Day 17 honors Chris Roper.
ACK! I got caught with my draft down...
Before I ever met Chris, he had met Roby. I think they even went on a date when they were both in high school.
Chris was one of the people I considered an ambassador to the Deaf community...he welcomed interpreting students and people who wanted to learn ASL and supported them and introduced them to his friends. Chris was also interested in working with Northwest Theatre of the Deaf and we worked side by side for many years there in a variety of roles.
Chris was a funny, sweet, talented man. He was well-liked and he liked to have a good time. He struggled with AIDS for a long time -even while Roby was keeping his HIV status under wraps. I thought Chris was incredibly brave to be so open about AIDS and HIV. There were moments when I wanted to ask him a million questions, but I couldn't do it.
I have all these visual memories in my head but I am struggling to put them out here. I can still hear his laugh and see his beautiful hands and his expressive eyebrows.
The night he died (a little more than a year after Roby died), I was driving home from WOU and Brenda called to tell me he was gone. I always regret not going to see him at Our House, but I wasn't ready to face it all at that time. I did visit him in the hospital several times so I feel a teensy bit less guilty. When I went to meet her, the same people from Omega mortuary (?) were there who had come to take Roby after he died. They had a quilt that was made specially for people who had died of AIDS. It was devastating and comforting to know that the blanket that had covered Roby was now with Chris - somehow it made it seem like they would be together somewhere, somehow...
Chris, thank you for your friendship. Thank you for laughter, for feedback, for your generous heart. I miss you.