Ok so I started this post about 2 weeks ago and just couldn't finish it. I have struggled to articulate just how good a person he really is and it was sounding more about me than him. This, friends is why I am NOT a writer and/or blogger. Fastforward to today, and Rome has just passed away....peacefully and in the arms of the woman he loved more than anything. No better way to go really. So despite the waffling below, the point is this....the world lost a true gem of a guy today. He lived strong, he loved well and he was an amazing role model to my kids xoxoxo
So as I am currently going about my daily life, yelling at the kids, stressing over this website, doing homework/laundry/chores there is a big black cloud overhead. One of my friends is sick, really sick. As sick as a human being can be and its f*#ked. He has been sick for a long time and whilst it is somewhat of a beautiful gift to be given the chance to spend quality time and say your goodbyes etc, at the end of the day the pain of knowing a good person is leaving this world a good 60 years before their due sucks. To put it mildly.
He and I met about 15 years ago through a guy I was seeing at the time. It was a relationship that was never meant to be and we were so grossly incompatible it was almost laughable. I think Rome saw this from the get go but thought it was not his place to say. Things got to a point where he did step up though, took my blinkers off and gave me some home truths. I still owe him big time. At the time I was hurt, being in a destructive relationship takes it out of us all and the guy and I had both lied, cheated and lived miserably for too long. Rome's honesty cost him his friendship with the guy but he had mine and I don't think he cared. Rome is not perfect, has made his own mistakes along the way but he has morals and integrity so breaking guy code was simply something he was prepared to do knowing it was the right thing.
And so Rome and I stayed friends and he was there when I met my now husband. They too became friends. Rome and I never lived in each other's pockets but when we hung out it was always awesome and funny as hell. I even tried to get him to come work for me at one point, thankfully he said no. He made the decision to give his skate photography a good go and that meant he needed flexibility. He got to travel, hang out with his mates and shoot some amazing skateboarders. He even started his own skate mag which sadly was at such a bad time in the industry when no one had advertising dollars to spend! I recently flicked through the mock up of the last issue with him that never made it to print, the man sure is talented.
Rome was at my wedding, wishing us well and sneaking off for ciggies knowing I would berate him if I saw it. He was one of our first visitors after we had our daughter and bought us some lovely gifts. It was an anxious time for me as she was an extremely unsettled bub and I remember commenting on how much calmer things were when he was there. That is when he told me he deserved to be her Godfather. I laughed, told him just because he was Italian and liked that movie didn't mean he qualified! He persisted and said that he even had the poster on his wall. It became a running joke between us....every time I would see him smoking or eating crap food I would remind him it wasn't "Godfatherly" behaviour. And I am not sure if it is a coincidence, but the other person that stands out from that time is now his wife.
Rach and I had worked and socialised in the same circles for years and had become friends. She made us a huge batch of food that was an absolute godsend. Not only was it delicious, but for a week I could relax about our evening meals. It made the world of difference. A year and a half later, we were all at a party. I couldn't believe they didn't know one another so introductions were made and the love story began. It was never a set up, I certainly can't take credit there at all but their connection was instant. When Rach called the next day with the update I knew they would be married. Even joked about wearing purple taffeta!
Soon after, Rome got sick. Honestly, if Rach hadn't been around to notice the odd behaviours and memory lapses he would have lost his battle many years ago. I won't go into what the last 5 years have been like because that is their story, and it has been told oh so eloquently here https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ffD60 Anyone with any knowledge of cancer would know its been hideously tough and challenging. Actually that last sentence is again, a gross understatement.
So now I sit here and ponder all of the the above and think about what my girl has been shown by "the Godfather"....in the face of adversity when most would have pulled the doona over our heads and said "f#%k off", Rome picked himself up and fought. Hard. Daily. He changed his lifestyle, his diet, his everything to try and beat this beast. And for so many years he triumphed and lived a good (albeit VERY tough at times) life with his gorgeous wife Rach and son Ryder . He has shown us what love is and is the best example of courageous I have ever known. By definition a Godparent is someone who will help guide you, be responsible for your religious education and so on....Rome Torti has done so much more.