Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.
Writer returns to work, extends her deepest gratitude
By JENNIFER MILLER STROBEL
I never expected my father to outlive my husband. Not that I dwelled on the matter.
Brian, my husband, was the most energetic, vigorous and youthful man I ever knew, even after his retirement from a full-time radio career.
My father’s indomitable spirit has carried him through 85 years and counting.
Truth be told, I couldn’t imagine life without either of them. In fact, it seemed there were some months when I might have been the one to go first. My husband saw me through cancer treatments in 2003.
In 2011, it was my turn to see him through cancer.
“We can get through this,” was my motto, and through chemotherapy, radiation, two surgeries and more chemotherapy, we were about to do it.
“He Really did care”
Photo gallery: Brian Strobel: Fredericksburg radio icon
Rob Hedelt: FLS columnist remembers his friend
Ed Jones: ‘We will all miss our dear friend’
2008 related story: Friends, fans mark Strobel’s last day on WFLS
2007 letter: Brian Strobel always knew what was important–people
The dark days of winter were just that, but as spring returned, Brian was feeling so good. He had returned to hosting two Sunday radio shows. He had resumed his job with a pet care agency, his volunteer work with the Salvation Army, his rounds about town.
March 7, a bright, sunshiny day, he’d done all that and more—walked dogs, worked on a Salvation Army video, gone to the post office, chatted with everyone he met, worked his way through a list of errands.
He was walking one more dog when a truck ran off the road and killed him.
My teenage son and I were with his algebra tutor when the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s officer delivered the unbelievable news by phone.
Soon, members of the Sheriff’s Office arrived at the tutor’s office, where only moments before I had been listening in on a homework lesson. Time stopped for our family.
I have a memory of a hand on my shoulder, and of co-workers and friends who began showing up that night and in the days that followed to help in so many ways a list would fill every page of the newspaper.
No “thank you” is big enough to even begin to convey my deepest gratitude for friends and strangers who surrounded us with love and care, cards and kindness, music and stories, letters and poems and prayers.
Those who took on tasks of taking telephone calls, or making them; who brought food when we would likely have forgotten to eat, or gift cards we could use when we got around to remembering.
Those who offered pastoral care, and counsel.
Those who found me a dress for the funeral, who drove my elderly aunt from the airport, who guided me through the paperwork. Even the lawn is getting mowed.
I want to thank each and every individual for the love you shared, and are sharing.
I’m back in the office now, preparing to write my Flashback columns and other features again. The Flashback column runs in Tuesday’s Town & County section; readers bring old photos and tell their stories, and I put it all together.
My return coincides with Father’s Day, and the long-planned publication of a feature I’d written about my father’s birthday gift, a trip taken in January. (See related story.) Brian wasn’t quite up to the trip, and stayed home to listen to his cherished old-time radio shows.
My sons, Nathan and Noah, plan a private remembrance of their father today. Then we’ll take their grandfather for a sundae.
Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere.
Jennifer Strobel: 540/374-5432