Waving Goodbye From Afar



One by one, their names have been
exhaled in recent weeks, fading into thin air
on their final breath: Angie. Ian. Vincent. John.

I talked, laughed and worked with them, we
cared about each other. Now they are gone.
No, they do not live on – just watch the world

keep turning in their absence, a tribute here
and there depending on the fame of the fast-
fading name. I’ve always thought it would

be good if a few who loved me sat with me
as I died. Now, as I learn of friends who’ve
taken sudden leave, I’m glad all I can do is

wave goodbye from afar, knowing they can’t
see me. It feels right to offer them an unseen
final salute, seeking no attention, unable to

distract them from a journey each of us must
make alone. It must be a breathless climb, the
kind I’ve made many times in the mountains

of New Mexico. The last thing I wanted there
was someone who just had to talk, when it was
all I could do to climb, to breathe, then stop –

marveling at the view, wondering what’s up top.
~ Parker Palmer