Let their be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of spirit.
How many people can you love during this lifetime? Have you ever tried to count? We wanted to throw a party to see and say goodbye to as many people as we could before we go. So, we prepped up some invites and sent them out to a crowd of our closest family and friends. RSVPs started coming in, both "Yes" and "No", and by the time the day came, we had about forty three planned for the party. The weather held out for the most part, we set up the projector for a Captain Ron viewing in the back yard, ordered pizza, made a salad, bought some pies, secured two kegs of beer, various bottles of rum and wine. It was bound to be great.
Our street filled up with cars fast, and soon we were getting an ear full about valet parking. Everyone kept us on our toes, trying to see, talk to and hug as many people as we could. One of our friend's little guys took it upon himself to ply the group with s'mores.
In the end, we had 53 guests plus Andrew and I. The youngest was 11 months, the oldest 68, and we have friends in every age group in between. The group included people from work, our sailboat race team, Henderson Symphony, Andrew's customers, and just friends we have gathered along the way. I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked, I was too busy hanging out with friends. But here's a smatttering for a sample.
I held it together most of the day, but I admit that I shed a tear or two as Andrew loaded our mountain bikes on his sister's car. I love mountain biking, and I didn't realize we were saying goodbye this weekend. I grabbed Calamity Jane off the rack and took her for a spin. The breeze chilled my ears and blew my hair. I was a mountain biker before Andrew came into my life, and it has always bolstered my spirit through growing pains. To say good bye to my mountain bike is saying "catch you later" to a fairly large piece of my life that I love. All at once, I felt the sadness of saying goodbye to my people, my home, my piano, and my bike. It's not just the bike, the bike was a proxy for all that I love that I am leaving behind. Can't I be in two places at once?
A few nights later, Andrew and I met up with a group of my work friends for happy hour. We all traded funny stories from a decade of working together. At some point in the evening, concern was raised that we had not yet packed a bible. A debate ensued amongst this boisterous crowd regarding whether a bible would be necessary and/or helpful. One friend insisted that if I had to choose, the giant bottle of Glenmorangie he had gifted would be more necessary than the bible. Others argued that I may need the bible for instruction, should I need to learn to walk on water. We all had a good laugh, and I received hugs all around as we parted. Strong friendships are formed in the trenches; I learned how to be a lawyer from them and with them. And we made a fierce slow pitch softball team in years gone by.
A couple days later, I received an anonymous package from amazon.
On my second to last day I took my right hand woman, legal assistant extraordinaire, out to lunch at my favorite brunch place to say thank you. An impromptu goal planning meeting commenced, and we may or may not have ordered beignets AND a cheese danish.
These events were capped off with Shabbu Shabbu Paradise, breakfast at Hash House a Go Go, and a Superbowl party. After almost ten years in Vegas, this is just the tip of the iceberg of people whom I hold dear. I'm overwhelmed by the number of people I will miss while I am gone, and I am excited about the prospect for the number of people I will meet while I'm out. There are so many good people in this world, friends/family make my life rich, happy and warm.
As I say so many goodbyes, I have all the sadness of leaving without the fun of starting somewhere new. I am looking forward to getting down to San Diego, where this new chapter of our life starts in earnest. I want to get the goodbyes finished and the hellos started. But, then again, as I keep telling everyone else and myself too: this isn't goodbye, it's "catch you later."