Hello and Goodbye

Hello and Goodbye
The Cycle of Life
In the mid 1960’s, Hugh Sidey, a longtime reporter and columnist for Time magazine, wrote a book about the life and times of President Kennedy. I have always remembered a line he wrote about the President’s assassination… “The man who controlled so much and so many was, in the end, not the master of the length of his own line”. In essence, that is true of all of us.
Just this past weekend, I learned of the death of two people, one a former neighbor and English professor at Wake Forest University who lived till the age of 101. Indeed, in June, she would have turned 102. She lived a full and rich life, interacting with scores of young people for literally decades of time. And then, on Sunday, with other friends, I went to Dunn, North Carolina to see the family of the father of one of my great friends. He had died suddenly last week at the age of 82.
It was all rather depressing, making one open more quickly the back pages of the newspaper to see who was no longer with us.
And then, the newspaper was full this weekend with the all too common story of a young teenager in Raleigh, who lost her life at the age of 18, when she was the passenger in a car, that was being driven much too fast, late at night. Someone was alive, full of life and promise, and then in a moment, it was no more.
Life can be unfair. But life is all we have and so why not make the most of it while it is ours. I thought about that a couple of days ago, when a good friend of mine, came over to my place, with another, to sit and wait while her grandson was about to be born at Rex Hospital. The young mother, her daughter-in-law, had started her contractions and had been admitted to the hospital earlier in the evening. Surely, it would not be long before young Mason would open his eyes and take his first look at the world and say hello. And it wasn’t.
It is the cycle of life. It is a wonderful thing to see and experience. And it can be fleeting for any and all of us. So enjoy each day you have and live it completely. Don’t cut yourself any slack. Just go for it.
Still, isn’t it pretty nice and comforting that whenever we have to say goodbye, we also often get the chance to say hello.

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