There are many types of farewells. Some I’ve faced with a sad poignancy paired with excitement. I left childhood behind and started upon the road of adulthood here. I knew with a pure clarity the moment that I laid to rest the last remnants of my childhood. I packed away my memories and playthings with as much care as I packed my suitcases. I knew that when the time came, I would rely upon those experiences, those memories. The time was past, but the experiences would forever be with me. How many times did I say farewell to friends of the moment as they or I left for a new home and school? Many, and it never got easier, but I learned to face each move with hope and gratitude for having known the people for the time that I did. My life is full of moments like these; turning points at which I set upon a new path in my life’s journey.
Other goodbyes I met with reluctance coupled with happiness. As I grew up, I planted roots and others moved away. I met the best friend I’d spent three decades yearning for and in the blink of an eye she was across the country. I hated to see her go, but I rejoiced with her in her fortune and in the wonderful home and opportunities she’s found.
Then there are the final goodbyes; the one that cut deep and carve out a piece of my soul. At barely twenty I said goodbye to my baby brother. He never saw his eighteenth year. He never saw his nephews and nieces. To quote a song, his journey was cut short by the “sharp knife of young life.” Then there was the long slow death of my marriage. It’s another type of grief to awaken to the knowledge that the person you gave your heart does not reciprocate and kills your love one harsh, painful word at a time. There were the deaths of pets. They may not strike a person’s heart in the same way as the loss of a friend or relative, but it still hurts. Today I had to face another final goodbye to a mentor, teacher, and good friend. Goodbyes never get easier. If we were to get accustomed to them I think it would lessen their importance. With each one, it forces us to evaluate our lives. Is that person better for my having been a part of their life? Life is a journey of lessons of many kinds, some of them painful and some joyous. I thank my friend for the lessons he taught me, the support and encouragement he offered, and I’m glad I was able to return a small portion.