It’s very easy to tell when was someone was revered in life, since in death they’re just as revered, if not more so considering that their presence is going to be missed so much by so many. Joanne Rogers, the widow of Mr. Fred Rogers, passed away recently at the age of 92, and for those around the world that revered the name Mr. Rogers, this is a time that is saddening for many and also worth taking note that without Joanne, Mr. Rogers might not have been the man he was since she did quite a bit to help him throughout the years, and was there when needed and when she could help. As an accomplished pianist in her own right, Joanne was someone that was seen as quite skilled and definitely able to carry her own name far and wide. But when she attached her life to Fred it was obvious that the two were made for each other according to many people, and throughout their years together it was just as obvious that they enjoyed a very special and loving marriage that benefited both of them in a big way. When Mr. Rogers passed away years ago, Joanne helped to keep his memory alive and made sure that the efforts he’d made to help children through his program and in other ways remained just as strong.
So far, 2021 isn’t being any kinder when it comes to losing those that we’ve looked up to and enjoyed watching or listening to for so long, and while it is tragic, it is to be expected. There are those that are taken too young, that should have been able to experience a much longer life than they did, but for individuals such as Joanne, the end to a long and successful life is less tragic, and I will explain why. Losing anyone is never easy, and it’s not meant to be. As human beings, we either learn to care about others or we find ourselves ostracized from our fellow human beings for our lack of empathy and sympathy, as these are traits that many people value to such a degree that they can’t help but be appalled that another human being would see either one as an outdated concept. Joanne was one of those that managed to empathize with many people and was seen as one of the kindest women around, and folks couldn’t help but say how much they loved her for all that she’d done with her husband and after his passing. The fact that people are mourning her passing is natural, and it’s easy to accept, but thinking that her death is a tragedy isn’t accurate. It’s a time to be sad, that’s for certain, but a firm belief is that honoring her life instead of mourning her loss is a better use of time in a world when too much sorrow has already been felt within the past year. Remembering her for everything she did, for who she was, is far better than sitting around and crying that she’s gone.
Is that a cold way to look at things? It depends on one’s perspective really since the goal of it is to wake people up a bit and remind them that death is another part of life, no matter how unwanted it is, and that when people reach the age of 92 it’s not a foregone conclusion that they’ll be gone soon, but there is the expectation that at one point their bodies will give out and they will cease to function. Many want to cling to the idea that she has reunited with her husband at this time, and that is a great way to look at things, while another way is to look back and recall all that she’s done for those around her and all that she accomplished on her own and at the side of her husband since the two of them complimented one another so well that it’s not hard to say that they lifted each other up when they needed it and balanced each other out in ways that made them stronger and kept them humble in their own way. This is what it is to be human after all and to be a part of a couple that cares so deeply about each other. The marriage between the two was seen to be quite strong and while it began from a long-distance relationship, it never wavered and it was beneficial for both of them in a lot of ways. Joanne and Fred lived a long, happy life together, and while it might be one with at least a few regrets here and there, they were human after all, it’s fair to say that they lived life according to their values and beliefs. Rest in peace ma’am, you’ve earned it many times over.