One of the last times I saw Tom was back in June. We ran into each other at the Casper Walmart. I was there to pick up groceries. He had just finished a chemo treatment and was waiting for the pharmacy to fill a prescription.
He looked a little thinner and a little tired but he was the same old Tom. We chatted for a minute or two about the kids, the weather and summer cow work. And then he grabbed my hand and squeezed it and flashed me that thousand watt smile of his. There were a million things I wanted to say right then and a million memories flashed through my mind but Tom would not have wanted for me to get all sentimental in the middle of Walmart, so I just squeezed his hand, smiled back and hoped he knew what I would have said if I had only known how to say it.
Here we are a few months later, forced to say goodbye long before we should have to. There is not a stronger, tougher more stubborn cowboy out there anywhere but cancer doesn’t play fair, not even close. Cancer robbed the world of a sweet soul and a heck of a Cowboy. Cancer robbed Bob and Sharon of a son, Brenda of her brother, Heidi of her husband, two beautiful little girls of their Daddy and a whole lot of us of the truest friend you’ll ever come across.
Dad won’t be able to call up Tom and say,” we’re thinking about working some cows” and before he can finish, hear Tom say, “what time should I be there and how many horses should I bring” even though Dad was probably calling the night before he needed him.
We won’t be able to watch Tom ride or rope or listen to him tell wild west stories around the cooler after a branding.
Cancer robbed us all of something really special because Tom was one of a kind.
But cancer didn’t win. There is a quote by Albert Pine, that says, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains immortal.” Cancer didn’t win because Tom left a mark on this world and on us that can never be erased.
Anyone who met Tom remembered him and immediately liked him. Anyone who had the privilege to call him a friend, loved him. He was always there to help, often without being asked. He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh you’d never forget.
Cancer may have robbed of us his physical presence but it can never take away the good that he did, the friendship and the memories. No one will ever be able to fill the cowboy boots he left behind and we will miss him everyday. But cancer didn’t win because he will never be forgotten and will always and forever be loved.
All week friends have been posting pictures of Tom I’ve put a few of them together in the video below.
Dad wrote this poem for Tom. Godspeed my friend…..
It was early on in 81
Winter here had just begun
And in amongst it’s snow and wind
Here young Tom his life he did begin
Even though he had a wintery start
You could tell, this kid was all heart.
We’ve watched him grow over the years
From his first snoose to a few too many beers.
Saw him ride broncs in the arena and outside
All the while on both he had that grin that was so wide.
It didn’t matter whether it was working cattle or digin post holes
He gave you his all, it was just in his soul.
Now why God did you call this good cowboy home at this time?
When he’s got a young family and is just in his prime?
You know we’ll trust your call is the best
But it sure makes it hard on me and the rest!
I’m sure when you called and said Tom, can you come now
He couldn’t say no, he didn’t know how.
I know there were cowboys to great him up there
And mount him with whatever they had, cause he wouldn’t care.
So we’ll go on cause we’ve no choice in the matter
But we’ll sure miss Tom when the cattle begin to scatter.