Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Last Goodbye...

Tonight I said goodnight to a guest for the last night.
It's happened before -- they've come in one last time before moving away, or on the last night of the last business trip to our area. But tonight was probably the last night this guest will eat in any restaurant.
After being open more than a couple years, you get to know guests patterns and this one has been unique in the way it's changed.
From monthly visits with the same companion, it changed into coming in only for special events, then even those got cancelled for this visit to the doctor or that last minute "issue".
And tonight is was clear why -- though not talked about at the table, she is ill. Ill enough that it was clear that in a few weeks, I'll be getting a phone call about meal delivery... or perhaps no more meals at all.
I am overwhelmed with the grief in some ways. I am clear that there is no good way to leave your life, and there is grief to those leaving as much as for those left behind. And I am thrilled this guest has had a long and loved life. And I will miss her so deeply. She is a member of our family. She watched us grow into the restaurant we are. She watched us become a couple and both she and her dining companion have watched me move from partner in life to include business as well.
And they've gone from being guests, to friends, to family.
So, we kept it light. Didn't really make mention of how little she ate. Packed up her chocolate dessert so that she could enjoy it at home later. And make small jokes all night long about nothing in particular.
Saying goodnight at the door, we made sure it was the full blown version of holding the door and hugs all around as we've done each visit. And then I went at had a good cry.
Here's to you, H. Hugs and love and thank you for being a part of our world.