I am lucky.
This week, I said my final goodbyes to a very dear friend. Ever since Brian Roth?s passing, Mt. Pleasant is no longer the same place it was to me when he was still living in it.
I can?t go to many places around town anymore without being taken back to a memory that had Brian in it. Whether it?s the local Pizza Hut that Brian and I met every Monday afternoon for lunch; Papa George?s, where Brian and I had our last meal together; or even his office, where you could often find Brian hard at work - Brian left his mark on this town and on me.
Even my own apartment, which Brian managed as my landlord, holds memories of him. I don?t unlock my front door now without thinking about Brian handing me over the lease and the keys at The Press Box, where he took me out to lunch to celebrate me scoring my first place.
?I don?t want you to sign this until you have read it all the way through. Never sign your name to something until you know what it is you are signing, Bryce,? Brian said to me as gave me a big hug and he handed me the lease, pointing out the deeper truth in a statement like that.
And you can bet I read that thing...twice- just in case Brian decided to quiz me on it later.
That was just one little piece of wisdom I will remember from the man I respected and loved a great deal.
As I type this letter, tears hit the keys as I mourn the loss of this amazing guy. Brian was much more than just a man I called my friend. He was like another uncle to me - a guy I knew I could talk to about anything and a guy that could always make me smile with just a sly look in my direction.
But you see Brian didn?t just make a big impact on me. During Brian?s visitation and funeral, hundreds of people - all of whom had their own stories to tell of how Brian had impacted their life - came to show their respects to Brian and his family. That, my friends, is called making an impact.
So many stories have been told of Brian since his death. Stories of how Brian had helped someone, or given of his time or money to help a person out are in no short supply around this town. And, I suspect, they are in no short supply in a lot of other towns, too.
That?s the truth of it. Brian?s heart was too big for just Mt. Pleasant. Although we are the luckier ones who saw his love for people the most, other towns across the country saw it as well.
Brian is buried and gone, but his legacy will forever live on. The things Brian did here on this earth have changed the very fabric of this town. Mt. Pleasant will never have another Brian Roth, but I know there are so many that loved him and will strive to continue the good work that he was doing ? me included.
So, like I said before, I am lucky. I am lucky to have known him; lucky to have benefited from his words of wisdom and kindness; and just lucky to know that a guy like Brian always had my back.
I am not sure how long it will take me to stop missing Brian. Perhaps I never will, and that?s okay.
Missing Brian only reminds me that the feeling of missing a person proves they were special enough to be missed in the first place. And it reminds me of the kind of person I want to be when the Lord takes me home.