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The Long Goodbye

Our mourning for Mr. Reagan didn't begin this week.

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
June 11, 2004

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The Lord Goodbye_Greg Asimakoupoulos-Our mourning for Mr. Reagan didn't begin this week. Ten years ago,
removing a cloak of suspicion,
Ron donned a vest of vulnerability
and admitted what many had feared.

The rumored vandalism was true.
Without invitation or welcome,
Mr. Alzheimer's disease had broken into his mind
and begun to rob Mr. Reagan
of that brilliant sense of reason, wit and recall
we all had come to love.

Back then we began our goodbyes.
It was as if Nancy's Ronnie
had mounted one of his much-loved horses
and slowly rode beyond his ability to hear us.
So we waved so long
and mused how short
eight decades of life really is
(and how cruel it can be sometimes).

Out of sight (and out of mind),
it seemed our 40th President left us then.
But he hadn't really.
His slow private ride into a mind-blinding sunset
provided us plenty of time to make peace with
what has become the dreadful destination of too many.

And so it seems appropriate that we would mourn
a good long time this week.
It seems only right that his corpse be carried
from one coast to the other and then back again.
This one for whom America was truly beautiful
had to go from sea to shining sea one last time
before his pastor could pronounce
"ashes to ashes, dust to dust."
It was a must.
After all, the boy from the Midwest
left his mark in the west and the east
and not least of all in our hearts.

Filled with heads of state who respected him
and tales of a great leader who proved himself,
the National Cathedral is an appropriate sanctuary
to honor God and acknowledge a man of humble origins
known for both his patriotism and faith.

The church perched high above the city of monuments
is the perfect place to memorialize a leader
too many (sadly) took for granted.
And so a House of God
not far from what was once his House of White
shelters his flag-draped earthly dwelling
while a grateful grieving nation watches.

But we would do well to remember
it is his earthly dwelling only.
While we are left to contemplate our own
forthcoming journey through Death's Valley,
the man we mourn is quite alive
and at long last
clothed in his right mind.

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PO BOOKS BY GREG ASIMAKOUPOULOS
Sunday Rhymes & Reasons
Published June 4, 2009

Sunday Rhymes and Reasons is a compilation of inspirational poetry by America's pastor/poet laureate, Greg Asimakoupoulos. In this, his third volume of poetry, Pastor Greg paints word pictures that portray both the struggle and fulfillment that define a life of faith. His repertoire of rhymes celebrate rite-of-passage occasions like birth, baptism, marriage and death as well as the major holidays of the church and culture. It is a volume that illustrates the poet's love of words and of popular culture. The author dips his brush into a paint box of hubris, humor and honesty.

"Gloria and I have been encouraged by word pictures from Greg's pen that have celebrated both our ministry and God's presence in our world."Bill Gaither, Gospel music composer/performer

"Gifted poet Greg Asimakoupoulos is a dear friend of our family. His poetry blesses, comforts, entertains, and provides inspiration for every season of life."Natalie Grant, singer/songwriter/recording artist

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The Long Goodbye
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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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