Con te partirò

It's that song you immediately recognize while simultaneously being clueless as to what Bocelli's singing about. You might even sing along, humming to the melody, swaying back & forth like those affluent Europeans who listened to him in the front row at his Portofino concert. I wonder if they tipped their waitresses and tried the shrimp?

Regardless of how familiar you are with the song, you and everyone surrounding you will know the moment of farewell; you'll sense the feeling of departure; you'll know with absolute certitude that it's time to say goodbye. I experienced that moment recently as well, having to prematurely say goodbye to fellow co-workers & friends as I take my first step towards a new chapter. The actual, face-to-face farewells have yet to occur, though they're looming in the distance. We all know it's coming, though undoubtedly some don't really care; just another young engineer who started his career at the company and decided to move on. Good riddance? Let's hope not.

Let's hope for "good luck." Let's hope for goodbye.

But how many will stay in touch with me? How many will ask about me in the future? How many will think fondly, reminisce, and hopefully laugh at some silly comment I once made? I often wonder about such questions, especially about those who've left me in the past. Do I think about them as often as they think about me? Does it really matter? Should it really matter? I think so.

Calling it a "legacy" seems disingenuous to those who've truly had one; the John Woodens, the Dr. Kings, the Norma Jeans, the Jimmy Hendricks of the world. But merely calling it "memories" seems too weak, too insignificant. Perhaps it doesn't need a name, maybe it's just an amalgam of stories, comments, actions, and written words that shall hopefully withstand the test of time & technology. It wasn't done on purpose, but it most definitely was done with a purpose.

It seems like for every new friend you make, you lose touch with another; as if our capacity for friendships has a limit. And it's not the number of friends on your Facebook page; it's not the quantity of contacts in your phone or rolodex. It's the ones you make an effort to see, traffic and lack of sleep be damned. The ones whose birthdays are in your mind, not in a calendar.

It's the ones you can be silent with for half a year, then pick up right where you left off and continue to offer support and a patient ear.

The ones who picked you up from the airport when you flew home engulfed in uncertainty, worry, and doubt, and who sat beside you in your darkest hour. The ones who helped you off the ground as you fell to your knees, because there was nowhere else left to go.

The ones whose hands you held as you spun in circles on the grass as the unknown, random band played on stage, and their music--though loud--was suffocated by your collective laughter.

The ones who helped you move when no one else would and stayed with you as you eclipsed the 44th hour of being awake.

The ones who politely asked if they could punch you in the stomach in high school, because that's how you say hello in the 10th grade.

But let's not focus on the decreased frequency of the encounters, rather relish the opportunity to start reminiscing and looking forward to new adventures, stories, and beginnings. Let's remember some goodbyes are temporary, even a formality at times. And though it may sting, it creates the opportunity for a future embrace when the smiles will be wider, the anticipation higher, and the joy of witnessing your friend and rekindling the friendship becomes so great that it creates a memory by itself, one that would not have been possible if there was never a time...

A time to say goodbye.