Saturday, June 12, 2010

RIP Grillmeister

The world lost a great man this week. He was a great floating buddy, a grillmeister supreme and an outstanding person, husband and friend. My buddy, Rich Bruer, kissed his wife goodbye last Friday and headed off to work. He e-mailed with her that morning discussing the Friday night plan. He took his lunch break and walked around downtown St. Louis. Somewhere along the way he had a massive heart attack and died. Just like that. He was only 44 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Kathryn, who is just a fantastic lady. They had no children but many, many loving friends. It was a good lesson in how short and precious life is. Leigh always used to say that you should tell everyone that you love them before you leave, always. You never know when will be the last time that you see them. I wonder sometimes if she knew how young she would die. I was remembering back to the last float trip. I thanked Rich and Kathryn for getting us all together (and for Rich's expertise on the grill), I told them I couldn't wait until next time and as I closed my car door I said, "love you guys". That was the last time I saw Rich alive.

If you know me, I have probably told you that I love you, because I do. I have many friends who, to this day, are taken aback when I say it. Losing a friend like Rich reminds me of why I do it. It may seem ridiculous or trivial to you but I smile when I look back and remember those final moments of love between us. I feel lucky and blessed for each and every person in my life. I want you to know, no matter what, that I have love in my heart for you. None of us know when our number will be up. If I am remembered as the girl that always said ‘I Love You’, I am ok with that.

I had not seen Rich and Kathryn in years. I am sad to say that I had not seen any of the old floating buddies until we were all brought together by this horrible tragedy. We vowed to float again, to get together and talk. We let ourselves lose touch and then we lost one of our own. Our friend, Rebel Sarah, who floats with us called it “a sin and a shame” if this doesn’t bring us back together. The Rebel is right. We owe it to ourselves and Rich and Kathryn to never be pulled so far apart again.

It is amazing the bond that is formed by a few weekends in the wilderness together. I feel like these people are my family. It felt good to rally for Kathryn. She was full of strength and grace, even in the worst hour of her life. She made the decision the day that Rich died that we would celebrate his life, not mourn his death. Rich was a laid back, peaceful and earthy soul. Kathryn is his opposite. Despite that fact, I am proud to say that Kathryn buried Rich the way that he would have wanted. He had on his shorts, tank top and hat in the casket. In his hands were his sunglasses (which he always wore) and cigars (which he loved to smoke). Some people would call that tacky, I call it a tribute. Rest in peace, Grillmeister, you are loved and missed by many.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss but I love the way you look at life. I am a big "I love you" person too but not as much as I should be. Love his attire in the casket!

  2. P.S. There is something waiting for you on my blog!

  3. Im so sorry for your loss. but what a beautiful post.