SailorsGoodbyeAt this time last year I wrote a piece on why when it is time to say goodbye, it is important that it be done well.

This last weekend was graduation at the college where I teach. It was time to say goodbye after four years to over one hundred young men and women, having grown very close to a number of them, and shared much with all of them. And now I go to my office to commence a professor’s summer work, starting with grading the final exams of students who have gone their own ways. Their absence is palpable; indeed it is downright jarring.

But life goes on, right? We raise our children, and even they move on. Our parents raise us, and in time, they move on. I’ve had the pleasure of making remarkable friendships through the years. How many of them too—including myself, have moved on, in one way or another.

Dear God; one day I will have to say goodbye to my wife.

A soul seeks that which is solid, enduring. Memory is key. It is a kind of presence of what is no more. But even the presence effected by memory can only really have solidity if memory of the past is leavened by some hope for the future.

As years go by I feel that my soul is a kind of space to hold onto things—to events, to shared toils, and especially to faces. I love faces; I really don’t want to lose any. Perhaps sometimes I’ll wonder just why I’m clinging to them. I resolve to remind myself that it’s not because I don’t have hope, but rather because I do. And what I’ve held onto will be a basis for recognizing, and rejoicing; again. Some day.

Image: Philip Sadee (1837-1904)

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