Robert Bruce MacLaughlin

Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.
Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you. (Psalm 39)

Robert Bruce MacLaughlin died yesterday. Rose called from the hospital room, the family and most of the band was there. I pictured the room. They would all be holding on to each other.

 The day before yesterday Debbie and I had visited. That day the mark of death was upon Bob in a way it hadn’t been before. His grey body, like an empty carapace, was not the body of Bob.

And there were no more words from this man who had always carried the conversation. There was only groaning with what I thought was the deep intent of an articulation that never came. There was uneven breathing, sudden movements of eyebrows and eyelids and uncomprehending eyes.

BobMacAnd there was hand squeezing. This much there was. There was hand squeezing. It was his hands that looked the same, looked like Bob’s hands. Perhaps because so much of his life was in his hands, death seemingly could not take his hands.

We sat through the afternoon and watched a water-colour sun set in pastel outside the hospital room.

This room was a home for the past two and half months. A room where the windowsill filled quickly with vases and a rotation of flowers, where walls were eventually covered with pictures from family, cards from friends, home made posters from school children, drawings, placards, billboard notices, and more pictures. And there was music, in the end, classical.

This was home for more than just Bob. Home for his lady, his family, his close friends, some who faithfully came and sat at this side every day. Home for all kinds of grieving love and longing.

And now this man, who accepted much, readily accepted others, who picked up a friendship after years of gap without missing a beat, as if time evaporated, is now evermore accepted.

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  1. Bob is now resting in God’s heavenly realm and I believe he is leading the choir with his beloved guitar. and singing along. He and I, on many a visit spoke about what he could expect on his final transition. I trying to be the consummate Christian minister answered him; “I don’t really know Bob, I wish I did.
    “I know that Bob is in heaven, having accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior where else would he be? We are all forgiven of our sins, real or perceived even before we confess them with our mouths, God has already given us that gift.
    I will miss Bob; his jokes when he would come to the church to teach his students and ever the joker even to almost the very end. I was privileged to know Bob MacLachlan and to be able to minister to him; and I and many, many others will miss him, however I know one day all of us will meet again. Thank you Bob and God Bless You.
    Bob’s service is at the Clyde Hall at 3:00pm on Friday the 14th.

  2. Bob will be greatly missed. Although I didn’t know him that long, I felt a connection that I am very grateful to have experienced.

  3. I thought I was prepared to let him go, you know He’s in a better place and all of that, but I miss him so much. Tara and I were growing quite fond of viisiting him everyday after school, HE always made our day better. I wish once more I could hear that silly laugh of his out loud instead of just in my head.I truly hope he is in a better place because he deserves it. I don’t think he had any idea of the happiness he brought to people with his music and personality. I am so thankful for all the memories we have to share from our Sable Ridge days and the many years after that. I am honored to have called him Friend.I do miss him so.

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