My son is dead.
Only five days after the Trump election and just nine days after his participation at my mother’s funeral on Cape Cod, our only son Roger John Hobbs, age 28, was found dead in a Portland hotel, the victim of an accidental drug overdose. Roger was a brilliant comet of light and darkness fueled by a gentle heart, a generous spirit and a wildly inventive imagination: although it was short, his life was a remarkable one.
Roger loved his identity as a crime writer. I am grateful to Professor Robert Knapp, whose interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting offers tremendous insight on the puzzle of Roger’s life as a poet, a writer, a table-top games storyteller, a classicist and a literary theorist.
The grief I am experiencing is a deep emptiness and profound sense of pain and loss — an overwhelming and complex set of feelings including failure, rage, regret, anger, pity, guilt, shame, intense love and deep sadness. Randy and I cannot yet even begin to imagine what life without Roger will be like. But we have no choice but to move forward, without him, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for us. We take solace in this poem by F.R. Scott, an intellectual and politician, who founded Canada’s first social democratic party:
By F.R. Scott
Always I shall remember you, as my car moved
Away from the station and left you alone by the gate
Utterly and forever frozen in time and solitude
Like a tree on the north shore of Lake Superior.
It was a moment only, and you were gone,
And I was gone, and we and it were gone,
And the two parts of the enormous whole we had known
Melted and swirled away in their separate streams
Down the smooth, granite slope of our watershed.
We shall find, each, the deep sea in the end,
A stillness, and a movement only of tides
That wash a world, whole continents between,
Flooding the estuaries of alien lands.
And we shall know, after the flow and ebb,
Things central, absolute and whole.
Brought clear of silt, into the open roads,
Events shall pass like waves, and we shall stay.
In this time of great sadness, Randy and I have found ourselves ever grateful for the many small kindnesses shown to us by Roger’s friends and colleagues, and by our own family, friends and colleagues who have reached out to us in ways large and small. Thank you all for holding us close and for your support in these dark days.
This is a beautiful tribute. What an accomplished life!
Renee, I am so very sorry for your loss, and for ours. I can’t imagine. My thoughts are with you.
Renee, I am so sorry for your, and all of our, loss. My thoughts are with you. Love always.
I can’t find the correct words to express my feelings for your tremendous loss. I enjoyed listening to the podcast about your son. I can only say that those who already know his work he produced during his short time with us are very fortunate and I am certain, because of his gift for writing, that many more will get to know him.
May your memories of your mom be a blessing that will carry you this holiday season and in the years to come. I am sorry that your sons passing is the reason that now I wish to get to know his writings. I plan to become familiar with his work.
Ariel (your grad student)