Rob Pirelli, never forgotten...

Rob's Service was this afternoon in Franklin, MA.

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Steve and I were fortunate to be able to attend the service with Anne and Liz. Special thanks of course to Sean and Courtney for making that possible by watching Miss Caroline poolside for the afternoon.

The streets were lined with banners, children wearing red, white, and blue waved flags, the fire engines ladders were crossed to showcase a large flag hung between the two, and there was a stillness and respectful quiet in the hot hazy air. A woman sat at the corner handing out water from coolers brought in for the crowds and mourners. A camera rolled from the steps of the church, attempting to capture the sadness, but how could it?

I was fine, really I was. Steve and I found seats toward the rear of the church just in case Liz had brought her son. Anne arrived and we sat reflecting for a few minutes before I went out to see if Liz had made it yet. Out on the steps I saw my freshman year roommate, Laura, whom Rob had cared for so much. Seeing her was difficult, but it was when I saw Liz crossing the blocked off empty street that I lost my composure. All those nights with her and Rob, Rob standing by us during some very challenging times that first fall away, just came flooding through me at once and we walked hand in hand into the church as if the years had faded away and all the time since we had all been together just vanished. Rob had figuratively and literally reconnected so many people and you could see just by looking around that this was the case not just with Liz, Anne, Frank, Johnny, Laura, but with so many other people as well. We had all made time for the boy who ALWAYS made time for us.

Rob was remembered perfectly by the celebrant; an honest man, a humble man, whose eyes sparkled. Just as he had always made time to chat with us about this or that, he had made time after mass to talk hockey with the priest...of course he had. Rob was always there. Throughout freshman year over the many hills and valleys, and then through other years at Wallaston's, chance encounters on campus, at the Marino Center (generally in the evenings in the smelly weight room), at the rink, and then finally senior year when we shared our frozen leaky apartment. Rob was there for the slow tortured demise of a relationship and the exciting beginnings of a new romance that continues to this day. He offered comfort, he shared smiles, but he was always, always there.

He was particular. You didn't mess with Rob's stuff. You dared not mess up his perfectly made bed, though Anne and I did just that one night with the cat after coming home late. Even when he must have been seething that we were messing up the sheets, he looked on and laughed, and even took our photo. You did not DARE put a rented movie into his DVD player and for the love of GOD turn the television off through the TV remote, NOT via the cable. We talked about silly things and serious things and had a roommate gift exchange during Christmas. The Tigger mug that was gifted to be by my secret Santa Rob still resides in my cabinet, where it is the mug of choice for cocoa and tea.

The sadness is still overwhelming for everyone who knew Rob. There were tears and anger all mixed into a big pot of despair and injustice. Grown men wiped tears from their cheeks. Audible sniffles were abound. This could not possibly be reality?

But it was, it is.

So I, the world's worst keeper-in-toucher that ever was, have resolved as a way to combat the guilt and sadness I have been feeling for being so out of touch, have resolved to not lose the connections that I made again this past weekend. I owe Rob that much. He brought us together, way back when and now, and as a way to honor him and what he was in my life, it would only be right to keep it that way.

We miss you Robby. Your smile does sparkle still, if only in photos and in my mind, and it will go on and on.


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