Roger E. Naylor was my poetry friend since the mid-1990’s. He was like a literary genius. His poems were untraditional, deep, and spiritual. The works were full of references to history, and often structured. He and I were among poetry groups since then that told my life’s story, my journey, my progress.
I had evolved out my depression in the years I’ve been friends with Roger. I matured in relationships and wisdom. I’ve grown in spirit.
He saw me out of a stage in life where I didn’t understand or empathize enough. He inspired me to write with more passion. He knew my faults and I knew his faults. We wrote and self-published with the groups of workshops and open mics on this journey. From Darwin’s Children on through to the last anthology, Moon Mist Valley. To spiritual awakening with Christianity and Catholic faith.
Confirmations from God, or from Roger in the afterlife, have comforted us since he passed yesterday.
I had recently thought of Roger before knowing his condition, in my travels with my wife just a few short days ago in San Francisco on a rainy day, in which me and my wife reminisced of the spontaneous poets trip that had happened because he invited us to visit him in Oakland and travel to SF years ago.
Turtle doves have been present in the day I learned of his nearing death, as were they present in another dear friend of his, Patricia. Today I saw doves on a customer’s shirt. I saw the name of another customer at work to be Roger. I ran into an old mutual friend of his and mine, to share the sad news with.
Yesterday I had 15 minutes to see and say goodbye to Roger in the ICU, unresponsive before they disconnected life support. I had shared a phone call prayer with Patricia over him. I added other prayers after.
Roger’s family had done what they could. Roger could not be kept under their roof, the free spirit and adventurer that led to his homeless weeks before.
Today his family members randomly came across his poems in a newstand walking in Lodi, recognizing his distinct style and handwriting immediately.
I noticed in the photo they shared the Thessalonians scripture that I had recently seen in an art piece at my mother-in-law’s. I remembered it because it was part of the new decor and inspired me with the words I thought in different aspects of faith, combined into one scripture. 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18.
16 Rejoice always.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Roger, we remember you, we love you as a friend and fellow journeyman through this life, and know God has shown us you are taken care of in the next. God bless you and we continue to pray for each other.