We met Bruce sometime when we moved to the Bay Area from Toronto in the late 90’s. Back then, he was a friend of a friend. But it wasn’t until sometime in 2003 when my husband started talking about shooting some balls with Bruce every now and then. Over the years, we learned a lot about him. And he became such an enduring friend.
Bruce is married but childless. His wife, a very devout Catholic, suffered and survived a serious illness, cancer I think, years ago and has attributed it all to divine intervention. Hence, her steadfast devotion to prayer, mass, novenas, and anything Roman Catholic.
Bruce has a niece, who he helped raise since her early childhood. She is the daughter of his wife’s first cousin. Tabitha is a multi-talented athletic young girl. She adores Bruce. In her eyes, Bruce is her father and mentor. He has showered this child with all the affection a father could give all through her growing years. He has instilled in her all the great principles and life lessons he saved through his life in the military and thereafter. In fact, we are convinced that if not for Tabitha, Bruce would feel quite isolated and lost. Recently, Tabitha made her way to Boston to attend college. Nowadays, we’re told they talk on the phone everyday.
We see Bruce often. He likes to hang out with my husband to watch basketball or talk shop. He’s always been soft spoken and low key. He always has a very gentle way about him.
But, you know what? We’ve never met his wife. He has made many excuses to us that she’s too busy and too preoccupied. When she’s not working at the School Board where she is a high-ranking official, she’s at church volunteering or completing her “devotions.” She’s normally not home until quite late at night, he assured us. Her weekends are pretty set with a schedule that coincides with their Parish Church’s activities.
And so, these past few days, Bruce has been scarce. Finally, he called my husband this morning so they could have breakfast at Stack’s. They had gone to Lake Tahoe for the long weekend. His mother-in-law was visiting and his wife thought it might be a good idea to take her up there, for a change.
From the time Bruce turned on the car engine early in the morning, until they reached their destination, both mother and daughter were deep in prayers. They recited the rosary. Then there were the novenas. Then they did the Litany of something. Then more rosary prayers. All the way to Lake Tahoe.
We asked Bruce if they were afraid to get into an accident. He looked at us steadily and stated matter-of-factly, that they were praying for his soul.