Our dear friend and colleague, Bob Church, passed away on April 29, 2009 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. After a short hiatus, Bob continued his writings and shared them with us almost daily through emails. He was an inspiration to us all and has left the gift of his words in the archives of Word Catalyst.

I began writing the following poem when I first learned that Bob had been diagnosed with cancer and had trouble finishing it as I waited to see if the chemo would perform a miracle – it didn’t. I finally finished it as part of a special edition chapbook that was presented to him by a group of Word Catalyst writers who attended his birthday bash in September of 2008.

I now realize that a miracle did take place – even if it wasn’t the one we were all hoping for. We met Bob Church. We held his hand, laughed at his jokes, cried together and listened as he recited stories in a way that only he could have done. In the process, we forged bonds of friendship that grew out of our mutual love and respect for a man named Bob Church. Thank you, Bob.

My Dear Friend, How can we explain the bond that has formed through cyberspace? We are books without covers and yet we read each other so well. Without ever touching hands, you have touched my heart and soul and will forever be a part of me. Your wisdom and wit have brought a smile to my face on days when I thought I didn’t have one in me. Your gentle heart has brought me to tears on many occasions. I am truly blessed to have found a friend like you in this great big world of strangers. Every now and then we meet someone special. Someone who changes who we are. You are that special someone. Thank you for coming into my life.

Gentle Heart

Oh gentle heart I hear your silent beat
I sense the tender touch of gentle hands
Your spirit sings a song so bittersweet
Of fantasies from lost, forbidden lands
I listen for that beat that stirs my soul
And wills my heart to shed its cool pretense
Each vine that intertwines around the pole
Envelops and adorns the weathered fence
Our friends are vines that hold us when we’re weak
With miles between us still our spirits met
We’re living proof that souls alone can speak
And that, my friend, I never will forget
I thank you for providing me a star
To cherish and look up to – near or far.

~ In memory of Bob Church ~ Rest in Peace, my friend.