Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thoughts from Phil and Royce

Dearest Jeanie,

We cannot imagine the shock you, your family and friends must be in just now. I know how taken back both Royce and I were by the tragically sad news you related to us last night. Our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish you and your family are dealing with at this moment. Please know that we share deeply in your loss. It is incredibly difficult to adequately express in words what we all are feeling in our hearts about Glen. I will attempt to convey some of those feelings that Royce and I share.

You and Glen shared and enjoyed many incredible moments together, more than most have experienced in one lifetime, let alone several lifetimes. Now is the time to focus on those memories to ease yourself into tomorrow and to assist you with coping today. Your children are amazing and we are sure they will support you and comfort you greatly in the months and years ahead. You are fortunate to have a wonderful family who will be there for you, as you need them and as they need you. Share these next days together as a family.

We have known you and Glenn for more than 20 years! It doesn't seem possible that that much time has flown by. It seems like yesterday when we first met you both on the Calktex bike ride and thinking what an amazing and wonderful couple you were. "Incredible" and "adventurous" were two words that came to mind to describe you both. Without a doubt, you two continued to prove that thought to us over the years. Though distance of a few states separated us, there never was any doubt about the genuine friendship that bonded us for these past 20+ years. It is now that distance that makes us suffer your loss all the more.

I will not detail the river of tears both Royce and I have cried together since I talked with you. It is hard to imagine a person who we measured as "larger than life" to no longer be with us, except now through our cherished memories. We have counted you as close friends over the years, sharing your home, knowing your family, joining you on RAGBRAI, visiting you just because, and being there for your 50th anniversary. We sure shared some great times together, both here in the states and during our odyssey is Australia! We promise to spend some more great times with you, at yet to be determined places.

Royce and I were amazed at how much life you both lived and breathed. We feel that though your numerous adventures, you managed to live several exciting lifetimes. All your numerous trips and outings, the hours you both shared together, you managed to live for today while planning for tomorrow. So many couples fail to do both. You each made life an adventure instead of just existing. More of us should take notice of that fact and do more living and less existing. Life would be so much more fulfilling if we all took that approach.

The thing that strikes us the most is how much love the two of you shared. Not many couples maintain that high standard of love for so long. Sure you had good times, great times, tough times, happy times, sad times, and all kinds of other times. I remember Glen telling me privately once about how lucky he was to have such a wonderful wife as you. He actually choked up a bit and I sensed a small tear as he was trying to relate his feelings to me about how he felt about you and all the things you had sacrificed for him. This was a side of Glen I had not previously known; his truly sensitive and caring side. We all have a side like this, but seldom expose this part of ourselves to others. From our conversation there was no doubt in my mind about how much he loved and treasured you. Believe me, you are a fortunate woman to have had the complete unfettered love and adoration of such a fine man. I dare say that few women ever get to know the joy that kind of love brings.

I remember my last conversation with Glen. He had accepted the inevitable, but I sensed an uneasiness within his words. We talked openly and frankly about his situation, his alternatives, and the short remaining future. This is the only time I ever heard Glen cry. It was impossible for him to hold back the frustration he was sensing and I felt helpless to locate the proper words to comfort him. I changed the subject to the movie "The Bucket List" and asked him had he seen it. With his negative answer, that night I availed myself to making sure he got to see it. I have no idea how it affected him, but no doubt, the theme caused him to do some soul searching. I wish I knew what he found in his search. I suppose none of us will ever come to know that. I am happy that you both watched it together and enjoyed it given the current circumstances of his affliction.

We know how difficult the ensuing days are going to be for you and we cannot even imagine the endless lonely nights you will have to endure. Our wish would be to wave a magic wand that would change this recent event to ease our hearts and Glen's pain. Please know that we are here for you should ever need to talk or cry. We are sure you will be doing a lot of both for awhile. As time goes on, you will do more talking and less crying, but the hurt, no doubt, will remain for quite some time. Take comfort in your family for they share deeply in your loss and in your grief. They need you now, as much as you need them. Talk with them about all the great times you shared together and smile again. Take time to find laughter and share that with your children. I can only imagine how much they need that right now. I am sure that Glen would not want you all to be grieving over him. Most certainly, he would want you to know that his pain is gone and that he is in a far better place now, waiting for the moment when he can be reunited spiritually with the rest us.

The world continues to rotate and the sun will rise and set many more times for all of us. As friends, we are here to help each other in difficult times and to share in the good times. It is the good times that help us through times such as these. I regret that we are unable to physically be there to offer you comfort. Know spiritually, we are at your side sharing each moment with you. I hope you have some solace in these words. They have come from the heart and are offered to you with the friendship we have developed over the years. A big hug to you. We will write/call again soon.

Phil and Royce


  1. Jeanie thank you so much for sharing this letter with says all stuff about Glen that i havent been able to put into words. i was able to have my much very much overdue cry,
    i love you
    your friend

  2. Mom, Please let Phil and Royce know I loved their letter. They are good friends and they knew dad's heart....tell them thanks.

  3. thanks for reading the letter. Phil
    is an airline pilot. We drove all over
    Sidney and he drove like hell with
    a huge map spread out over his lap
    and took us everywhere we could think of. We also toured Australia for about
    5 weeks and then they caught an Airforce jet back to the States. They
    both retired from the airforce.

    He also sang at our 50th.

  4. What a great letter! It certainly gave me a good cry as well as a nice smile inside. What nice friends you have Mom, and what great memories you share with them. Now I want to go to Australia.