When I first started with Tobosa, I was hired to work one-on-one with Roy, which I did for about a year. During that time, he certainly gave me a run for my money. He shared stories of his days in the state institution and some of the experiences he endured while there; stories that brought tears to my eyes.
After his passing last week, I went through pictures of him and it is amazing to see how young Roy was when he arrived at our doorstep and how much he changed through the years. No matter how the times changed, Roy always lived day to day with a smile. He participated in Special Olympics. He was the life of the party. He was a practical jokester—throwing fake snakes at others or yelling “there’s a spider!” just to create laughter.
Despite the challenges Roy faced in the latter part of his life, he continued to hold great love for the little things. Christmas was one of his favorite holidays. Our staff and those around him made it a point to make it special for him. He was a big Dallas Cowboy fan and enjoyed buying memorabilia to decorate his room. He also enjoyed hitting the garage sales and finding a great bargain once in awhile.
Those closest to Roy can also remember a gentleman who sometimes grumpily spoke his mind, but hey, that was Roy! Despite his grumpy and stern shell, he had a heart of gold. He was sympathetic and comforting when he saw someone hurting. He always loved the Tobosa staff throughout all of his years. His sister Clarabelle, a constant in his mind, left Roswell years ago and relocated to Albuquerque. Phone calls to her and visits with her were the things he enjoyed the most. In the last few years, he found his two brothers and had the opportunity to reconnect with one of them.
Near the end Roy would reminisce about the old days. He would remember his dog, Spotty and the staff who were around throughout his life. Despite his health problems in the end, he managed and did so like a champ.
When you work in this field and you share so much with those we work alongside, we become a close-knit family. Roy, like so many others now and before him, are not “clients.” They are family.
Roy will be missed.