Father Prior David called me Sunday afternoon with the word that our beloved Brother Tobias had died. He had been battling cancer for a short while, and had received chemotherapy in Fort Smith. They brought him home Friday, but had to take him back to Ft. Smith Saturday because he was in great pain. The reality was that the chemo, because of his weakened condition, had seeped through his intestines into his abdominal cavity and caused septicemia (septic shock leading to death). Of course by being so weak, the intestinal walls could not hold back whatever was in the intestines.
I shall miss him as a friend, beyond the loss to our monastic community at his passing. He was the only one who stood with me in the late unpleasantness, and actually suffered with me in the aftermath, although he did not go into voluntary exile as I did. We never saw eye-to-eye on a number of issues, but that did not stop us from being close. I drank his wine and enjoyed his company. He was always cheerful even in trials, and had a lot more energy than you could believe from looking at the picture to the left. He looks like an old man there, and I guess that years of hard physical labor and little sleep had taken their toll, but I will not remember him thus. (When he was in college at SLU at the time I was there, I can remember him falling asleep over his books, nodding off, waking up and trying to study again. It was kind of funny, but he was never absent from Morning Prayer, which is more than you can say for me.) You can see the beginning of a smile at the corner of his lips, and I'm sure that he thought that taking his picture was more to be endured than enjoyed, especially when there was work to be done.
When I came back for visits, if I had the time, I would try to take him over to the Sonic in Paris and get him a root beer float. He loved sweets, especially ice cream, so it was always a treat for him.
Today at 5:30 I shall say the Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul and the Officium defunctorum (Office for the Dead) during the day. May his memory be eternal, and may he rest in the peace he so justly deserves!