Hiking, Dancing, And Sunglasses – A Memorial To Joe

Last weekend I went to the funeral service for my friend Joe.

I met Joe and his greyhound, Flyer, at a local lake more than 15 years ago when I was there with my first greyhound, Style. Joe suggested we help each other with greyhound care if either of us needed to go out of town, and before we knew it Style and Flyer became close cousins and Joe, my husband, Dennis, and I grew to be friends.

Less than two weeks ago Joe developed a cough and a severe headache. He asked his oldest daughter to take him to the emergency room. Turns out he had the flu. Two days later he died. Joe was a year younger than me. These are the words he wanted read at his memorial service:
“I’d like to think of people dancing in my memory. This life has been very brief compared to the everlasting life that awaits. Dance, eat, drink, and laugh in my memory. Remember the good times and the bad. Tell the stories and sing the songs. Have fun! Dance with no shoes on and wear sunglasses.”

An Intentional Life

Joe’s life wasn’t all fun – he was divorced and started a new life with a new bride shortly after we met. Even though he already had a college-age daughter he and Kim began a new family and have two young children – MacKenzie and Zach.

He left his job as an Emmy-award-winning videographer with a local news station to run his own video production company and be a house dad. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but when I would see him at our local Publix with kids in the cart there was no hint of anything but joy.

At his service the pastor commented on Joe’s personification of the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I plan to spend a big part of my thru-hike contemplating Joe’s spirit and his example. Life is brief. Tell the stories, sing the songs, and dance.

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Comments 6

  • Therese : Jan 22nd

    What a lovely tribute. Joe will be with you in spirit dancing in his bare feet!!!!!!

  • Vince Piquet : Jan 22nd

    I can think of no finer way to honor your friends life and keep his memory alive.
    Vince aka “The Dude”, SOBO’17/’18

  • Drama Mama : Jan 26th

    What a great tribute. I’ll be sure at one point on my hike to dance with my shoes off and my sunglasses on. NOBO Feb 18

    • Barb Abney : Jan 27th

      Thank you. I’m NOBO a month after you but plan to flip flip from Maine in July so maybe we’ll meet in the middle. We can take our shoes off and do a happy dance!

  • Karen Guin : Jan 27th

    What a beautiful tribute to Joe. And what a profound loss for his family and friends. Thank you for reminding me of how precious every minute of life is.

    • Barb Abney : Jan 27th

      Thanks, friend. Friends are precious gifts.


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