One minute they were getting ready for their side jobs at a catering business. The next minute Bob was complaining of pain and was being whisked away by an ambulance. He died at the hospital. My heart broke as I listened to Dore tell of their plans and shattered dreams. They had sold their Knoxville home and purchased a home in Florida. They planned on retiring at the end of the school year. Just yesterday afternoon, they were talking about tile for their new house. Now, Dore is making plans for a Saturday memorial service for Bob.
Life is so hard sometimes. God, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
This afternoon, I went to the memorial service of a friend Terry who died of cancer on Tuesday. It's strange to be mourning the death of another friend so soon.
I met Bob and Dore in 2003, my first year in Knoxville. They had just opened Market Square Booksellers downtown and my assignment for the News Sentinel was to write a story about this new business on the square. I walked in and immediately fell in love with the place. Bob, who was wearing a kilt, greeted me as I entered. It was there that I met my friend Rebecca (who made and sold jewelry) and discovered the works of Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, primarily.) The store had unique touches: a reclaimed old church pew; wood floors repurposed from a school gym; the oddest assortment of greeting cards.
Bob, Dore, Rebecca and I became fast friends and shared life together over meals and other meet-ups.
Bob and Dore closed the store after a few years and moved on to other ventures. Rebecca eventually got married and moved to Washington D.C. Bob became a buyer for a book distributor for a while and Dore went on to work as a librarian in a Sevier County middle school. In between, they would set up a tent and sell homemade crafts and purses during the summer at the Market Square Farmers Market.
I last saw Bob and Dore at a wedding I attended last year. After hugs, chatter and more hugs, we promised to get together again soon. Turns out my soon has been a little too late with Bob.
My heart hurts for Dore and Terry's families and friends.
The song, "Our God is in Control," by Steven Curtis Chapman comes to mind tonight.
This is not how it should be, This is not how it could be
This is how it is, Our God is in control...
This is not where we planned to be, When we started this journey
This is where we are, And Our God is in control...