...

Ah Jeez, that's terrible! I'm so sorry for you having yet another loss, Charles. My best to you and yours. I'm glad that there's a kernel of good in that re the dedication, though.

Charles Gramlich said...

AvDeeBee, yeah, 2010 has not been a good year for the family as a whole. I guess it means we are getting older. Thanks.

Paul R. McNamee, the essay part of it is under the title of Louis L'Amour: an appreciation. Thanks for picking up a copy.

Evan Lewis, yeah, I guess that's part of how I know I really am a writer. I 'have' to write about such experiences, to make sense of them and to assimilate them.

David J. West, yes, indeed. The world is made up of interesting characters and Roger was certainly one of them.

Charles Gramlich said...

writtenwyrd, thanks. I appreciate that.

RRN said...

Sorry to you and your family for this loss Charles.

This post was very nice .

you will be in my thoughts/

Ello said...

Charles, I teared up reading this post. I'm so sorry for your loss. But it sounded like Roger was a wonderful influence in your life and how wonderful that you were able to share your dedication with him.

Julia Smith said...

I'm very glad he got a chance to read your dedication while he was still here. I like what you said about him always being alive in the pages of Killing Trail.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm sorry for yet another loss, baby. It's been a hard year. *hug*

Charles Gramlich said...

RRN, thanks, man.

Ello, Roger was a character himself, and well worth knowing.

Julia Smith, thank you. I appreciate it, and appreciate you dropping by.

Lana Gramlich, people I know are getting old. At least I'm not aging any. :)

Richard Prosch said...

Having a good thought for you and Lana. It's been a tough week, treat yourself good this weekend.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, thanks. I believe I will.

Shauna Roberts said...

I'm glad to hear that Roger got to read the dedication. I'm sure it made him happy that he was able to influence you and share his love of Westerns with you. Now all of us are the luckier for his having lived. Thanks for sharing a bit about him with us.

ArtSparker said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear of another family loss for you. It does seem that it would make one feel one had lived one's life well, to be thanked in the way you thanked him in the essay.

Steve Malley said...

That was stirring. I'm glad you were able to tell him before he passed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna Roberts, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that.

ArtSparker, I know he did appreciate it.

Steve Malley, me too. And thanks.

Ty Johnston said...

My condolences to your family. Glad, for you and him, he got to read the essay. Also glad you had such an interesting person in your life, one whom introduced you to L'Amour and opened doors to much more.

Ocean Girl said...

He must be well-loved and respected to be known as Papa. You will miss him but his love is not wasted.

BStearns said...

I'm sorry to hear that Charles. I wish you and your family nothing but the best during this troubling time. I'm happy to hear that you got the chance to show him how much he meant to you, too many people miss that opportunity.

-Bryan
www.sff-hub.com

Ron Scheer said...

Dying is a waste of love and potential. You knock me out with that and I'm still feeling it sink in. Please accept my condolences, too.

Deka Black said...

Please, accept my condolences. And, if you're in the mood, my nest wishes to you and your family.

Sidney said...

Sorry to hear of his death.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty Johnston, When I was little we didn't have much money for books so I borrowed pretty much everything Roger had.

Ocean Girl, he was very popular with all his grandkids, of which he had a pretty good bunch.

BStearns, thanks. Yes, it's good he got to see it. In the last couple of weeks he really had not been able to process much.

Ron Scheer, thanks. I appreciate it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, thank you.

Sidney, I appreciate it.

Natasha Fondren said...

Aw, Charles, I'm so sorry. I'm glad he got to read your dedication and essay. *hugs*

Travis Cody said...

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Kate Sterling said...

So sad, Charles. I'm sorry you've had another loss, but am glad for you that Roger got to read the dedication and essay.

Charles Gramlich said...

Natasha Fondren, thank you.

Travis Cody, we knew it was coming but that doesn't make it much easier.

Kate Sterling, me too. Thanks.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, my heartfelt condolences to you, Lana, and your family. This is a fine tribute to Roger in his passing.

