I just picked my youngest daughter up from school and it hit me — she only has 1 week left in 8th grade. She will be graduating and leaving a school she has attended for the past 9 years, saying goodbye to friends she has grown attached to seeing on a daily basis and to teachers that have nurtured her growth from a young child to a young adult. My days of picking her up from school are also numbered — time in the car to connect and check in. I am letting go of friends and a community that I have been a part of my life for the past 10 years and trusted with the upbringing of my children.
So as tears fill my eyes, I remind myself that this is one of life’s many necessary losses. We are all faced with times in our lives when we need to let go of one stage to step into the next. The mother lets go of pregnancy to hold her baby in her arms. We let go of the toddler as they enter into school. We let go of our child’s hand as they reach out to connect with their peers. We let go of the young adult as they step out to make their mark in the world. And in turn, it is necessary for them to let go of us, so that they can develop as fully actualized individuals and can live an inspired life of their creation.
Knowing this intellectually helps sooth the sadness that arises as I watch my children continue to take steps into their future, where they will no longer be dependent on me for their daily needs. And yet the sadness is still present. I will allow this sadness to move through me, but not consume me. This sadness is balanced with the knowing that I have done my job as a parent to prepare my children for the life ahead of them and with the joy I feel at seeing them spread their wings and fly.
So in this season of graduations and weddings, where we say goodbye to one stage of life, remember that we are in the springtime of a new stage. Remind yourself that life is full of necessary losses, but we are blessed with the possibility of the future. In the words of the Sufi poet, Rumi, “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” Your grief today will manifest in greater joy tomorrow. Feel the sadness, let go, and open yourself up to the next phase of life.