I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately, how people come and go from our lives and how many have come and gone from mine. The two things I have the hardest time dealing with are death and goodbyes and I've had to face both over the past two weeks.
On July 30th someone I knew well at work passed away of complications from cancer. Elizabeth fought courageously for almost eight years, during this time she had her ups and downs but always tried to hide it and take the focus off herself. I loved her positivity through it all, she was a very uplifting and encouraging person. Always asked how Sandy is doing and how the cats are. Her face just lit up when she spoke about our gardens. I knew her health was declining but I didn't think she'd be gone so soon, she was in her forties and died too young.
A few days ago another work friend of mine walked into my office. Vanessa and I have known each other for almost eight years, and as she made her way towards me I could feel she was leaving. Today was her last day, she's moving to another city over three hundred miles away and we'll probably never see each other again. I'll miss having her around, we had some good talks, but mostly I'm just happy for her. It's a new opportunity in a new city, a new chance to pursue what makes her happy. That makes it easier for me to see her go.
Saying goodbye is never easy. I don't know if I'm growing used to seeing people come and go from my life but I'm more philosophical these days, more at peace with it all. The poem, "A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime" has helped. I've grown to realize that some people are in our lives for the length of time they're meant to be, even if why they go away when they do isn't always obvious. Sometimes it's terribly unfair and even cruel, but I believe there's a reason for these things. I have to believe it, it's what helps get me through.
Most of you I've talked with by e-mail know I love to explore things like relationships, our desires, fears and victories...what makes us tick. I have many of these conversations and sometimes they've shown promise of developing into a trusting relationship only to fade weeks or months later. Other times they grow into very close friendships. And it makes me wonder why. Why is it so many people drift in and out of touch with us while the bond between those we met years ago continues to grow stronger?
I know there are a million circumstances but I think it just comes down to connection and how much we need or relate to someone at any given time. Sometimes it's temporary, to help us through a situation. But sometimes it runs a lot deeper than that and those are the people who stick around.
Then there are those who pass through each others' lives and return when the time seems right. A perfect example happened just today. I was having one of the most stressful days at work in recent memory when a certain someone made an appearance out of the blue and left me this comment, " You've become like my big brother, honestly." It made all the difference.
Every goodbye will be met by a new hello. We just have to wait for it sometimes.
(photo credit here)