The long goodbye
I am a hoarder of sentiment and nothing stirs that up and smacks you across the face quite like the act of packing for a move, or in this case, a renovation.
I managed to purge a box of gift receipts from our wedding 13 years ago along with a stack of insurance packets given to me by my employer in 2005, but other goodbyes were not as easy.
The green velvet couch that I bought on Craigslist and made my then boyfriend, now husband, and his brother go pick up from a small town that was over two hours away in the middle of the night. The first big pieces of furniture we bought as newlyweds, and Seattle Cheese Festival posters that I spent way too much money custom framing. The last to go was a large antique window that I had taped a photo of lemons taken by one of my best friend’s boyfriend in Italy, which had hung in the first house my friend and I lived in together, and every house since.
As my nostalgia made its way onto my Buy Nothing Group and Facebook Marketplace, post after post, I met the most incredible people. A woman who had been going through a rough patch and needed a table to finally start creating again. Another woman who needed a couch to furnish her father’s first assisted living apartment, who reminded me so much of my own mom as she thanked and insisted on tipping my kids for helping her carry the cushions to her U-haul, that, thanks to Covid, I had to stifle the urge to hug with every fiber of my being. The family who had been looking for a bunk bed for their son for weeks but was having a hard time finding one in their budget, and the man who worked in oncology but restored old furniture as a side gig, and the girl whose sister was battling cancer but remained hopeful as she awaited a bone marrow match. Maybe it was because we haven’t really interacted with people outside of our bubble in months, but each brief (masked) encounter made me feel a bit lighter in more ways than one.
When I texted my friend to ask for permission to give away the lemon picture (secretly hoping she would convince me to keep it) she said that when we lose things or give them away, we spread ourselves around and leave small marks in the world and that is a beautiful thing.
It’s also something that we do every day whether we know it or not, when we send our kids out the door, or when we tell someone we love them. Writing to me feels the same way. As we share our stories, pieces of us live on, fragmenting like a crystal left on a windowsill on a sunny day.
As we say farewell to KINDRED, I find myself aching as I soak in every past word and comment, some left by loved ones who are no longer with us. Knowing that our hearts crossed, even if just for a brief moment when eyes swept across words, gives me a deep sense of solidarity and comfort.
I will be forever grateful for the years that KINDRED connected us and please never stop telling your story.
To my fellow Kindreds, may the pie always be plenty and the coffee cups bottomless, as my love and admiration is for each of you.
Marissa B. Niranjan is an expert of what has now been coined “the long goodbye” (as you well know if you have every tried to leave a gathering with her) and this will be no different.
I have always loved reading your work and hope you will continue to share it in some fashion. And I love YOU!!