Replace “Goodbye” with “See you soon”
A short story about a change of language I have introduced into my day-to-day life, Fair Warning, you may find it emotive.
On the longest day of the year I attended a memorial of my friend Marc LeBlanc, who passed away in a skiing accident in Japan this winter. It took place at sunset, right by the river. At the memorial we shared stories of good times we had had with Marc, he was an epic individual with one of the most memorable smiles of an person I’ve ever met. There were lots of stories from lots of different adventures, Marc had crammed a lot of life into his years. As the sun set, Marc’s family and friends moved down to the water’s edge where Marc’s brothers and some friends had spent the week leading up to the event building a huge funeral pyre to give Marc a Viking send off fitting of the personality he was. Twenty feet tall, and full of a healthy amount of fireworks and accelerant we used roman candles to light it from shore. The fire burned bright and hot, and for not nearly long enough. A fitting tribute for a life that did the same.
I belong to a kayaking community which is pushing the edge if what is possible, harder, better, faster, stronger, bigger. It is a game of calculated risks, careful decision making, often with rapidly changing variables. Sometimes those variables don’t pay off, and the river wins. Although it might seem like kayaking is an individual sport, it isn’t. Kayakers are always a team, always watching out for each other. Often putting their lives into the hands of of kayakers they hardly know. This builds strong relationships, fast. As a community of strong relationships many off us are spread all over the world, it is so easy to loose track of where everybody is and what they are up to, time flies and before you know it you haven’t seen one of those people who you would trust your life to for a whole year, maybe longer.
The more friends I loose, and memorial’s I attend makes me see more clearly that these relationships, the bonds of trust that many kayakers share, are one of the most important aspects of the paddling world. We are a big family and always on the move to a new adventure, the people with whom I trust my life too are always moving so when I know I’m in the same area I always try to check in with them, and when it’s time to part ways I always say the same thing, “see you soon, be safe out there”. I’m never quite sure of how long it will be but it certainly doesn’t hold the ominous finality that “Goodbye” has, so I would rather roll the dice on “See you soon” hoping for the best, rather than Goodbye and plan for the worst.
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