Rocky Mountain Ramblings

Funeral (and Birthday Party) For a Friend July 2, 2012

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 7:34 am

The first love of my life, Rob, died in an accident five weeks ago, and I was having some trouble saying goodbye.  Sure, we only dated for eight months when I was in high school and have been broken up for over ten years, but time is insignificant in the spiritual realm.  We shared love, and that doesn’t disappear.  The feelings may have floated away or become suppressed with time, but the love we created still exists in the universe, and I felt it return to me when he died.

I’ve had some much needed synchronicities the last week or two, and it included winning two tickets to see Dark Star Orchestra at The Ogden on June 28th.  The concert went past midnight, which meant it was happening on June 29th, which just so happened to be Rob’s birthday.  June 29, 1983.  He would have been 29 on the 29th, his golden birthday.  It also just so happened I had a framed photo of him with me in my purse at the show that was taken of him in his skydiving gear on the golden shore of Lake Tahoe, CA, essentially in the same spot where he died. 

I took the photo out at the concert and had both a funeral and a birthday party for Rob.  It was kind of a weird thing to do, but it felt so right that it gave me goosebumps. 

I know Rob made me win those Darkstar tickets and I know his spirit was with me at the show.  I was able to dance with him and work out intense thoughts during the songs that mean the most to me.  It came as no surprise that the Grateful Dead show Darkstar recreated that night was from Sept. 6, 1983 at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  The show was from my favorite venue, it was from Rob’s birth year and it contained both a “Bird Song” and a “Brokedown Palace.” 

Right after Rob died I wondered if he was playing tricks on me from heaven because “bad” things seemed to be happening.  I felt stressed in life and wondered if it was payback for breaking up with Rob in 2001?  Did he think it’d be hilarious to see me bike into a car door and bruise badly, yet allowing no major harm to be done?  Was it amusing for that tech genius to make me think my laptop was completely dead, and then have it miraculously turn on and function properly a few days later?

And then the Colorado wildfires started burning; raging out of control and causing devastation, just like Rob’s death.  The wildfires have a weird and timely significance to me because fires and emergencies remind me of Rob.

Rob was 18 and just old enough to go through training to become a volunteer EMT with the local fire department when we dated, and I remember him as being more than willing to help out any person at any time of the day.  I remember he always had the police scanner turned on, and he was even quick to jump out of bed to rush to a stranger’s aid at 3:30 AM if need be.  (Not that we had sleepovers in high school, he would tell me about it the next day.) 

The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 happened only a few months after Rob finished his volunteer EMT training and he didn’t think twice about heading into the city (New York City, that is) to assist.  I had an American flag tapped to the antennae of my car after those events, and it was because of Rob.  I was so worried about him…and I was also so proud. 

Rob and I fought a lot before we broke up and in my immaturity I couldn’t handle much of a friendship with him, even though he always tried.  I remember he insisted on dropping off a birthday present to me when I turned 18, even though I had begun dating someone else.  When I was in college I would hear from him sporadically via instant messenger and he constantly invited me to meet him at a rock climbing gym in NJ, but I never said yes.  I wish I had.  I at least agreed to go snowboarding one last time with him at Mountain Creek a few years after we broke up, and we rode to the mountain together in his red Mini-Cooper.

In August 2008 I was using the internet on a public computer at the library in Orland Park,IL when I received an instant message from Rob’s infamous screen name, Sebup.  He told me he was going to get married in two weeks while skydiving over Burning Man, and I told him that a station called Current TV was going to be at the festival doing live footage and he should try to find them to film his wedding.  I never actually knew if I was the reason behind it, but Rob and his wife did end up with amazing video footage of their skydive wedding, compliments of Current TV. 

View Skydive Wedding video here.

Rob lived his life with more spunk and energy than most (or any) people I know, and he instilled that in me.  I wouldn’t be the exact same person I am today had we not dated.  Rob literally held my hands and taught me how to snowboard, and ultimately, my passion for that sport is what brought me to Colorado.  I developed a love for adventures when I dated Rob, and that never stopped. 


I can’t say I was surprised when I heard Rob flew on over Lake Tahoe, but I was sad; sad to the core, like my 17-year-old heart broke all over again.  In most recent times Rob and I kept up vaguely via Facebook, and in Feb. 2012 he randomly wrote on my wall, “you’re awesome!”  I don’t know why he wrote that, but I loved it.  It meant a lot to me, just like him. 

I am sad Rob left us, but glad that he lived life to the fullest and blessed the earth with his presence  I understand that his strong spirit and powers are needed elsewhere, and I can only try to live and give half as much as much as he did while I’m alive.

Thanks for giving me your love, Rob.  You’re awesome. 

A few news articles about Rob’s death:

South Lake Tahoe Man, Robert Ranieri, Dies Skydiving

Skydiver Dies, Two Others Rescued

Remembering Volunteer Rob Ranieri

Feel free to:
Stream Grateful Dead Live at Red Rocks Amphitheater 09/06/1983

Rob loved Shaggy when we dated and used to sing this to me all the time.

This song came out when Rob and I dated and he knew I loved it…now I realize how significant the lyrics are to the lives we both would lead.


2 Responses to “Funeral (and Birthday Party) For a Friend”

  1. Annie Says:

    This is a beautiful post. Somehow I found it on a night when I really needed it. Rob and I met when we were 10 or 11 and I can’t think of one aspect of my life or character that his friendship didn’t change for the better. over the years. He really cared about you a lot and would have loved what you wrote about him.

    • rovinglady Says:

      Aw, that is very sweet. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Rob. I went to south Lake Tahoe this summer and went to the beach he died near. I actually wrote a blog about it, under the category “Ain’t Life Grand”. It’s one of the newer posts, if you want to check it out.

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