How do you say goodbye?

I’ve been sitting here at my laptop all day thinking about Hugh. I think I’ve started and restarted this post about ten times but find myself at a loss for words. I read all the other posts by Wizbang bloggers for inspiration, but I still find myself…stunned at the suddenness of his death.

I didn’t know Hugh even though had been a part of the Wizbang family for a while. We emailed back and forth a couple of times about Wizbang issues, but unfortunately our conversations stayed in the realm of blogging business, so I never got to know him. I am feeling really bad about that right now.

As other Wizbang bloggers have already noted, Hugh’s posts were consistently insightful, original, and very well written and I enjoyed them a lot. It was clear Hugh was a thinker and not a linker. His May 22nd post The European Riots Can Happen Here; The SEIU is Already Sponsoring Them is particularly good. Actually, virtually all of his posts were very good, and now that he’s gone, I’m regretting that I didn’t leave more comments or let him know more often how much I enjoyed them.

The day after one of Hugh’s business partners sent out the email informing all of us at Wizbang about his sudden death, I headed over to Hugh’s Facebook page. We had been Facebook friends since January and I have to say I consider it an honor that he thought enough of me to make me one of his 25 friends.

I remembered Hugh never used Facebook much, but I was still a little surprised that he only wrote one status update from the time he created his page, when he had written hundreds of thoughtful, compelling posts at Wizbang. You’d think someone who loved to pontificate about politics on a group blog as often as he did would be equally chatty in other forums. Not so with Hugh. He posted his one and only Facebook update back on March 26th when he proudly congratulated his youngest daughter for being the winner of the 2010 Lexington Christian Academy 3rd Grade Spelling Bee.

It would be easy to overlook that one Facebook update, to dismiss it as being unimportant compared to all that Hugh wrote at Wizbang. But I kept coming back to it throughout the day. And when you think about it, Hugh’s one simple and spontaneous expression of pride and love for his little girl, a whole of 15 words, represents what truly matters in this world, doesn’t it? It’s not that Hugh’s Wizbang posts don’t matter; they do, of course, as we can see from the outpouring of sadness and appreciation from so many readers. But when you strip away all the various things we spend so much of our time on, the things that we argue about, yearn for, and even covet – politics, material possessions, wealth, fame – what really matters is our families and the love that we get from them, for they are beautiful gifts from God and they are what sustain us to the end.

In Memoriam: Hugh Slatery