Tag Archives: goodbye

Farewell, for now

Dear friend,

Tomorrow is a day I’m sure you had hoped never to see this young. Tomorrow you will gather with friends and family to commemorate the person you have loved the most completely – the one you whispered to in the dark and woke up beside, the one you could talk to across a crowded room with just a glance and a grin. Your love. The father of your children. Your best friend. Tomorrow you will celebrate this life and mourn its end.

If I could be there with you tomorrow I probably wouldn’t say much. I would give you a hug. I would tell you that if there were anything I could do in the weeks and months ahead – anything – to just call me, and I would mean it. But during those charged hours surrounding the memorial service I would be wary of further burdening you with my memories and my own raw emotions.

I can’t be there, though. I’m oceans and miles away and all I have to offer during this time are words.

The last time we all had dinner together is almost two years ago now. On that cold evening your house was a refuge for me from all the pressures of preparing to move half a world away. I sat by the fire with a glass of wine, watching you put dinner together in the kitchen and listening to him act out a bedtime story about spaceships in the next room. We laughed and talked together until almost eleven that night about the toys we played with as children, about solar panels and living simply, about marriage, faith, and whether there was ultimately more to life than even these most incandescent mortal moments of warm fireplaces and good friends.

We all said that we thought there was.

Tomorrow you will say a difficult farewell. Or, rather, you will take one big step along a harrowing journey of bidding goodbye, because your life together cannot be summed up in one public gathering. You will say your goodbyes a thousand times in a thousand ways during the days ahead.

But in the grand scheme of things – in the sweep of life that extends beyond the years we live here – I do not believe this is a final farewell. I believe it is farewell, for now.

I am thankful for that, and I am so thankful for all the moments I was able to share with you both over the years. I will be thinking of him tomorrow – of that dry wit that he always wielded with kindness and of the way that he tackled life with zest and integrity. And I will be thinking of you as you grieve his absence, and as you and others open up the storehouses of your memories and pour forth treasures in celebration of the life of an extraordinary man.

For Danielle and Patrick

Four weeks and one day

Driving to the airport at 11pm to drop Mike off for a four week and one day trip to Indonesia. Mike has been making fun of Lisa for being sure to be exact on that front every time it is referenced – four weeks and one day, precisely. Lisa maintains that when it comes to separation misery, precision is important lest the magnitude of the anguish fail to be grasped – four weeks and one day seems a lot longer than just four weeks.

Lisa: “I hope you have a really good trip – good work time, good seeing new things time, good thinking time.”

Mike (sighs): “I think it’s more likely that I’m going to get there and everything will be a giant mess – what tsunami project wasn’t a mess on some level? – and I’ll just have to do the best I can.”

Lisa (trying to strike a balance between encouraging and realistic): “Yeah, I think so too.” (Then, realizing she has utterly failed on the encouraging front, if not the realism)… “But I’m being an optimist.”

Mike: “It’s good of you to take that role occasionally, but I just don’t have a happy feeling.”

Lisa: “Me either, no happy feeling. But…” (still scrambling to find encouraging) “I feel hopeful!”

Mike: “Hope.” (Sighs again). “That’s nice.”

Goodbyes. We love them.