Saying “goodbye” is often difficult. Especially when it’s a “true” goodbye. You know what I mean by that, don’t you? When you’re not certain when or whether you’ll see someone again, but you like them – maybe even a lot. Yet you’re still in the position of saying “adios”. I’m in that predicament as we speak. You see, my last day with my law firm is Friday – and it feels really strange (and quite honestly, a bit melancholy).
Maybe I should back up a bit. I’ve decided to start a new business – one in which I won’t be practicing law anymore. Yes, I know this is a huge change. One that is truly exciting and scary all at the same time. And I’ll get into what I’m doing and the feelings around my new adventure in the coming weeks. But right now, I’m faced with saying goodbye to a great law firm (with even greater people) and some truly spectacular clients.
You’re probably thinking that I’m being a bit melodramatic. But I’ve spent the last thirteen years with my firm and I’ve met some truly wonderful, caring and gracious people (yes, lawyers can actually be really good people). People who were there for me when I battled cancer. People who I care about. And I’ve seen and/or talked with these people almost on a daily basis for many years. It’s a strange feeling to just walk away and know that I’m not coming back (at least not in the same capacity as before). So, as I sit in my now-empty office and think about my departure, I can’t help but be a bit sad.
I know that you’ve dealt with this feeling too. Each of us goes through any number of “goodbye’s” throughout our lives. Some are planned (like mine is) and some are not planned at all. Some are for good and exciting reasons and some are tragic. Yet, we must say goodbye nonetheless. And then we feel as though something is missing. Sometimes the missing link is a fellow human being (or, as in my case, many people). Other times it’s a feeling we get when we go someplace. It really doesn’t matter what the missing link is – because no matter what, we feel as though a hole is left within us. And this feeling pretty much sucks.
So, what should we do when we feel this hole being dug within us? Well, I think we must first recognize its existence. Because if we fail to recognize its presence, it’s impossible to fill. And we should probably give ourselves some space to grieve – without judgment. Sometimes we don’t like to admit that something is lost or changed. Either we don’t like the way it makes us feel or we don’t think it should be important enough to feel something in the first place. I’ve got to tell you that this is dangerous thinking. Everything in our lives has an effect on us. Every person we meet, every place we go and everything we do. So, when we say goodbye to someone or something and we feel a tug of sadness, that’s a sure sign of how important our loss really is to us. Don’t you think we should acknowledge it?
Once we’ve acknowledged our loss and grief and the hole that it’s left, the next step is to fill the hole. Fill it with our memories of the wonderful people and moments we want to keep forever. Memories are treasures – and we should treat them accordingly. You may think this is strange advice. Won’t some of these memories bring sadness? Yes – especially initially. But a funny thing happens to memories over time – especially when we choose so carefully on what it is we want to remember. They also bring us warmth, joy and laughter – which grow with time and far outweigh any sadness. Over time, the hole gets filled and becomes something new. Instead of a gaping hole, we now have a beautiful garden with flowers. Flowers that may have some thorns – but they’re still flowers and are much better than the hole that was there before.
So, I’m choosing to allow myself to feel sad. I know and understand that I’m losing something by my departure – something that I will miss. I don’t want to ignore or try to cover up my sadness. If I did that, I don’t think I’d ever fill the hole that is being created within me because of this change. And I want to fill it with my memories – memories that will bring me laughter and joy.
Until next time…