Since the passing of my son Roy, the idea of being remembered was at the forefront of countless comments, conversations, and thoughts about him.
Roy was named after his uncle, who, like Roy, died as a young adult. For the sake of confusion, I will refer to him as big Roy and our son as little Roy.
Big Roy’s request to his brother Gregg Varney before his death was to name a child after him so that he could be remembered. Our son’s arrival in 2000 opened up doors into a world that we never thought could exist. A world where the farm, land, and animals came together to send messages in ways that only a few can or want to understand.
The Painted Turtle
The painted turtle is the most prevalent of them all; bringing light that big Roy was still at Nezinscot Farm in spirit and had a message before being sent into the light. Big Roy wanted to be remembered. His death, like little Roy, brought sadness to his family and the community beyond what many could bear. Suppressing the feelings and boxing him up was perhaps the only way many were able to process.
Writing the book “The Painted Turtle” was our way of assuring that big Roy would be remembered; sharing his story and the compelling connection with a little painted turtle with all who wanted to listen. The book, as I have come to realize, was simply the preface to the true remembrance of him.
Little Roy Varney
Little Roy’s profound energy was always filled with excitement, love, passion, compassion, joy, and getting things done. It was, and is, the one compelling feature that will be what he is remembered for. The accomplishments attained through his level of energy and the love that he shared with all who he encountered in his path have created memories and stories that will continue to be shared by all.
“He made everyone around him better”, “He made us smile”, “He made things fun”, “The trails just got a bit quieter”, are just a few of the quotes shared with us about little Roy.
As for the painted turtle, she would come into our lives one more time. Last week while Gregg was out farming, she appeared; forcing him to get off his tractor on his ride home from the field. Stooping over to pick her up out of the road, only to notice that she had a broken shell from an accident; wishing her well as he gently placed her in the tall grass next to the river.
Remembering & Finding Peace
We hope that Roy can help guide all of you as he has us. Slow, like the painted turtle, or fast like him. Steady, one day at a time, maintaining a constant pace while having a clear path and vision of our destination.
Nezinscot means to “Descend Upon” —we invite all of you to descend upon our farm; that it may help you heal and offer its love as you too try to understand and cope.
Roy’s Celebration of Life
We will be hosting a celebration of life for Roy on August 25th from 6 – 9 p.m. at Nezinscot Farm. In lieu of gifts we ask that donations be made here or at the event to help fulfill Roy’s dream of building his very own wellness and biathlon training center at the farm.
The Maine Outdoor Wellness Center at Nezinscot’s North Farm was a dream of Roy’s, a place where he could continue to train for nordic skiing and biathlon year round, all while continuing to help out on the farm.
The Center seeks to preserve the memory of Roy Varney by providing opportunities to access the outdoors for all Turner and surrounding residents of central Maine and New England. The Center plans to provide an extensive cross country trail system on its 300+ acre farm that can be utilized year round for hiking, skiing, biking, and running. Additional space for events and additional activities will be added as development progresses.
The Center will be incorporated as a non-profit by end of the year and managed by a board of family members, Roy’s fellow ski mates, coaches, and friends. Others interested in volunteering or participating in any way can reach the family.
Roy’s Celebration of Life – Event Link