I walked with him to the living room and held him in my arms on the couch. He was sobbing. Of all the pain I have had to bear in my life, watching my sons grieve the death of their father has been the most painful for me. I rocked him like a baby.
All of his cousins came in, Bobby, Christine, Matt and Stacy; their faces were tear-stained and full of shock. Paul said, “Let’s say a prayer for Rick.” I don’t remember what we prayed. I only remember holding Jack and Michael Sean by my sides and crying. I didn't want to let them go.
I told all of them I needed to go home. They all came to our house. Karen started calling all my family and Paul had started on his way to check on Rick’s mom and to bring her back out to our house.
The phone rang and Linda brought it to me. "It's Loudoun Hospital," she told me. "Hello," I said into the receiver. "Mrs.Roszel, this is Nurse Woodard from Loudoun Hospital calling. I understand that your husband, Richard Roszel died today. About three hours ago.. I'm sorry for your loss". Where was this going?
"I'm calling to find out if Richard was an organ donor," she said. "No, he wasn't." I replied. "Mrs. Roszel, would you consider donating Richard's organs?" she asked. "I would be happy to donate any organ but Rick had multiple myeloma, bone cancer; I don't think you could use any of his organs. Can you?" There was an audible pause. "Mrs. Roszel, no, I don't think it would be possible. I'm sorry to have bothered you." she said and then we hung up. I couldn't help but think that someone didn't do their homework on Rick. It was a strange conversation; I wished that I could have given any part of Rick's body to help. It might have taken a bit of the sting out of the day.
Steve arrived with his “priest” tools and started to talk to me about the services for Rick. Steve and I have been friends for a very long time. I knew him from St. Philip’s, my first teaching experience. I knew him four years before I met Rick. I played guitar and sang at the school masses; Steve and I planned together before the start of mass. He was a young associate pastor, played guitar and came to my class and entertained my first grade students.
It had been 13 weeks from diagnosis to death. Every one of those days I spent being so burdened with the anxiety of all that lay before me. I don't know what I was expecting when Rick died but it wasn't the calmness that I felt sitting there. I was so astounded at my reaction. The grief I felt had started 13 weeks before. Each day and every little piece that the cancer chipped away from Rick was a part of my daily grief. I suppose I was expecting the big fireworks at the end. It had been a rough day but the fireworks had been going on for 13 weeks and today was just the first day of the rest of my life.