What To Tell and When: A Writer Wednesday PostNovember 6th, 2013 | Posted by in Essays
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They call each other “Brother” and “Sister.” She’s watching him open a birthday present. If she hadn’t insisted on a party and traveled to New York last week, Brother might have let the milestone slip.
Sister has a longer journey up ahead. When she leaves depends on what is dissolving and what is resolving within her. But it is near enough that tonight I’m prompted to ask, “What do you want him to know when you’re gone? What can I tell him you said?”
“Oh so much, so much. I’d have to sit and write it down.” “And so you might, but what’s the first thing that popped into your head?”
“Admiration. I want him to know I admire him, how much he’s been through, all the obstacles he’s overcome.” We share a rich and satisfying conversation that helps me know my old friend even better, words which will help me help him when he needs it.
The lighted cake appears, the song is sung, cards and gifts are opened and it’s time for us to go. I take Brother aside to say good night. Suddenly, I think, Why wait till she’s gone? We can’t know love too soon or too often.
“I’m going to tell you something tonight, and then I’m gonna tell you again another time.” I told him what I’d asked and what she said. I’ll tell him again when the time comes.
If someone you know will be leaving us, perhaps you can offer such an opportunity. Love, expressed in the present, put by for the future, when this is the past. No wonder they say it’s eternal.
How have you eased such departures?