Perhaps An Odd Farewell

Reflecting on a Dream, These Days of Mine, and Wishing Well A Friend Moving On

I woke from my dreams close to tears and feeling deep loss. In the last dream of the night, I said good-bye to a friend and knew, with that dream-state certainty, that we would not meet again.

In the interstitial moment when Dream handed the reins to Waking, it almost felt overwhelming; though that could be the residuals of a recent dose of anesthesia.

Since the pandemic began, and even before, I haven’t lost as much as many. Yet I’ve still lost things in their own way. We all have.

And as we hasten to oblivion, there’s little time or space to grieve these losses that pile up around us. To sit with the anguish just a moment, and cherish what was and weep for what will not.

Fragile and raw, that’s the state of it all. And I’m looking for hope.

Instinctively, I know it’s in the relationships I nurture; But that’s harder these days, when our breath carries the potential of sickness and death. Instead we project simulacrum through the ether in our shared moments of telephony.

I suspect that’s why last night’s dream drained me.

The waking and dreaming portions of my brain reconciled, and filled in who was that Dream-friend. In the waking world, this friend and co-worker is soon leaving for another job.

Together we, and another friend, had lead a project that brought me tremendous joy.

I miss that project, not for the details, but for the relationships and conversations. The three of us and in coordination and collaboration with several sub-teams shaped something together.

Yet this last trip around the sun brought a sundering; As one of the horsemen of the apocalypse began their charge, I shifted to a different role.

Had I known the emotional chaos of , I think I would not have pursued this new role.

I know that in times of disruption, it’s dangerous to weaken relationships. And in a way, I inflected a self-weakening.

I look elsewhere and easily find this relational disintegration storming through the places my discorporeal projections haunt.

, I learned more details about public “support” systems. And their dehumanizing implementation and impact. All of which exacerbates and depends on relational disruptors.

The indirection of what can provide specific services results in navigating the real though invisible labyrinth of bureaucracy.

A day or two prior, a friend reached out wondering about the observed death spasm of a disintegrated relationship between mutual friends of ours. This was a long time coming, as the two childhood friends had long travelled different paths.

Yet still, it hurts to watch, as though these disintegrations reach back into our memories and unravel what we had.

It’s hard not to see a general unraveling.

I think of the aphorism Be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

The pacifist in me challenges the language of fighting a hard battle. After all, I don’t want to celebrate the fighting of what each person chose or did not choose as their battle.

In looking for that quote’s attribution, I found the following progenitor passage from the aphorism’s author:

This [person] beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with [them]…
James Watson (aka Ian MacLaren), The Homely Virtues

I prefer the poetry of the lengthy quote; Though I deliberately truncated the sentences that follow as they become more prescriptive in the actions to take. The lengthy quote discards the fighting of a battle, and instead the gritty realities of walking through these desperate days.

I know that some of the systems in which I move ever tare and rip at relationships; A flensing of the soul. To fight against this age, I must remember it’s all in the friendships.

To my friend, I wish you the best in your next venture.

It has been a blessing working along side you, offering and receiving support as best we could.

I look back at our project and team meetings. I smile as the ideas and strategies we developed are hopelessly comingled as shared decisions, presentations, agendas, and minutes. It seems et al is the best provenance.

I look to our myriad of presentations and smile as you grew your public speaking and presentation skills. From the podium amongst the glass and whiteboard walls of Hesburgh, to the hot and humid halls of Hamburg, you shared an inclusive vision and approach to the project.

And who could forget you, oh bringer of doughnuts. Truly the currency for enlisting volunteers.

There’s also our side quests for döner kebabs and the conference boat ride up and down the Elbe. And the surprise to our American senses that the pink desert dish was not fruit-based but instead fish. The second bite was much better than the first.

Those all feel like wonderful memories to hold.

My hope is someday, perhaps a few years hence, to again share a coffee or beer (or dare I hope a döner kebab). To sit again as our little core team and share our latest endeavors, no longer as work colleagues, but as friends.