The mist hangs heavy over the Charles River as I make my way onto Storrow Drive. It is the day after a holiday weekend, and the traffic in Boston is heavy. Glancing over at the river, I see a line of ducks placidly making their way through the mist and utterly content.
I know that soon the mist will give way to blue sky and sunshine, but right now it is welcome. It reflects my inner world. I have just said goodbye to my youngest son.
Last week it was my other son and his wife. One day we were picking apples and making apple crisp and the next day I was hugging them goodbye. One day the house was full, the conversation loud over games and ideas and I was eating the best breakfast sandwiches on the planet. The next day? Empty space.
Jonathan has been with us since mid June. He arrived as summer was beginning and is heading back to Greece as the leaves change and golden Autumn arrives. He arrived as a support and help during a deeply difficult time. He arrived and suddenly, there was music in the house. He arrived and my mind spun as we shared theological truths and philosphical beliefs. He arrived, and now he is leaving.
Last night we took a long walk by the harbor. I looked over at the Zakim Bridge and said “Look – a perfect sunset for the evening before you leave.” It was indeed. A benediction of a time well spent.
My job schedule dictates my inability to take him to the airport so the goodbyes happened in the sanctuary of our living room. It was better this way. No matter how warm the temperature, airports can be cold places to say goodbye.
Just yesterday morning my own mom said goodbye to me, and I watched through a car window as she waved until I was out of sight. Generations of goodbyes – this is our family. Three generations of living between. Three generations of waving until you can no longer see the person, whether because they are out of sight or because the tears blur your eyes so much that you can no longer see clearly.
Now is not the time to say how rich our lives have been. Now is not the time to say how much I love the airport, adventure, and the fact that my kids know what it is to live in different places and cultures. Now is not the time to be in awe of my son’s ability to speak Greek, of his thorough investment in another country, another city, another world. Now is not the time to say “but aren’t we lucky?” Now is not the time for others to say “You’ll adjust” or “You can always video chat.”
Now is the time to say goodbye. Now is the time to weep, to say “I will miss you so much.” Now is the time to say “God go with you, God be with you.”
Now is the time of goodbye.