The Long Goodbye

Have you ever reunited with people and then had a hard time leaving when your visit is over? The Babe’s family is famous for a Long Goodbye when they take their leave. Maybe we all do that. It’s never, “Gotta go!” and out the door you go. No, it’s announcing, “We need to go!” followed by at least ten more minutes of chatting, and only moving a couple of steps.

Forward progress is further hindered by stopping dead in your tracks, and asking if you’d seen so-and-so lately. At that point, you might as hold your coat before putting it on; you’re going to be there until further catching up occurs.

You may look around the room, pick up a magazine on a random table, and read the latest People publication about the wedding of Dave Brainard and Jenny Tolman last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s a lovely article. Full of beautiful photos. My friend Ritch Cassidy talked about it this morning on Facebook. The photos and story will help pass the time while the catching up runs its course. It’s a beautiful story.

Now that you’ve read about a great love story, the Babe may look at you and say, “You ready?” You smile sweetly and say, “Yes, dear.” Then he goes on the hug-route again. Hugs for everyone, pats on the back, and “I love you’s.” Have I told you lately the Babe is the single best hugger in America. Yes. It’s true. They take a while, but they’re worth it. I smile at the love shown the group. He’s the best.

While the hugging-fest is in full swing, someone mentions an obscure story from long ago, and the Babe engages with them, full belly laughs all around. And more stories. I’ll take my coat off. Might as well sit down. This will take a while. It’s ok.

Today was our last goodbye to friend, brother-in-law, uncle Lou Riedmann. He was a man among men, a business owner, a mentor to many, including the Babe, and a father, grandfather, and great grandfather. It was cold at the Inurnment Ceremony, and I pictured Lou in his beautiful Criss Craft boat, steering full speed ahead into the great beyond, with Sharon by his side. He needs to go visiting. He has many friends waiting. Our loss is their gain. And Lou is happier than he’s ever been. Although that is hard to imagine. It’s a great thought. One I prefer to entertain about a good friend.

Entertain good thoughts about our beloved ones in heaven. It helps us heal. It helps us understand better what is a natural part of life. As Father Dan said out in the cold an hour ago, Lou is at the beginning of life. His eternal life. How wonderful! Believe in the best. You will feel the comfort and the love. Keep those thoughts, and we’ll visit again tomorrow. Be safe.

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