G said...

Charles, my sincerest condolonces to you and Lana for your loss.

At least you got a fine lasting memory of Roger and his enjoyment of your dedication to him.

JR's Thumbprints said...

My grandmother had given me her childhood stories to edit; It wasn't until after she died that I pulled them out and started working on them. So, yeah, there's a bit of regret there; Still, I appreciated seeing her a few days before she died. It's nice to know that your brother-in-law was able to read your dedication.

Randy Johnson said...

It's hard, Charles. to say the words. Having lost relatives and friends to that insidious disease, I feel for you and the family.

And especially after such a personal triumph.

It was nice that Roger got to see the notations and dedication.

Be well, my friend.

Cloudia said...

Condolences, friend.

laughingwolf said...

so sorry for your loss, charles, but that's a wonderful memorial for a bil no longer around... glad he enjoyed the dedication

cancer's a bitch, took my sis, too :(

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara Martin, thank you.

G, yes it will be something I'll long remember.

JR, yes, I'm glad I didn't wait to show it to him until it was published.

Randy Johnson, I appreciate the kind words. Insidious is the word for it. What a horrible disease.

Cloudia, thanks.

laughingwolf, I tell you, cancer scares the hell out of me. I don't even like saying the word.

ivan said...

... I want to echo Rick, above.
Sorry to hear.

This godawful cancer thing is really going around...Right around the world. One of my "Quarks" (fellow travellers on my page), from Australia, is losing her brother to cancer.

I wish Pam well.

And my condolences on your loss.

Christine Purcell said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Hopefully it's a little solace and a little closure that you got the chance to let him know how you felt.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, it scares me worse than anything. Makes me feel very much less than brave.

Christine, thank you. I appreciate it.

the walking man said...

A man who is about to pass can ask for no more than kind words from a trusted friend and after he is gone expects no more than to be fondly remembered. It appears roger acquired both.

BernardL said...

Excellent eulogy for a loved one.

Velma said...

Thanks Charles. I'm glad Roger got to read the dedication and to know how much he meant to you.
God Bless. June

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, he definitely had some fans and friends.

Bernardl, thanks.

Velma, thanks. and Thanks for visiting.

Oscar said...

Death is a strange bedfellow, as someone once said, but the trouble is it hangs with you forever, especially close relatives and close friends. My condolences.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, thanks.

Nik said...

Sorry to read about your family's loss, Charles. Yes, as Donne said, each death diminishes us, but dying is not the end. Here's part of a poem by PJ Bailey.

Death is another life.
We bow our heads
At going out, we think, and enter straight
Another golden chamber of the King’s,
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier.

I've used Death is Another Life for the title of a book I'm still trying to place, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Nik, thanks for visiting and for the kind words. Luck with the book as well.

Erik Donald France said...

A sweet memoriam -- the good is not gone so long as somebody keeps riding on.

Heff said...

Sorry for your loss. Good thing you got the dedication in.

Bernita said...

I'm so sorry, Charles.
But your dedication is a wonderful memorial. And he knew about it.

jodi said...

Dear Charles and Lana, I am so sorry for your loss. Tragic. Are they EVER going to cure that horrible disease?

Travis Erwin said...

Sorry for your loss but how great that you got that to him so he could read it.

Travis Erwin said...

Sorry for your loss but how great that you got that to him so he could read it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik,yes, tis true I think.

Heff, yeah, I'm glad that timing worked out at least.

Bernita, yes, that is a good thing.

jodi, it's such a scary disease. I hope they find a cure soon. It terrifies me.

Travis Erwin, I'm glad of that for sure. Thanks.

Barrie said...

This is very touching. I'm just glad Roger knew of the dedication and of how much he'd touched your life. xo

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, thank you.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I can't think of a more fitting tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss, Charles.

cs harris said...

Sorry for your loss, Charles. Still, it's wonderful you were able to reach out to him in a special way before he died.