Friday, October 8, 2010

Lynwood's Eulogy.

A few months ago, a dear friend in Jackson, MS, died of cancer. It was way too early for this to happen. I guess we always say that, but Lynwood was only 42. And he was married to sweet Hiller for far too short of a time, and his daughters were both younger than 13. That's just ridiculous.

Lynwood did, however, spend his 42 years showing those of us around him how to live life to its fullest, and in the most hilarious ways possible. I mean, I only knew him for a few years, and I was an ancillary friend as someone who dated one of his close guy friends, and I was still impacted in a major way. So I can only imagine his entire life span's reach.

I was deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to say goodbye to Lynwood in person the night he left this earth, especially since I'd only learned of his illness a couple of weeks before.

And I was incredibly honored when Hiller asked me to read a blog I had posted as the eulogy at Lynwood's beautiful celebration of life. In fact, that memory still is an honor.

I did some editing for the funeral, and this was the final version:

A few years back, I met a guy who was larger than life. Not physically -- though he was very tall -- but he was larger than life in personality.

I'll even say it out loud: At first, Lynwood seemed kind of flashy to me. It wasn't just his wildly printed shirts or fashion dares, but also his penchant for grabbing life by the tail, seeing where it took him, and enjoying the ride, no matter what it involved.

Don't get me wrong.

From the minute I met him, Lynwood was an excellent daddy to Shelby and Kylie, and showed more true, honest devotion to his commitments each day than most people do to their favorite TV shows each week.

Lynwood just lived large. If he was involved, it was grandiose, and all out, and full throttle.

In time, I came to realize that in spite of -- or maybe even because of -- what I initially considered to be his flashiness, Lynwood's depth went far beyond the seats in his Humvee and the road to his deer camp. Lynwood's passion for life included play and work, and during the time I knew him, he succeeded at both, 1,000%.

One of the most fun things I got to do during my decade of living in Jackson was to be a front-row ticketholder to the love that blossomed between Lynwood and Hiller. She appreciated his spontaneity, and he adored her sweet heart of gold. And best of all, they weren't afraid to tell each other that, much less show it.

That's not as common as I once thought it would be, so I revered this trait as a rare gift I had the privilege to watch them give each other.

Hiller told me recently that Lynwood's motto was always "Don't wait." I didn’t know this prior to his illness, but looking back, it’s not too difficult to glimpse through my small window of his very large life and see that exact theory come into play. Whether he was talking houses with his real estate peeps, discussing fine points of neighborhood golf cart riding with Charlie, or convincing all of us to just get out of dodge for a trip to the Big Easy, Lynwood never waited.

Today, as I know where his body is, and the much better place where his soul is, I'm so grateful that the larger-than-life teddy bear of an entrepreneur that was Lynwood Vinson didn't wait to get to know this short, geeky redhead with glasses.

Not because it enhanced his life so much, but because his and Hiller's love and family and friendship have made such an indelible impression on my world.

I have had the honor of working, playing, vacationing, laughing, crying, mourning, celebrating, relaxing, and sharing comfortable silence with these two beautiful souls, and I'm so grateful for that. They've even seen me at my messiest, and still came back for more. And that, my friends, is true love.

So Lynwood, thanks for living out your “don’t wait” motto with me, too.

If you’d stalled on hanging out with the less than cool kid, I’d have never realized that my initial thoughts about your crazy shirts were wrong.

Truth is, I could learn some fashion tips from Lynwood, especially his motto of not waiting for things and people and ideals to come “in,” and of living and loving passionately, which will never go out of style.

I always have, and continue to wish you much love, my fun and colorful friend.

I will see you in Heaven, and be prepared. I will ask for a dance. :-)


  1. I am so sad to read this. I was friends with Lynwood when I lived in MS 10 years ago. He was truly an inspiration and an amazing human. I never had the opportunity to meet his new wife as they met after I moved away but i'm sure she is just as amazing. He was flashy and creative and lived life to the fullest. I am honored to have had his influence in my life. He was truly a special kind of person. Thanks for writing such a nice eulogy.

    1. I'm sorry to just respond to this. IDK why I am. Thank you so much for commenting here. You are so correct with all your thoughts on him. You would love Hiller. :-) I appreciate your kind words.


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