How to Say Goodbye...
Enjoy the Grits and Gravy!
We welcomed 2017 in Florida with lifelong friends from school days in Tennessee. Both couples married the same year and amazingly, we have remained close friends, even though we live thousands of miles from each other.
We often celebrated our anniversaries together with some fabulous adventures from Maine to Alaska, to amazing Yellowstone and the wild Oregon coast.
From sick-as-a-dog in Mexico, to fishing in Colorado, to kayaking the Silver River. This year, they had to cancel our autumn excursion to Finger Lakes in New York. The chemo left him too weak to travel. So we knew, oh yes, we knew.
After years of therapies and treatments with every method available and the best of medical care, it wasn't working. And so, they began getting busy for the hard reality of the future. A car to 16-year-old grandson, giving golf clubs to a friend, selling the boat. When they invited us to spend New Years Eve with them, we were on the next available plane. Excited, anxious, not knowing what to expect, what to say, what to do. All we knew was that we wanted to be there.
Turns out, this was his show, his last Bon Voyage party. He met us in the driveway, laughing and hugging. We were honored to ring in the New Year with his family, teen-aged grandchildren, and nearby friends. Cheers to happy times!
He was feeling better than he had in months and driving again. He took us to a local winery, to see a beautiful and tough golf resort he used to play, and to grab a delicious bite at the scruffy Boon Docks right on a lake. Nothing better!
Next day we scarfed down a fabulous country breakfast acclaiming our Southern roots at a local favorite, The Biscuit Barn. OMG, grits, gravy, ham and biscuits like we do NOT get in Arizona! Scrumptious! (Still working off those calories!)
We watched ball games, played cards until midnight and reveled in his music videos - oh how he loved The Tenors! And we indulged in his ultimate treat - in the hot tub, drinking expensive wine he had saved from our last Oregon excursion!
He talked and talked. We just listened and for the moment, forgot about the future. Wonderful, just like old times.
Turns out, that was it. Our only job. Not to say something magnificent or collapse in a pool of tears or pontificate about the damned unfairness of life. But to continue our lifelong friendship, the love and laughter, and do what has kept us friends all these years. We shared life's ups and downs with a solid friendship for more than 50 years. And now we are facing the hard part... with love, laughter and tears.
He passed away in April, 2017. Although we knew it was coming, we were not prepared for the waves of grief, the overwhelming emptiness, the stark knowledge that he is gone, and yet the strange feeling that he's near and we should be planning our next adventure together.
So Dear Friend, thanks for the many wonderful memories along the way. It's been a great run. We sure did enjoy the grits and gravy.