Many years ago I met a man. He was vastly different than any other man I knew at that time in my life. He was tender, kind, gentle, soft spoken, and so drastically different than any other. This man was a husband, a father, a friend, a veteran, and probably one of the most compassionate and empathetic people I have ever known. He was so vastly different that it scared me. I didn’t understand him. What was this? Why was this? Why was I so different form him?
Growing up, I never knew this kind of gentleness. I knew harsh, tough love. I knew hiding emotions and not expressing yourself. I didn’t know or understand opening up or being vulnerable. Because I saw those things in this man that were so different from my own experiences, I did not embrace them. As I pushed these things away further and further he continued to show love and kindness towards me and everyone else around him. This confused and frustrated me more. Why was I deserving of such love and tenderness? He shouldn’t care.
Fast forward many years later… The love and affection never ceased. Through ups and downs and highs and lows, I know that he cherished what relationship we had. As I went through those years and embarked on a journey of self discovery and growth, I realized that he had something I wanted and envied so much. It was only after removing myself from my surroundings that I was able to see it clearly. What I wanted was to be that man… The one who loved and cared and gave freely of himself to anybody and everybody. The one who was calm, patient, kind, gentle, and understanding. I wanted what he had. Peace.
I made a promise to him several years ago. I told him I would watch after his loved ones and do my best to insure their futures. I wasn’t able to keep that promise for several years. In fact, I went in the opposite direction at times. But the universe has a weird way of shaping things. Several weeks ago I was able to express to him my intent and recognition of that promise and my renewed desire to keep it in any way possible. I have been placed in a unique situation where I have been brought back to where it all began and I have had the ability to help and assist his loved ones in times of need. I knew several months ago that this was the reason for my situation. I was able to go back and mend wounds and help like I had never helped before.
Back to the point of me writing this… What I learned from him. I learned that being calm, gentle, thoughtful, kind, vulnerable, peaceful, and loving are some of the best things in this world. What you do for other people and how you impact them in positive ways is all that matters. It will never be about fancy or expensive things. It is the human connections that you form and grow throughout your lifetime. I was able to view what I wanted to become. I was able to see the role model that I wanted to evolve and grow into. I wanted to be that intelligent, calm, peaceful man that I had so much respect for. I was never able to express that to him and that pains me greatly.
Today we lost him. The world lost a shining example of a human. A father, a husband, a friend, and a role model. My regret is not expressing to him what he meant to me, but I believe he knew it somewhere inside of himself. My desire in life is to continue to show and express the things I learned from him. The things I shunned before but I now embrace and cherish about myself. Love, kindness, and all those other things I mentioned before. Tim Roettker was a man I envied years ago but now I respect and admire more than I ever thought I could.
He will be sorely missed by any and all that knew him. His presence in a room was always valued and respected. Going forward, I hope that I can share his memory and the things I learned from him with the world. I aspire to be half the man he was. I learned from him what it really meant to be a man. Kind, gentle, loving, peaceful, thoughtful, caring, understanding, calm, uplifting… You will forever remain in my thoughts and my heart, Tim. Thank you for teaching me lessons I didn’t want to learn all those years ago. I intend to keep my promise to you as best I can. Rest in peace.