The Flip Side

Here’s what did it.

There’s a man who works for the parking garage next door to my office building who is always standing out front trying to wave cars into the lot (in any weather!). I have passed him every day as I run back and forth to the main hospital building. He’s always a bright spot—ready with a warm smile and a wave. Maybe an occasional hello and comment on the weather if there is a light to wait for.  But I don’t even know his name. 

This morning I realized I didn’t say goodbye to him.  And that was enough to bring the tears I have done such a good job holding back through all of the other goodbyes.

The feelings of joy, excitement and certainty are still there—not to worry.  But today I woke up feeling the loss.  The finality of my decision.  A momentary emptiness.  Loneliness.  Grief.  Already missing the place, routine, people, the daily banter and laughs, the challenges and mayhem.  The sense of purpose.  And the parking lot guy.

I like to reference that scene in the movie Parenthood where the grandmother is telling Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen about the way we all choose to live life either on a roller coaster or a carousel.  

I have chosen the roller coaster.  

And so, I’ll cry for a bit.

And then….onward.