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:
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.
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. :-)