As the holidays and the burgeoning New Year are wrapping their tender hours around my heart, I'm finding myself in a place of reflection, appreciation and remembering. The more years I am allowed to celebrate, the longer is my list of people who have walked beside me in my journey and the deeper is my love for who they are -- and who they were.
Learning to say "goodbye" -- and hopefully doing it well -- is something that simply comes with getting older. We say goodbye to our youth, to some of our dreams and eventually to some of the people that walked the road with us.
We spend our early years saying hello to life and to its opportunities. We welcome new things and new people as we explore who we are, and get to see who we are becoming. The doors are open to all that life has to offer; and then there are those very, very special people who (if we are lucky) hold our hands and our hearts as we go.
These are the quiet companions, the hilarious hell-raisers, the wise-before-their-time compatriots who we quite often take for granted. "Well heck, that's my old buddy, Joe. I've known that guy forever. Let me tell you about the time we . . ."
These are the special people who share our youth and listen to our sometimes wild dreams. They are the ones who willingly (and sometimes wobbly themselves) will hold our hair back when we've got our head hanging over the toilet bowl. It's their wickedly-laughing eye we know we're going to catch as we try so very hard not to laugh at the wrong time. They quite simply are part of our lives; they are part of who we are. They are the people who always "show up" when the chips are down or when a celebration is in need of sharing. Sometimes they are there before we even know we need their shoulder to lean on.
These are the friends and lovers who never held back. They tore into life with fervor and delight, and often took us along for the ride. Or, they courageously came along with us on adventures insane or sorrowful. These are the people who "ripped us a new one" when it was called for and went looking for a baseball bat when we needed defending. These are the friends who answered the phone at 2:00 a.m. and really, really listened; and they really, really cared. And, we listened and cared right back.
Then, they are gone. And we are so much the poorer for it. But there can be a richness in the remembering; in the recollection of this man or woman that no longer is there to share our laughter and our tears. Their actions and antics and the sound of their laughter can still echo down the hallways of our days. That they lived well and fully and did not stint in their love for us has marked our days and will continue to mark our future.
Saying "goodbye" is not an easy thing to do. But in learning to do it well, we can actually turn it into a long-held and soul-comforting hello. Hello, hello, my dear friend. Welcome to my life and now, welcome to my memory.
Robin Korth enjoys interactions with her readers. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
To learn about her new book, "Soul on the Run," go to: www.SoulOnTheRun.com