I have put the eulogy I wrote for Rob, that was read out at his funeral, online here: Mutley the Dog (the blogspot cheeky monkey chatters is a place where I left him a valentine this year)
Sadly, his blogs have been removed from the net.
Shockingly, I received an email from him last week, stating this.
It was written by his ex-wife. She has also removed him from our shared private blog - In my Dreams - a place where I'd been pouring out grief. Privately.
(Part of sudden death I've discovered is an inability to accept someone's departure. We were still talking, still listening, still joking, still cuddling.)
Rob lived alone these last three years. He died but a few days from Divorce Absolute.
Words fail me entirely.
Well, I will say this - She has done much good for him, there are children involved and I understand that she grieves too.
I do not think that blogging should be controlled. I think that what we write, what we feel, how we connect with each other should remain forever available. Rob was a lifelong champion of human rights and freedom of speech. He reached out to many people here on blogger at dark times as you know and in life he worked for justice and equality, most recently supporting victims of crime. I am certain he'd have disapproved - of anyone being silenced in such a fashion.
Perhaps though, perhaps - he would have understood..
I've nothing more to say, nor will, to his ex-wife. I wish her well. Sincerely.
I have my health and sanity to maintain now. Grief is complex. And I've a family to bring up. Three lively boys. My youngest is 5.
Rob was wonderful, funny, kind and clever. Even better in real life than on the net. In my experience of him these last two years :-
he was not in alcoholic decline,
he did not die on the brink of organ failure
and - he most certainly does not have boring brothers!
He was a cheerful, independent man who liked his beer (real ale only!) and who, as is now known but too damn late, had a bad heart. Sometimes he was very low, aren't we all - "I'm sad about a sad thing" he'd insist. And then, he'd become distracted by something interesting, something worthwhile and his spirits would return to their usual setting of - Happy! - His cause of death is yet to be pinpointed but I comfort myself entirely with this knowledge - having laid on his bed the next morning - he passed on peacefully in his sleep with no suffering, just dignity.
His brothers are much like him, kind, clever and private. I'm kind and private too, but not as clever though! I would have been very proud to have been an honorary member of their family.
Rob - I would like you to be remembered with smiles and affection by all you encountered here on the net, may your mischievous spirit live on forever. Love and respect darling - that's all that matters. And maybe now, like so many creatives before, you may be discovered and published. Posthumously damnit! But published perhaps - who knows.
Grief I'm finding is the most debilitating thing. Confusing, numbing and extremely painful. In brighter moments I imagine Rob making his usual daft comments beside me, pulling faces, cheering me up, spurring me on. At other times I feel that the future is entirely pointless. Futile. Because simply, unbearably, he isn't here.
I have my three beautiful boys thank God.
I press on.
With many thanks to all who have helped me, commented and emailed. And much love to Wife in the North, Ubermouth, Miss Smack and Electro-Kev - who were all true friends to Rob when it mattered most
My best friend and soulmate died last Friday. Tributes have flooded in from blogland. He would have been so touched. He said he loved to make people laugh. Give them a smile. And when they replied with "Thanks Rob, that cheered me up!" he was pleased no end.
I wanted to write him a celebration post. But you know what, I think you guys have already done that, many times over! ( I'm smiling!)
His funeral details are at robert.chambers.gonetoosoon.org
All family and friends know they are very welcome. If any one has any requests, please contact the funeral director and I'll be happy to do whatever is necessary.
I have to say that now, today, after visiting the funeral director, I'm stepping back. It's been a long journey travelled in what, five days, a tour right through Rob's world. (If you thought he was a man of many mysteries, well, yes, he was!) (Smiling again!) I'm basically a kind and sensitive soul and now, unsurprisingly, I'm pretty much overwhelmed.
I've to pick up my life and restructure it.
There won't be a bright red car pulling up outside my house anymore, there won't be a key in the door, a step on the stairs and a big hug and a bag chock full of little goodies - anymore.
I miss him more than I can bear.
Oh don't be so sentimental! he'd say, what, miss an old fart like me?!
Being with Rob gave me a spring in my step, an easy smile and a sense of purpose, of life well-lived. We had a great laugh. And a great love.