Endings … Goodbyes … Retirements … Heartbreaks … Letting go.
It is all such a challenge, because in fact, saying goodbye to what was wonderful can carry with it enormous pain. Goodbyes slay me. Working with amazing people in amazing schools and then the project ends; getting to hang out these last few weeks with my beloved son before he goes off for an internship in NYC tomorrow; or savoring the last moments with my daughter before her imminent engagement and ensuing wedding planning madness and she’s off.
“Whither thou goest, I will go.”
Friends and family who move, leave, die … so much of life is sad, and yet it reminds us that we are actively living our lives, building important connections with people who have meant so much to us, changed us, made us better by virtue of their being in our lives.
I wish I had more of the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi in me, which wisely embraces the fact that nothing lasts. We are reminded of this at a high school or college graduation, our children who grow up and leave home, of relationships that went a shorter distance of time than we had hoped for, of mortal lives which pass on. Moving into the hopefully slower and more leisurely pace of summer, I want to learn how to exchange the intensity of sadness for a rewind of the mental movie of all of that wonderful interaction that we can replay at will over and over again.
Summer brings us an invitation to remember and savor as we relax on a beach or hike up a mountain trail. Replay those wonderful mental movies of people and places that touched and changed you. Be grateful for your ‘better self’ by virtue of their impact. Say thank you to the heavens for the mentors who adopted you, the people who loved you when you didn’t love yourself, the relationships you have built and nurtured which mean so much to you. Pain of goodbye equals moments to savor and the blessing of love. It’s a new equation to embrace.
When Rebecca Pearson knows that her Alzheimer’s disease will only get worse, she is still mentally clear to share the following quote with her three adult children:
“I need you all to hear my voice right now, your mother’s voice with all of her faculties. You will not make your lives smaller because of me. This thing that’s happening to me will not be the thing that holds you back,” she continued. “So, take risks. Make the big moves, even if they’re small moves. Forge ahead with your lives in any and every direction that moves you. I’m your mother and I’m sick. And I’m asking you to be fearless. And if that seems like a tall order, well, guess what? It is, but the only acceptable response is a resounding, ‘Yes, ma’am.’” “Yes, ma’am,” each child replied.
10 Reflecting Questions on Goodbyes and Transitions:
- In what ways has the loss of someone changed you and made you better?
- What messages do you listen to on a frequent basis from someone who has passed?
- How have you woven people of your heart into your daily life?
- What parts of you do you value that were passed on to you from someone who you have loved?
- What do you want to always remember from a person who touched your heart?
- In what ways are you passing on your cherished lessons learned to other people?
- What influence from others can you share to make better the lives of people in your midst?
- What are the values and ideals that you have internalized from the great influencers in your life who have passed on?
- In what ways are you your best self by virtue of those great influencers of your life?
- How do you pass those lessons learned on to everyone around you and pay it forward?
5 of My Favorite Quotes about Letting Go:
- “Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye” – Beyoncé Knowles
- “I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.” – Jeffrey McDaniel
- “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” – Tony Schwartz
- “It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” – Paulo Coelho
- “There’s a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over — and to let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its value and impact.” – Ellen Goodman
*Bonus Quote: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost
5 of My Favorite Songs About Change and Goodbyes:
- The Circle Game, by Joni Mitchell
- Turn, Turn, Turn, by The Byrds
- Landslide, by The Dixie Chicks
- Changes, by David Bowie
- Grow as We Go, by Ben Platt
June 1 & 2, 2022
Leadership Training: Feedback and Trust. Department of Teaching and Learning, Virginia Beach City Public Schools. VA
June 7, 2022
Leadership Retreat, The Madeira School. McLean, VA
June 9-13, 2022
Preparation Interviews, The Bavarian International School. Munich, Germany
June 19-27, 2022
June 28, 2022
Association of School Superintendents Women in Leadership Retreat, Alexandria, VA
June 30, 2022
Ride for the Living, Krakow, Poland