Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Russert, Russert, Russert

(photo credit: AP)Russert I made it to Tim Russert's wake yesterday.  I'm glad I did.

There was a pretty long line on Wisconsin Avenue, snaking through the gardens of St. Alben's School - of people, young, old, dressed up, not - to file by Tim's casket and pay their respects.  When I got inside, something shifted.

Tim Russert was a giant in politics and journalism.  A success story.  A regular guy who made it big.

But in that open room in the commons area of the Catholic school where his son was educated, where his casket now sits, covered in fresh flowers, I realized something.

As I shook hands with his wife, Maureen Orth, and his son, Luke Russert, I had a very "Wonder Years" moment.  It was personal.  No longer was I caught up in the "this is Tim Russert" or "this is history" fanfare, but I connected with that wife, and that son on a very basic level.  Anyone who has ever lost a loved one and gone through that knows exactly what I mean.  There is nothing else like it.  That autopilot mode that gets you through those incredibly trying few days.

So, I pray with a new perspective for Tim Russert's family today, as they bury him and say what some will refer to as "their final goodbyes" or "their last respects."  I pray knowing that this isn't their final goodbye at all, or their final respects.  This hasn't even hit them.  Goodbyes are never final, they kind of go on forever, as does respect.

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