Yesterday, Portland started cold and rainy. The rain lifted by mid morning, and we were graced with sun breaks and a crisp December day. And on that day, we said farewell to our friend, my office mate and colleague, Robert Neuberger.
Robert and I started sharing office space a couple of years ago. I’ve known him and looked up to him since I was a young lawyer. He cut a large swath through the Oregon legal community. We’ve handled a number of cases together over the years. We’ve laughed and fought, but always we had each other’s back. And that is a rare, precious thing.
Robert lost his fight with cancer on Saturday. We all knew it was coming–he’s been sick for four years. Even as his time drew near, Robert maintained a positive, loving attitude and enjoyed finding humor in the tough circumstances.
When Robert first received the cancer diagnosis, he shrugged his shoulders and chose to dwell on the upside. “You know,” he said, “It could have been a piano falling out of a fourth floor window. Or a TriMet bus. In a crosswalk.”
It’s been a sad time for the family and many friends Robert left behind. We smiled and laughed through the tears yesterday and resolved to keep his memory alive. But I would be lying if I did not admit to a case of the blues. It’s a big rip out of the fabric of many lives.
Robert’s family plans a public memorial service. If you knew Robert and want details on the public memorial, feel free to contact me privately.
I don’t much believe in the idea of an afterlife, but I’m always quick to hedge my bets. So, Robert, if you’re somehow seeing this, you can chide me later or bust my chops for failing to find more laughs. I know how you hate my excuses, but see, a dear friend just died, and I’m damned short on humor. I suppose I should apologize. Or not.