Don had a way with words. As a writer he spent so much time at his computer – writing, rewriting, rewriting, then rewriting some more. I can still hear him as if he’s in the next room, working on a draft and laughing at his own jokes.
His last movie, Rio 2 (see it in theaters soon before it’s gone!!) was released in April. The kids and I went to Miami for the premiere and then hosted a little party here in Los Angeles on opening night. His voice is so clear and his words jump off of the screen. There is a sweet “In Loving Memory of Don Rhymer” tribute at the very end of the film. Every time I see the movie I am stunned by this reality – I may never again see his name or hear his words spoken up on the big screen.
Don’s words are his legacy, his gift. I have voicemails and texts and emails from him. Love letters from college, school essays and short stories. Chapters from a novel he started. I have his office, full of outlines and treatments and scripts. I can watch his tv shows and movies and see the characters that he created bring his words to life. I’m both desperate and grateful to have something tangible to hold on to.
It has been said that “good words are worth much and cost little”. When each of our kids was in college Don would send them postcards every once in awhile, often just a sentence or two, to say hi and let them know he was thinking of them. They were his way of checking in, of giving a little “Dad advice” from a distance. For his memorial service we decided to collect our favorites and have them printed to share with everyone who came.
The day before he died Don wrote the last quote on a legal pad in his hospital room. “Focus on the good.” He was as certain at the end of his journey as he was at the beginning that God does indeed inhabit the bitter and the sweet.
His final gift of his words. No rewriting necessary.